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France, Hermitage

Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Hermitage is a French wine Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the northern Rhône wine region of France, south of the city Lyon. The region produces some of the world's finest Syrah, rich, incredibly age worthy wines that are among the most expensive Syrah (Shiraz) globally.

The red wines produced in Hermitage are one of France's most prestigious wines. Among the offering from Rhone, none beat it, though Cote Rotie (45km to the north) and Chateauneuf-du-Pape (110km to the south) are of corresponding quality in their respective blends. The white counterpoint to the red is Hermitage Blanc, a wine to behold comprising the Roussane and Marsanne varietals. Surprisingly they account for around one third of the regions entire plantings.
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  1. Domaine Du Colombier Crozes-Hermitage 2013
    Showing signs of maturity, the 2004 Ermitage le Meal is an elegant, pretty and seamless Hermitage that offers up plenty of dried flowers, dried spices, leather and both blackberry and raspberry-like fruit characteristics. - Robert Parker Deep garnet red with purple ... Learn More
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    Gary Walsh
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    Robert Parker
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    Robert Parker
  2. Domaine du Colombier "Cuvee Gaby" Crozes-Hermitage 2013
    Denser than the regular Crozes rouge, like a dry vintage port with blueberry, morello cherry and cocoa powder flavors, well-oaked with typical roasted meat nuances. Vibrant, elegant blueberry flavors. Long finish, hint of black pepper on the palate. ... Learn More
  3. Chapoutier Ermitage 'De L'Oree' Blanc 2015
    The grapes producing “De l’Orée” come from the plot ‘Les Murets’ in the Eastern part of the hill. A vibrant nose with aromas of white fruit, honeysuckle, quince, spices and hazelnut. Rich and creamy with pear, walnut and ... Learn More
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    Matt Walls
  4. Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2018
    A blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from the l’Ermite, Péleat, and les Rocoules lieux-dits, it exhibits a huge, opulent bouquet of buttered citrus, flower oil, orange marmalade, quince, and honeysuckle that’s to die for. ... Learn More
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    Jeb Dunnuck
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    Decanter
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    James Suckling
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    Vinous
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    The Wine Advocate
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