We’ve stocked the ‘Tradition’ wines from Chateau l’Ermitage in Costieres de Nimes before, but the new vintages (tasted at a recent event in London) reminded us of just how good the wines from this property are. If anything, the latest versions are even more impressive than their predecessors and we simply couldn’t resist!
The Château l’Ermitage estate is owned and run by the third generation of the Castillon family in the form of Michel, and his son Jerome. Some sections of vineyard at Chateau l’Ermitage date back to the 12th Century, and the first cellars here were built in the early 1800s. The soil is sandstone and the vineyards face south, towards the sea, with the sea breezes helping to mitigate the summer heat and retaining a freshness in the resulting wines. The property is signed up to the Terra Vitis scheme which brings with it a commitment to safeguard the local environment – especially the vineyards - and a constant striving to make wines of true quality that have been crafted using natural methods that respect both Man and the land. This is typical of many producers who follow an organic philosophy without embracing the formal restrictions of certified organic status.
|Jerome Castillon of Chateau l'Ermitage
|The appellation of Costieres de Nimes itself used to be part of the Languedoc but in the late 1990s the growers got together and requested to included as a sub-region of the Rhone Valley simply because their wines were closer in style to those of the Rhone than the wines of the Languedoc. The French authorities took their time but the change was eventually effected in 2004. Even though we are significantly south-west of Avignon here and nicely on the way to Montpellier you need to ‘think Rhone’….but with a gentle twist… !
|Map of the Southern Rhone
We are now stocking 4 wines from Château l’Ermitage ; the fine trio of white, pink and red which will be accompanied by 50cl bottles of a splendid Muscat which is wonderfully fresh and pleasingly not-too-sweet. We are sure it will win many friends !
The Château l’Ermitage Tradition Blanc is 60% Roussanne, 20% Viognier and 20% Grenache Blanc and has aromas of orange blossom with hints of peach, grapefruit and nectarine, all with a wonderful mineral edge. It’s very clean and fresh and splendidly original.
The Château l’Ermitage Tradition Rose is 50% Grenache, with 25% each of Syrah and Mourvedre. It is pale salmon pink in colour with a fresh berry nose. A little fuller than Provence rose yet not as masculine as the roses from elsewhere in the Rhone Valley. It is poised, elegant and mouthwatering.
The Château l’Ermitage Tradition Rouge is 40% each of Syrah and Mourvedre with 20% Grenache. It is a hearty red with ripe tannins and plenty of red fruit flavours matched with a gentle savoury edge. Yes it is youthful, but it is also very approachable. It will keep if you wish, but it’s so attractive now that you may struggle to keep your hands off it…. We know we will !
Finally, 'Le Muscat' is 100% Muscat a Petit Grains which has its fermentation stopped by the addition of 7% grape spirit thus retaining a small percentage of natural, unfermented grape sugars. It is wonderfully delicate though and, crucially, beautifully fresh, grapey and not too sweet.