Crozes Hermitage, Blanc, Château Curson, 2011

  Domaine Etienne Pochon

Rather like the straight Crozes white, the Curson is a blend of 50% Marsanne and 50% Roussanne, 1/3 is barrel-fermented (a reduction from 50% in 2010), the rest is fermented in tank. Floral rose petal aromas, notes of white flower and oak spice, juicy, refreshing peachy flavours; this is a touch more buttery than the regular cuvée and a little more subdued, but the wine’s intensity and complexity seems to expand greatly with aeration.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine Etienne Pochon

Etienne crafts very elegant and surprisingly long-lived Crozes that should be typical of the appellation. Unfortunately, there are many growers with extensive plantings on the plains who do not possess such a burning desire for quality and therefore often produce very lacklustre, soupy wines. Etienne vinifies plot by plot from hillside sites, the best of which are separated for some ageing in oak barriques; these are the red and white Château Curson wines. The white is a Marsanne/Roussanne blend full of sophisticated almond, dairy and stone fruit fl avours that is at its best for two to three years. Our last trip out there, however, revealed just how gracefully the red can age. We tasted a charming 1989 that was ‘as fresh as a daisy’, boasting aromas of violet and luscious flavours of sweet blackcurrant.

Appellation: Crozes-Hermitage

Crozes-Hermitage is the Northern Rhône's biggest appellation covering the rolling hills surrounding Hermitage. Most of the wine is red and made exclusively from Syrah though some very good value whites can be found from the Marsanne and Roussanne grape varieties. Curiously there are only a small band of high quality producers taking advantage of this appellation, among the best would be Graillot, Pochon, Domaine du Colombier and Belle. Jaboulet and the co-operative Cave de Tain dominate much of the land. The reds are lighter than those of Hermitage and softer than those from the vineyards planted accross the river in St Joseph. Here the rich clay limestone soils are less acidic than those of the granite slopes further west, the best wines that result are usually dark, rich, spicy, sturdy wines with reasonably round, pliable textures. The vineyard area spans over 1250ha so quality can be variable, unfortunately. However a good Crozes should drink well after 2-3 years, the best keeping well for 5-7.

Grape Blend: Marsanne | Roussanne

This is a quintessential northern Rhône blend. Marsanne gives full bodied, nutty wines with relatively low acidity, while the Roussanne adds freshness, complexity and finesse. The ultimate expression of this blend are the dry whites of Crozes Hermitage, St Joseph, Côtes du Rhône and at its best, the rare white Hermitage.