2018 Domaine Olivier Dumaine, Crozes-Hermitage “La Croix du Verre” Northern Rhone, France.
The Domaine Olivier Dumaine La Croix du Barre Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2018 is beautifully balanced and aromatic with loads of black fruit, violets and subtle spices, making for a traditional and polished version of Nothrern Rhone Syrah, much less edgy than is the fashion these days, but a very rewarding wine. Blackberry, thick plum, currant and fig fruits lead the way along with delicate dried herbs and spices, black licorice and smooth cedary oak. Coming from three estate owned parcels set on hillsides within the Crozes-Hermitage appellation on granite and Kaolin clay soils the La Croix du Verre Crozes-Hermitage Rouge by Olivier and Maryline Dumaine. This small family estate, which has a local history here in the Northern Rhone since 1650, is located in the vllage of Larnage, the is just about 7 km north from the famous Tain-l’Hermitage and Hermitage hill. The Dumaine’s do both red and white Crozes-Hermitage and a tiny bit of Saint-Joseph, with a collection of old vines with ancient clones, including the Serine Syrah clone that many believe is the most distinctive and offers depth of flavors, structure and a wild feral edginess.
This old vine Syrah is sourced from vines averaging over 50 years old, including some 130 year old vines near the ruins of a castle, all of which is hand harvested, with 100% of crop being de-stemmed. In the cellar, Olivier Dumaine uses Indigenous yeast, and his Syrah sees a lengthy and cool 20-25 day vinification with classic twice daily pump overs to keep the cap wet and submerged for full extraction After primary fermentation is over the wine is then pressed to barrel, with the Crozes-Hermitage getting aged in 1, 2 and 3 year old 228-liter Burgundy style oak casks. Matured 10 months in oak, again without any no new oak, this pure Syrah comes out deeply colored, purple/black with dark ruby/magenta edges and is nicely perfumed, more in the style of Guigal with plush fruit and less feral qualities. This producer was new to me and I was excited to try this 2018 vintage Cross-Hermitage and it did not disappoint, it offers an authentic and elegant personality in the glass and will drink well for the next 3 to 5 years with ease. I suggest checking this producer out, with Domaine Olivier Dumaine being imported to the United States by Chloe Wines and having limited availability, as this is a small producer, but worth chasing down. I really enjoyed this one and have seen now that the 2019 version is out, and its well priced for the quality, so I’ll be looking for that as well!
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive