2017 Barruol-Lynch, Crozes-Hermitage “Habrard” Northern Rhone, France.
Louis Barruol, the famed Gigondas winemaker at the historic Chateau de Saint Cosme and his friend Kermit Lynch, the pioneering importer, teamed up for a wonderful collection of micro-négociant bottlings from the Rhone, exclusively for the US market with a gorgeous set of Northern Rhone Syrahs being the jewels, including a savvy lineup of Cote-Rotie, Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage, like this sexy “Habrard” 2017. For the Barruol-Lynch wines, Louis selects the best parcels he can find, from small growers working select plots and in special Lieu-Dits, and then Kermit shows up to consider each lots and either has a cuvée bottled unfiltered, or he blends to find the assemblage that, according to Lynch, satisfies his aesthetic criteria. Barruol, the fourteenth generation of his family to make wine in the region and has an ancient Roman villa that might be one of the oldest wine cellars in the Rhone, crafts each of these Barruol-Lynch reds with care working with the Sérine clone, an ancient version of Syrah, producing only a few precious barrels of each cuvée, which are fermented in cement vats and aged in mostly used barrels for about 12 months and in this case using about 10% whole cluster. There’s a lot to love about these Barruol-Lynch Crozes, in particular this quality version from a stellar vintage, it is an outrageously great bargain.
The 2017 Habrard is warmly ripe and opulent with a heightened sense of fruit concentration and with a decedent mouth feel and it is delicately perfumed with crushed violets and peony floral notes on the nose before leading to the open knit and richly flavored full bodied palate, it certainly feels more like a Cote-Rotie than a mere Crozes-Hermitage, which is wonderful bonus at this price point! There are lovely layers of blackberry, blueberry compote, damson plum plus dense currant/cassis and cherry fruit along with dried lavender, anise, peppery spice, a light cedar note and faint hints of game, camphor and coco. This pure Syrah is already drinking fabulously well and its depth and complexity add to the pleasure on offer here, this should, with its forward nature get even more rewarding over the next 3 to 5 years, but doesn’t need too much time to be enjoyed, especially with robust cuisine, this is exceptional stuff for chilly Fall evenings and family meals, as it goes with many foods and will be a real crowd pleaser with its soft tannins and hedonistic personality. Kermit Lynch, as noted, has long-term relationships with vignerons in every major wine growing region that offers a tremendous array of opportunities, and his partnership with Louis Barruol is a gift to us wine drinkers, don’t miss these wines!
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive