2011 Louis Barruel & Kermit Lynch, Hermitage, “La Pierrelle”
It’s been a long, long time since we’ve been able to put an Hermitage in this club, and it should be no surprise that it comes from our old friend Louis Barruel of Saint Cosme in Gigondas. This wine is a special collaboration between Louis and importer Kermit Lynch, and is a blend of Syrah grapes from different sites on the hill of Hermitage. Since 1997 Louis has been buying fruit from other small estates around the Rhone Valley and making what he calls his “Negociant-Vigneron” wines, fermented at the original estate and transported in cask to his winery in Gigondas. Hermitage is considered the spiritual home of Syrah, although the appellation actually extends for 345 acres and is classified into six different vineyard sites. This wine is quite smooth with a round mouth feel enveloping a muscular core of blue fruit. As you might expect, it’s quite meaty with a long, complex finish. Its prime drinking time will be in about five to eight years, then enjoy it with steak, pork, lamb or just about anything. Although the retail price is $75, we were able to put it into this club due to a nice deal from the distributor. Cheers!
2009 Weingut Robert Weil, Kiedrich Turmberg Riesling Trocken
Historically the Rheingau, the viticultural region along the Main River near Frankfurt, has been the most famous and respected German wine area. However, in the last twenty years or so, many of the famous producers in the Rheingau have been content to rest on their reputation and consequently their wines have noticeably declined in both quality and value. Weingut Robert Weil, now in the capable hands of Wilhelm Weil, great-grandson of the founder, has been a quite prominent exception to the trend. The 90 hectare estate is relatively young, as it was founded only in 1875, but wine has been grown in the village of Kiedrich since 950. The Turmberg (“Tower Hill”) vineyard, wholly owned by Weingut Robert Weil, lies on a southwest-facing ridge that has a steep incline of up to 60 percent. The soils are barren and stony, consisting of broken rocks mixed with loess and loam. This combination of soil and southwestern exposure allows the grapes to hang on the vines for a long time, producing complex wines that are rich in minerals. The wine is quite dry, bright, and pure, with lovely herbal notes. While Weil’s wines from the adjoining Grafenberg vineyard are massive, the Turmberg is elegant, sprightly, almost ethereal. It would pair well with a wide range of foods, particularly anything spicy or Asian, and is ready to drink. It is $46 and very limited in this market.