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Domaine du Colombier

This tiny property situated on the outskirts of Tain l' Hermitage, just below the hill itself is one of the finest in the appellation. Florent Viale and his charming father Gabriel own just 1.5 ha of the Beaumes vineyard on Hermitage hill.

The Hermitage is the produce of three vineyards, including the Les Doignieres, whose stony soil is said to give the Hermitage its typical power and length, whilst the sandy soils of the Beaume bring finesse and aroma to the wine. It is the latter traits which I find really set Colombier’s wines apart. Fermentation is carried out en cuve and then transferred to a combination of new and one to two year old oak demi-muids where it ages for a further 18 months. I am sure the fact that the elevage takes place in the demi-muids rather than barriques further enhances the aromatic fruit and finesse.
Florent's wines possess a fabulous concentration and complexity but have a wonderful purity and open fruit character which give enormous pleasure even in their youth, albeit with only the primary fruits to appreciate. This is a stark contrast to certain ‘classics’ I cut my teeth on, when at vertical tastings it would seem that anything younger than ten years would appear completely unyielding and unflattering.

Indeed, while not powerhouses in the sense of Sorrel's 'Greal' or Jaboulet's 'La Chapelle', Florent's wines have a quality and class all of their own. I unashamedly love their wines. They can be approached in their youth and age for however long one would wish to. In an abundant vintage their entire production is around 250 cases! .

The Cuvee Gaby is one of the appellation’s finest examples of Crozes, possessing a superb intensity but with the same finesse, whist the Hermitage Blanc from their vineyard of old vine Marsanne, is absolutely breathtaking.
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