Etienne Pochon 2018 Crozes-Hermitage     

£13.10
Old World Red: syrah / shiraz
Sweetness/Fullness: medium bodied
Oak Influence: lightly oaked
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Tasting notes
Full of ripe fruit and spices with soft tannins and a long after-taste. Does well with hearty meals such as fried duck breast served with gratin Dauphinois and ceps (recommended by the wine maker).

Why we recommend this wine
We love the Shiraz wines from the northern Rhone, particularly those from the right bank of the Rhône but unfortunately in the large Crozes-Hermitage appellation (which is on the left bank) many of the wines are lackluster and not worth drinking – see our trip report about the area here. This wine is an exception from a very good vintage!

The wine
The grapes come from vineyards located on the plains and hillsides where the soils made up of quaternary gravel are not very fertile so the vines have to struggle to produce their grapes (which is a good thing as it produces more concentrated and flavourful wines). The climate is characterized by a continental winter (cold and long) and then the hotter Mediterranean influences. The vineyard has been farmed organically since 2014 and this vintage is the first one to be certified organic after 3 years of transition.
Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks using locally selected yeasts and is finished with malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 6 months in barrels from 2 to 6 years old. Before bottling, the wines are fined with egg white and filtered with a tangential filter that uses a membrane to remove small particles.

The wine estate
Located 20km north of Valence, their estate covers 16 hectares on the slopes of the town of Chanos-Curson in Drôme in the heart of the Crozes-Hermitage appellation area. On the left bank of the Rhône, the landscape is made up of plains and steep hillsides, the latter being an ideal location for growing vines. Etienne vinifies plot by plot from hillside sites, the best of which are separated for some ageing in oak barriques.
In the late 80s, having studied as an agricultural engineer, Etienne converted the dungeons of his family’s fortified château into a winery which received its first grapes in 1988. Until that point Etienne, like his father before him, had been sending his grapes to the local co-op. His best vines are situated around the château on the stony, infertile Côteaux.
etienne-pochon.fr

Food and wine
Great for lunches to accompany terrines such as Caillette de Chabeuil (regional specialty with a pork and spinach base) and pâtés but also roasts and hard cheeses. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
The Crozes-Hermitage appellation straddles the 45th parallel that is halfway between the north pole of the equator.