1998 Nobles Rives Hermitage

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Hermitage is the Rolls-Royce of the Rhone region. It’s made from 100% Syrah and quality examples take decades to mature. Often times other wines in the region are thought of as wines to drink while wines from Hermitage and Cote Rotie mature. Hermitage is actually a very small region as well so coupled with the age needed these wines are very expensive. White wine is also made in the region but  most of the production is red.

This bottle here is not a well known producer so it was relatively inexpensive at $40. Most well known producers are in the hundreds even when they are new and still need 20 years before you can drink them. We enjoyed this wine with rigatoni and meatballs.

colonelgrape: 83. Since this is an older wine we decanted it for a solid 40 minutes before tasting it and the first thing that jumped out at me was the color. This wine was a very distinct brownish/brick red that you only see in older wines. On the nose it smelled leathery and earthy. On the palate I immediately tasted smoked meat, leather, earth, spices, and a background of red fruit. That first sip I literally thought someone dipped a salami in my wine, in a good way. I’d describe it as “gamey” tasting. It went really well with the hearty meatballs. I think we missed the prime of this wine by a few years but this is still a bottle I’d recommend if you’re looking to try a Hermitage red but don’t want to spend $200 for a bottle of Jean Louis Chave. Just make sure you do it soon as this wine is definitely on the back 9 and won’t last much longer in the cellar.

MobyGrape: 85. I didn’t know what to expect from this wine, because even though the colonel has explained to me roughly 4001 times what hermitage wines are, I have yet to pay attention.  It smelled and tasted kind of meaty at first, and there was a lot of sediment, which leads me to the conclusion that someone dropped hamburger in the barrel.  Whatever they did I’m cool with it, because it worked out pretty well.  The meat smell went away shortly and then it smelled a little bit raisiny and tasted like them If you did the weird little slurpy thing to aerate it on your tongue (which I do in a very classless way, so I’ve been told). Regardless, I enjoyed the wine before dinner and also with pasta and meatballs, a nice meaty wine for a nice meaty meal.

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