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Red Rhone over £10

Find out who won the regional trophy for over £10. And the winner is...

2009 Hermitage red, Romain Duvernay

2009 was such a good vintage in the Northern Rhône that Romain Duvernay decided to buy and bottle some of it under his own name – a leap forward for a business that had always previously worked behind the scenes.

Originally from Savoie, he has been based at Châteauneuf-du-Pape since 1998 with his father Roland, the pair of them oenologues.

Their company is a courtier and supplier of bulk wines, mainly from the Southern Rhône, to leading Northern Rhône and Beaujolais merchants, so the Duvernay name is not known to the wide public.

Presenting small lots under the négociant’s own label of course offers higher margins than the large scale bulk trade, and requires the business to consider exporting as well.

From the Northern Rhône, they selected most notably a Hermitage and a Côte-Rôtie – precisely 4,000 bottles of each. “I found this Hermitage that I rated as exceptional,” says Romain; “I thought that its fruit style was exactly what I wanted.”

The 2009 Hermitage red comes mainly from La Croix and L’Homme in the eastern end of the appellation. It was raised for a little under one year in mostly new, partly 1-2 year casks. It captures well the essential richness of the 2009 vintage, when these south-eastern facing areas of Hermitage produced exceptionally ripe grapes.

The bouquet is full of juicy fruit with an underlay of meaty Hermitage depth, while the rich palate will become more nuanced from late 2013.


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Written by John Livingstone-Learmonth

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