Crozes-Hermitage Tardieu-Laurent Vieilles Vignes 2011 | Ulf’s Wine of the Month

Somehow, I cannot but smile at the story behind the Tardieu-Laurent wines. The young Michel Tardieu – a state employee chauffeur who spent his days driving the local dignitaries around in the south of France – discovered that he had a great passion and nose for wine. The thing being a private driver for local dignitaries has its benefits, you get often in contact with great restaurants! Soon, restaurants started to consult him about the wine and then the step was not big to start his own négociant business focusing on Rhone wines.

Crozes Hermitage Tardieu-Laurent

Crozes Hermitage Tardieu-Laurent, copyright U Bengtsson

The story could have ended there, of course, but Michel Tardieu caught on to something that some others only suspect: there were plenty of growers in the Rhône valley that had excellent grape material, but this grape material disappeared into the large cooperatives’ wines. After a while he began to buy up some of this grape material and to sell the wine under his own name. And there we are today – we have a very talented winemaker who made his name by finding smaller growers and make excellent wine of their grapes.

In the Wine Trade Fair in Västerås I tried his Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Crozes-Hermitage Vieille Vignes. The Chateauneuf was good, but it was the Crozes-Hermitagen that really charmed. Once back home I order some bottles of the wine and tasted it again.

What a charm! This is a wine that is playing with you… The wine opens with aromas that you definitely would not expect in a red Rhône wine: exotic tones of for example lychee! So interesting. The wine is slim, not powerful, not any jamminess, no smokiness. Almost Burgundian in character. Slim, gluggable, good acidity. A total charm. I will buy more of this! Costs around 25 euro.

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