France: Rhône Valley

Around Tain l'Hermitage

The wines of Hermitage, Crozes, Cornas and Saint Joseph
By John Wheeldon

This Guide was last updated on 08 August 2011
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Maison M. Chapoutier

Address: 18 Avenue du Docteur-Paul-Durand, 26600 Tain l’Hermitage
Tel: 04 75 08 92 61  Fax: 04 75 08 96 36
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 45:4:16N (45.07114)    Longitude: 4:50:21E (4.83914) 

Chapoutier makes a wide range of wines from throughout the Rhône and from even further afield including Australia. The current family member to be in charge, Michel Chapoutier is passionate about biodynamic methods and the vineyards have been farmed in this way for some years. Their special cuvées of Hermitages (sélections parcelaires) are spectacular and sold at commensurate prices. They are particularly strong on white Hermitage, and the cuvée Chante Allouette is always reliable and good value. Their tasting room is very attractive with interesting displays showing the different soils and rocks of the Hermitage vineyard. There is always a range of wines available to taste and friendly, helpful staff to discuss them. A full range of wines including all the special cuvées are available to buy and there are often special offers with older vintages available. An unusual and particular favourite of mine is Vioné de Paille de l’Ardèche – a Vin de Paille from Viognier grapes sold for a very reasonable price. Since 1996 all their labels have been written also in Braille. Chapoutier is rare in having a shop/visitor centre which is open seven days a week without appointment (although it is worth telephoning if you want to make arrangements to taste special wines for which a charge may be made). Their website advertises specialist tastings and tours of the vineyard. I have always found them very welcoming, however we know that one member did not find them very forthcoming when he contacted them to arrange a tasting.

Useful information: Open every day without appointment. Groups welcome. English spoken.


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