The sister and brother team of Marlène and Nicolas Chevalier have again fashioned an exciting Crozes-Hermitage in their 2020 Les Voleyses. The scion of another outstanding vintage in the Northern Rhône, the 2020 Domaine Chevalier Les Voleyses Crozes-Hermitage sports its usual bright purple robe and offers a sensuous amplifying bouquet redolent with the scents of blackberry, plum, violets, and exotic spices. Juicy and seductive in the mouth, the 2020 Les Voleyses charms the palate with pure floral and fruit flavors along with beguiling hints of exotic spices. Domaine Chevalier’s 2020 Les Voleyses has been aptly described as hedonism in a glass. Silky in texture and harmonious to the finish, it slides down the throat with joyful panache. For optimal enjoyment, allow the 2020 Les Voleyses a few minutes of aeration before consuming at cool room temperature (about 58°-62° F). Anticipated maturity: 2022-2026. Salut!
Although Crozes-Hermitage can in fine vintages match its southern Rhône counterparts in strength and vigor, it is also capable of an elegance and refinement beyond that of most red wines from the southern Rhône. Domaine Chevalier’s 2020 Crozes-Hermitage Les Voleyses once again excels in marrying elegance, flavor and vigor, making it an ideal wine to accompany all kinds of meats, pastas, legumes, and cheeses. Rotisserie chicken, basted with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and baby back ribs, slow cooked with a savory barbecue sauce offer especially tasty accompaniments to the Chevaliers’ 2020 Les Voleyses Crozes-Hermitage. Herbed couscous and quinoa-based dishes with grilled vegetables and portabella mushrooms provide good companionship, too. For those looking for something a bit richer and spicier, why not consider marinated lamb kebobs with roasted peppers, onions, and tomatoes, or red and yellow peppers stuffed with creamy risotto, spicy Italian sausage, and Parmesan cheese? Like its predecessors, the 2020 Domaine Chevalier Les Voleyses is eager please while taking its place at table. Bon Appétit!
Marlène and Nicolas Chevalier farm three small vineyards in Crozes-Hermitage from which they make outstanding red and white Rhône offerings. Although diminutive in size, Domaine Chevalier is large in stature: its wines have been garnering acclaim for more than three centuries and its red and white Crozes-Hermitage offerings remain benchmarks by which many of the wines of Crozes-Hermitage are measured.
At their meticulously tended family property, the Chevaliers specialize in the three traditional grape varietals of Crozes-Hermitage: Syrah for red wines, and Marsanne and most recently Roussanne for white wines, from which they fashion a number of wines in tiny lots from individual sites. Each is a singular expression of either Syrah, Marsanne, or Roussanne. In the case of the Chevaliers’ 2020 Les Voleyses Crozes-Hermitage (this month’s feature) their Les Voleyses Crozes-Hermitage emanates from a 3.5-acre vineyard whose production is highly allocated. Our club members and a handful of renowned restaurants in the United States are the primary North American recipients of this rare 100% Syrah Rhône wine.
Nicolas Chevalier has traveled far and wide in his young life to hone extraordinary winemaking skills. After completing studies in agronomy and enology in France, he headed to South Australia’s Clare Valley where he mastered various techniques for fermenting Shiraz (Syrah). He then set sail for California where he worked with Kendall Jackson in perfecting his white winemaking skills. And if those two stints were not enough post-graduate work, Nicolas traveled to South Africa in 2002 to work at the legendary three-hundred-year-old Boschendal estate in Stellenbosch, a winery renowned for its superb Syrah-based wines.
All of Domaine Chevalier’s fruit is hand harvested and great pains are taken by the Chevaliers to protect the environment, which means sustainable agricultural practices prevail. The result is a bevy of rare and unique wines of splendid character, depth, and texture. While Nicolas tends the vineyards and fashions each cuvée, Marlène handles all of the sales and marketing for Domaine Chevalier. Together, this brother and sister team provides an authentic taste of Crozes-Hermitage to those fortunate to acquire their well-crafted wines.
Crozes-Hermitage is located halfway between Lyon and Marseille, astride the swift-flowing Rhône River as it makes haste to the Mediterranean. Its neighbors are Côte-Rôtie and the more famous appellation of Hermitage from which it draws its name as well as its spiritual calling. Crozes-Hermitage is the largest of the northern Rhône wine appellations with just over 3,000 acres. The climate is continental, unlike its counterparts in the southern Rhône, which means winters are cold and often wet, while summers are typically long and hot. The soil is a mixture of clay, sand, gravel, and highly prized galets roulés, the long flat stones that are most synonymous with Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the south. The climate and composition of the soil make the region’s grapes dig deep to extract nutrients. Syrah is the most densely planted varietal in Crozes-Hermitage and the only legal red grape in the appellation. Marsanne and Roussanne are the two permitted white grape varietals. Although traditionally known for its full-bodied red wines, Crozes-Hermitage is today as highly regarded for its complex, aromatic white wines.
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