|Subregion||France > Rhône > Northern Rhône > Hermitage|
The blockbuster 2003 Hermitage Le Greal tastes like a liqueur of creme de cassis interwoven with liquid rocks and blackberry jam. Marc Sorrel told me it is “original,” which I took to mean he wasn’t especially fond of such a thick and enormously concentrated wine. It is a viscous, concentrated, powerful, full-bodied Hermitage with atypical definition and freshness for its high alcohol and super-endowed, thick, rich style. Give it 2-3 years of bottle age, and drink it over the following 25. Unfortunately, production is a measly 175 cases.
Sorrel has produced many top vintages, so it is hard to believe the 2003 Hermitage Le Greal may be his finest. His production was off by nearly half, so there are only 200 cases of this blockbuster wine that came in just under 16% natural alcohol. One-hundred percent of the stems were utilized during the fermentation. With amazing color saturation, incredible flavor depth, and a finish of more than 70 seconds (I stopped measuring at that point), it is an unctuously-textured, magnificently pure, rich, full wine that tastes like pure blackberry liqueur. While atypical, it is great stuff! Give it 2-3 years of cellaring. With this level of alcohol and dry extract, it should last for two decades ... minimum. It’s a freak ... but a wonderful one! Sorrel was astonished with the high alcohols he achieved in 2003, saying he had never seen a vintage like it, a comment that was repeated by nearly everyone I talked to in the northern Rhone.