A sommelier, or wine steward, is a well trained and highly knowledgeable wine professional. They are normally found working in the finest restaurants where they specialize in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food pairing. Their role in fine dining today is much more specialized and informed than their immediate subordinates, beverage managers and wine waiters. In the entire world, there are only 236 Master Sommeliers. The pass rate for the test earning someone that title is only 8%. It is widely believed to be the most difficult test on the planet. After perusing secrets of sommeliers, a pattern was recently discovered.
Sommeliers Relish Rhone Wines
If purchasing fine quality wines for investment and to stock a wine cellar, most sommeliers will select the best vintages from the best wine regions. Good wines age well, and they gain more complexity after a couple decades in the cellar. When sommeliers stock cellars for their restaurant clients, they select wines from prestigious regions such as the Rhône wine region in Southern France. The region’s major appellation in production volume is Côtes du Rhône AOC.
The Rhône is generally divided into two sub-regions with distinct vinicultural traditions, the Northern Rhône (referred to in French as Rhône septentrional) and the Southern Rhône (in French Rhône méridional). The northern sub-region produces red wines from the Syrah grape, sometimes blended with white wine grapes, and white wines from Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier grapes. The southern sub-region produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of several grapes such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The bottles should reach their peak one year apart, and you can drink one every year on a special anniversary. At some point during the annual celebrations, take a trip to Rhône valley or wherever your favorite wine is from. That way, the special wine in your custom wine cellar is now also connected to a special memory of traveling to vineyards.
Hermitage Wine: A Rhone Wine
The finest red Hermitage wines from Northern Rhône can age for up to 40 years or more. Other Hermitage wines require up to 20 years to reach peak maturity. The important thing to note is that Hermitage wines should virtually always be stored in a wine cellar for years or decades. These rich, tannic, full-bodied wines evolve beautifully—some say magically.
Hermitage (Rhone) Wine Facts
There have been many outstanding vintages of Rhône wine. A Hermitage wine that is considered by many to be one of the best ever tasted is 1961 Jaboulet La Chapelle. Bottles of this wine have sold for nearly $15,000. Don’t worry, most Hermitage wine is much more affordable; here are yet more facts about Hermitage wine:
- Hermitage in the Rhône wine region has been cultivated with grape wines since 600 B.C.
- The most expensive and in-demand wine on the earth in the 1800s was Hermitage.
- Since 1481, the Chave family has been actively growing grapes for wine in the Rhône region. They are among the oldest families in the wine world.
- Hermitage is often the longest lived wine produced in the Rhone Valley.
- Only one red grape, Syrah, can be used in Hermitage. Only Roussanne and Marsanne white wine grapes are allowed.
- Hermitage wine is versatile with food pairings. The red varieties go especially well with bold, hardy courses, bacon, and many hard and soft cheeses. White Hermitage wine often has rich, thick, oily qualities that match well with lobster, crab, and crudo as well as lighter meats, such as veal and chicken.
From the Vineyard to your Wine Cellar
Enthusiasm for a particular appellation is one of many reasons wine lovers have a custom wine cellar built. Are you ready to create your own wine story? Contact Rosehill Wine Cellars today to discuss the design of your own custom wine cellar that can store your favorite fine wines. You can always consult sommeliers for more of their wine secrets, for guidance on building an exciting wine collection for your wine cellar.