J.M.B. Sorrel, Hermitage Rouge "Le Vignon" Vieilles Vignes
J.M.B. Sorrel, Hermitage Rouge "Le Vignon" Vieilles Vignes

J.M.B. Sorrel, Hermitage Rouge "Le Vignon" Vieilles Vignes

Northern Rhône, France 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$70.00

J.M.B. Sorrel, Hermitage Rouge "Le Vignon" Vieilles Vignes

The towering hill of Hermitage is widely regarded as the holy land of Syrah, where lovers of ethereal, beguiling, richly flavored and exotically spiced wine make a delicious pilgrimage. And they usually pay very handsomely for the privilege. But with today’s discovery, you can have your deep, brooding, spice-laden “cake,” and eat it too! That’s because we are back with our second edition, and with yet another knockout vintage, of J.M.B. Sorrel’s Hermitage “Le Vignon.” Super old vines, meticulously farmed, and hands-off, old school winemaking all culminate in a master class of what Syrah’s apogee can achieve. And the kicker is that you get all of that for just $70, or about one-fifth of what these wines often cost. 

As one drives north through the Rhône valley toward Burgundy, the hill of Hermitage dominates the horizon. This granite protrusion looms over the village of Tain and is renowned for producing the world’s most substantially deep, timeless, cellar-worthy Syrah. The Sorrel family is no stranger to this fabled hillside. Back in the late 1800s, Félix Alexandre Sorrel purchased his very first parcel of vines in the “Bessards” lieu-dit, a name that should sound familiar to Northern Rhône devotées. The coveted section of “Bessards” generally serves as the backbone of Jean-Louis Chave’s historic $350 “L’Hermitage” bottling!

Since 1985, Sorrel brothers Jean Michel, Jacques, and Bruno have overseen this tiny domaine, tending to three parcels (totaling one hectare) within “Les Plantiers,” “Les Greffieux,” and the aforementioned “Les Bessards,” which holds a section of century-old vines. In fact, their youngest Hermitage Rouge vines are well over 50 years of age! Farming is carried out sustainably, a plow horse is used throughout the season, and harvest is strictly manual. In the cellar, all but 5% of the grapes are de-stemmed and a natural fermentation occurs in stainless steel vats. Upon completion, the wines are transferred into well-used French oak barrels for 24 months. The brothers taste the wine each week to monitor quality and track its evolution. It is bottled without filtration. 

As mentioned, decant this for 1-2 hours so the wine can slowly blossom while blowing off reduction. In a Bordeaux stem, a swarthy purple core with deep ruby red hues is revealed and intoxicating aromas fire out with gusto. You'll uncover ripe red cherry, cassis, black raspberry liqueur, and cold blue plum alongside candied violet, potting soil, scorched rock, bacon fat, exotic spice, struck flint, and damp herbs. Serve with your favorite roast meat or fall stew, and you’ll be in late Autumn heaven. Critic Jeb Dunnuck geeked out over this as well, calling it a “truly brilliant Hermitage” that’s “well worth seeking out” and “already impossible to resist.” Because of the generous 2020 vintage, I don’t consider it a crime to consume a bottle under five years old. Right now, it’s a haunting, earthy beauty wrapped in a silky blue- and black-fruited frame. It’s so complex, perfumed, and seamless, you’ll feel compelled to pause and reflect after every sip. Enjoy your bottles slowly, now and over the next 10-15 years.

J.M.B. Sorrel, Hermitage Rouge "Le Vignon" Vieilles Vignes

Daily Discovery

Build a Case is a one-of-a-kind subscription service that allows you the freedom to explore our expansive wine selection and consolidate your orders into a custom case over time — without the cost of shipping.
View all