Dard & Ribo Hermitage 2017
Since the mid-1980s, the two cult winemakers Dard & Ribo have been producing organically grown wines without any additives. In the meantime, they are also hardcore biodynamic engineers. Even the addition of sulfur is largely avoided, at most a minimal amount for filling in some years. This means that we are actually talking about natural wine in today's sense. But Dard & Ribo have been working in this way for decades and long before Natural was called that. They simply appreciate the early accessibility and the playful, idiosyncratic character of the resulting wines, without wanting to use any clichés, they have been around for far too long. The aging takes place in old barrels, there is only a minimal amount of sulfur before bottling if necessary. Otherwise, everything always runs here completely without finings or other additives. Putting your nose in the glass of this Hermitage and then closing your eyes is like a journey up the steep slopes of the northern Rhone Valley. Velvety, lush berry bushes, blackberry, cassis, also a little sloe, sea buckthorn, almost a little bit reminiscent of Vosne Romanée. In addition, the spice of the Mediterranean garrigue, also thyme, rosemary, violet without end, floral, spicy, playful, fruity, even fruit explosive. There are also sweet spice notes from Quatre Épices, cinnamon, clove, pepper, nutmeg and allspice. Everyone hovers over the distinctive stone notes of the Hermitage, somewhere between slate, granite and ground limestone. A wine can hardly smell more Mediterranean. You can see the olive groves, the dry shrubs and the scorching hot rock slopes pass by the inner eye when you have this wine in your nose. The 2017 is rich and warm as you would expect from a Hermitage, but also shows a sublime balance and a very elegant calm, lush but never fat. That is the grandiose balance of this hot, but at the same time super stylish vintage. The mouth entry is fantastically filigree, incredibly velvety, light-footed, actually floating. This shows the southern exposure and the immense warmth of the Hermitage. We have a lot more ripeness, a lot more silky smoothness, a lot more softness and a lot more sweetness in the fruit. Crozes Hermitage and Saint Joseph are shown their limits here. They do not achieve this grandeur and this phenolic maturity, there is no hint of something green or rustic here. Just subtlety, floating intensity, sweet, hugging fruit without heaviness. The whole thing is accompanied by a very subtle, extremely fine minerality, delicate saltiness occupies the edges of the tongue, so juicy! The ultra-delicate tannins feel slightly chalky and a cozy warmth spreads in the mouth. This Hermitage, which, like all other Dard & Ribo wines, is produced without any oenological intervention or addition, impressively showcases the superiority of its terroir. The pure, almost unchanged grape juice. And he shows that this subtlety of the Hermitage can hardly be achieved anywhere else. Unique. A Hermitage for the joy, highly hedonistic because it is so juicy, fruit-bursting and delicate, just incredibly delicious. On the one hand, he is opposed to the many monumental Hermitage, which are made for eternal life and shine with overwhelming strength. On the other hand, it also has the grace of this large terroir in itself when you compare it with the other untreated Dard & Ribo wines. This Hermitage wants to bring maximum fun and enjoyment, now or in 15 years. A great wine for joy, not for awe. Definitely the most hedonistic wine from Dard & Ribo.