2021 Michelle Luyton Hermitage Blanc
– 95 Points/Jeb Dunnuck (2020)
– The FINAL Vintage
– PLEASE DO NOT MISS THIS
– I REPEAT PLEASE DO NOT MISS THIS
– This Will Change How You Think About White Hermitage
– An Utterly Majestic Wine
– Smallest Production White Wine in Hermitage
– Nose: Gorgeous … Beautiful
– White Flowers upon White Flowers
– A Bride in White in a Field of Daisies
– The Richness Is an Element, Not the Story
– When This Matures, the Nose Will Be a Death Bed Wine
– Palate – Integrated Juicy Fruit, Acidity, Minerality,
– Grilled Nuts and Marzipan
– Explosive Internal Aromatics
– Gets to Every Nook and Cranny of your Palate
– Can Compete with Any Wine in Hermitage in 2021
– More Like Dense Grand Cru Burgundy than Young Chave
– Ultra Luxury, Billionaire Wine for $58
The Hill of Hermitage Towers Over the Rhone Like Mount Olympus
– These Are Revered Wines
– They Normally Cost Hundreds / Thousands of Dollars
– Luyton is a Fass Discovery and Even the French Are Behind the Curve
– A Relatively New Producer That Leapt up the Quality Hierarchy with Her Stunning 2015s (and Has Stayed There in 2016-2021)
– Prices Are Shockingly Low
2021 Michele Luyton Hermitage Rouge
– Luyton’s Elegant, Complex Style Has Continued Even with The More Dense Vintages
– Epic Nose
– Red Cherry Fruit, Red Raspberry
– Grilled Meats, Blood
– Mashed Red Flowers
– Stunningly Gorgeous, Dense
– Tiny Berry Fruit, Velvety Tannins
– This Is a Remarkable Wine at Any Price and for Under $55, It’s an Insane Buy
– Only 1,000 Bottles Made
– 94 Points, Vinous, Josh Reynolds (2017)
Vesti La Giubba
This is a tough email to write as it’s the final vintage of a core Fass Selections producer. And that is Michelle Luyton.
So the theme of the E-Mail had to be Vesti La Giubba. The aria in Leoncavallo’s I Paglicci. The sad clown has just discovered that his wife is a cheater but still must perform. The haunting cries “Ridi, Pagliaccio” (laugh clown) are chilling. Enrico Caruso sold over a million copies of his recordings of the aria and Pavarotti also made several memorable recordings.
Michelle told me that she is too old to make wine anymore and wants to retire and her winemaking partner, Lionel, is having health issues and won’t be able to continue on. I have always loved Michelle and her wines which are the epitome of elegance and always so fairly priced. While many Hermitage wines can be dark and brooding Michelle’s always had an elegant classicism to them and aged so gracefully. She is passionate, gracious and extremely talented and there is no replacing her. Where else will you find both colors of Hermitage and her elegant St. Joseph so fairly priced? Nowhere. She is irreplaceable.
When I met Michelle, her wines were beautifully elegant and I loved them. They were incredible but they lacked the typical density of Hermitage. In 2015, her wines started showing that typical Hermitage density while retaining her elegant style. What you get is the holy grail of winemaking: density and elegance in the same wine. And the critics have taken notice. Today’s wine got 95 Points from Jeb Dunnuck in 2020 and is sure to exceed that in 2021.
The great hill of Hermitage is about as impressive and awe-inspiring as any great place in the world. It could theoretically be the 8th wonder of the world. It as majestic as the great pyramids and as imposing as Mt. Everest and it’s not getting any bigger. That is the allure of Hermitage. It is finite. It it also expensive. Chave/Sorrel are but a few names that can attract rabid fan bases (and stratospheric prices).
The value for these prices in Hermitage is almost preposterous.
Hermitage is a tiny appellation and demand is incredibly high. They are some of the great wines of the world and recognized as such.
I don’t sell much Hermitage. It’s crazy expensive. And I try to sell wines that are great values. And, to be honest I have no idea how long Luyton’s wines will be affordable. Demand is increasing and prices are rising. Good for her. She works very hard and deserves it.
The value for these prices in Hermitage is almost preposterous. Hermitage is a tiny appellation and demand is incredibly high. They are some of the great wines of the world and recognized as such.
The 2021 Vintage
Since the Fall Ship has arrived I have been tasting 21 Northern Rhone reds like a madman. When the best 2021s are on it as unique a vintage as I have ever tasted. Also delicious and profound but they all need at least 15-30 minutes of air. Sometimes more. These wines are cranky once opened but then they go through a remarkable transformation. The best 21’s have this crystalline purity to the fruit that reminds me of 2010 or 1998 and the fruits are so red with small micro tinges of black. Like an ombré hairstyle on a woman. I adore this vintage but one has to choose carefully and that’s why I visit and taste. Today’s wine is amongst the biggest successes of the vintage. I think both wines are the best values of the vintage. For under $60 these wines are a bargain. What makes 2021 so special and unique and more special and unique than 21 Red and White Burgundy is the style is so unique and is what I imagined Rhone wines to taste in the 50’s or 60’s before climate change took hold. They are so compact, so herbal, so red fruited and so elegant. All of them, once aired have a finesse that cannot be believed. I love 20/22 etc but they are more of the current style which is rich, black fruits and opulence. I love them as well but 21 is as rare as hen’s teeth and I am not sure we will ever see another vintage like it in our lifetimes. I think it’s my favorite vintage ever as it is all I want in N. Rhone wines but didn’t know wines like this could be made anymore.
It’s absurd to me that today’s wine, the 2021 Michelle Luyton Hermitage Rouge is only $59.99 a bottle on a 4-pack and $57.99 on a 12 bottle case. This is a wine from one of the most revered appellations not only in the Northern Rhone but in all of the world. This is her best regular Hermitage since the 2015, and before that the 2013, which is a very underrated vintage. What we do know is the 2021 is a very classically rated vintage and Michelle’s 2021 is the best value by far in Hermitage. For the 9th year in a row. We started with the 2011 which was $44.99 and now we are only up a few dollars more.
The nose is mineral and so deep and refined. Just stunning aromas of red currant fruit, red raspberry, grilled meats, blood, mashed dark flowers and almost feral vibe but in the best way possible. Maybe a tiny hint of blackberry. Spice and flowers and so much olive and lavender develop after some air. It’s got cassis as well and one can smell the density. After air it gets zany. It gets olivey, gamey and full of granite and ethereal red berries. Also some (maybe 5%) dark red berries. Very intense and grandiose as Hermitage should be but within the parameters of 2021. Nose gets even more floral and mineral with air. Just dizzying.
The palate is deep, velvety and so sleek. There is an elegant power and good concentration but also a sense of grace and refinement that is utterly gorgeous. Palate is so juicy and so elegant and super pure. Wow. Man this is densely elegant. Likely her densest effort yet for the Hermitage but so elegant it’s crazy with this much density. There is so much material but it’s all on a silky string versus a thick gym rope. I’ve never had a Luyton wine this structured, dense and refined while also at the same time so unbelievably fresh and elegant. The palate impact is intense and so, so pretty. The tiny red berry fruit explosion is so wonderful. It explodes and dissipates so wonderfully. Michelle has upped her game so much. The combo of intensity and grace is something. Some of her earlier wines were beautifully elegant but also less dense. No longer. Amazing how she kept her complex and elegant style and still retains deep structure and intensity. The intensity in her wines is something. Awesome fruit and freshness and a brilliant hit of opulence on the finish and mid. Wow. What a showing. Really delicate and elegant. Like top level.It transcends whatever price I charge which is not much. There are incredible inner mouth aromas and the longer it is open, the longer the finish is. This was in barrel when I tasted it and I thought I could drink it that night it had that mother’s milk quality to it as the purity of the young puppy like Syrah was so enthralling. I think this is a 12-18 year wine at least. For $56.99 this is a brilliant value and a brilliant Hermitage.
“Inky ruby. Powerful dark berry and cherry liqueur, fruitcake, candied violet and licorice aromas are complemented by building olive and exotic spice flourishes. Palate-staining, mineral-driven black currant, cherry compote and fruitcake flavors show superb depth, and a juicy core of acidity adds back-end lift and cut. Expands steadily with air and finishes with sharp clarity, steadily building tannins and outstanding persistence.” – 94 Points Vinous, Josh Reynolds (2017)
This is an INSANE value. Every Hermitage costs hundreds of dollars. This will be limited.
Brief Discussion of White Hermitage
Now I have one of the best value and most achingly beautiful white wines I will ever sell. So Hermitage is a monster. The hill is iconic and so are the wines. But they are so huge and over the top when young, it’s almost pointless to drink them. They need 10-20 years and then they become things of beauty – as good as top Burgundy in good years. The iconic producer is Chave – and this paragraph describes his Hermitage perfectly.
But there are a small number of producers that produce Hermitage that is on the elegant side whose wines taste more like very dense Grand Cru Burgundy. One is a hero of mine, Marc Sorrel (who I’ve never been able to sell and is now retired). The other is Michele Luyton. Michele’s achingly elegant style produces Hermitage Blanc that marries the density of the terroir with minerality and acidic balance. Make no mistake – this is an utterly majestic wine. Luyton is a gem in our portfolio as she absolutely hands down makes the most regal, aristocratic and most stunning Hermitage Blanc in all of the Rhone for the money. No one comes close.
The 2021 Michelle Luyton Hermitage Blanc is magic. For $59.99 a bottle on a 4-pack and $57.99 on a case. Pure magic. When I emailed Michelle to get the price, she said do you remember tasting it? I said, How could I forget? It is a memorable, magical elixir. You’ll be lucky you own some.
This is a profound bottle of white wine and one of the greatest N. Rhone whites I’ve sold. Maybe the greatest as what is so profound about this is how expensive it drinks. 2021 is one of the best White Rhône vintages I’ve ever tasted. Finesse and electricity married with typicity makes these something else. I have made this a 4-pack because you need to drink a bottle of this wine young. It is stunning. Yes it will be better down the road but the aging curve of Marsanne is odd and the wines can shut down and seem over the hill and then re-emerge after this dumb/dead period. So drink one young. Then I’d wait 10 years. This is the smallest production white wine in Hermitage.
The nose is gorgeous and beautiful. Stunning aromas of ridiculous minerality, lime zest, some yellow fruits and tons of granite infused goodness. So much granite. Expansive and airy and with endless depth and top notch mineral clarity. Slamming. Honey and flowers are there to start and it takes around 20 minutes to open up into the regal majesty this vineyard is known for. There are white flowers upon white flowers. So, so clean – like a summer bride in a field of daises on her wedding day. Unreal granite minerality. It punches you in the face then kisses your cheek with its aromas. It’s so stunning and I cannot imagine what it will smell and taste like once it matures. It is ultra refined on the nose. Great White Hermitage can be one of the most refined wines on the planet.
The Palate Oh man. Incredibly juicy and elegant with pure flavors like fresh powder after a snowfall. Amazing balance, structure and freshness. 4 dimensional texture. It’s almost perfect on the palate. The depth is incredible but in a complex way, not a blowsy way. It is buffered by gorgeous acidity. It’s so energetic on the palate with loads of nuts and honeysuckle with insane inner mouth white flower aromas. It is just perfection. It gets to every nook and cranny of your palate and floods it with glycerin. Yet due to the conditions of the vintage (hot days, cool nights) you have insane freshness and great acidity to buffer and frame all that glycerin. The level of finesse Michelle has brought to the 2021 can compete with the top examples of white Hermitage. So much structure and density. The length is outrageous! It never ends. Yet so delicate. The palate is so pure it is almost like a mountain spring water of Hermitage. Flavors of grilled nuts and marzipan are dominant on the palate with brilliant minerality and insane inner moith florals. There is a the most discreet and brilliant application of oak that adds so much. Michelle is brilliant when it comes to oak. Never ever too much, never too little, just right. So juicy. I mean super juicy. So fresh, so pure. There is terroir footprint like no other. Wet earth. It’s like raining in the glass. The best White Hermitage for the money I have ever had.
“The 2020 Hermitage Blanc is rock-solid and has a complex, layered style in its ripe peach, quince, acacia flower, and toasty, spicy aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied on the palate, it’s nicely balanced, has good density and concentration, notable freshness, and a great finish. I like it. It should have 10-15 years of overall longevity..” 95 Points Jeb Dunnuck (2020)
Please call Cheryl at 949 378 5251 with your order if you are a first time customer (we prefer not to receive credit card numbers over E-Mail).
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I love drinking and selecting wines – but my passion for teaching people about wine is almost as big. I’m happy to announce a block of time each day where people can call me just to chat about wine in general. These blocks are NOT intended to sell wine (I do that all day). This is to talk to me about wine pairings or great producers or how long to age wines or styles of wine making or the latest wine controversy. My goal is to help people learn more about wine and enjoy it more. Call me at 917-912-4355 from 4-7EST Monday – Friday.
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