The Gréffieux vineyard sits immediately below Le Méal, and was planted by Faurie’s great-grandfather in the ’20s and ’30s. A minuscule amount of this wine (just 50-100 dozen) is made each year, depending on the size of the harvest. We do very well to get the allocation that we receive. As the name suggests, this comes from vines with their roots in both the Le Gréffieux and Les Bessards terroirs on the Hill of Hermitage. Les Bessards borders both Le Gréffieux and Le Méal, sitting to the west of both these terroirs. Faurie’s Gréffieux component comes from the rockier granite seam of this vineyard (which is otherwise sandy with rolled, alluvial stones). This is said to bring a juicy, perfumed quality which partners so well with the more structured and mineral-etched fruit of Bessards. Bessards is a steeply terraced hillside vineyard with a southwestern exposure. The soil is pure granite, with gravel over bedrock. This terroir delivers both structural muscle and aromatic purity.
The 2017 blend comes in at the traditional 60% Les Bessards and 40% Le Gréffieux (give or take a few bunches), and the winemaking is the same as always: 100% whole-bunch fermentation (Faurie does not own a de-stemmer) in an old wooden vat for 18-21 days. Maturation is in used oak, and this year the wine filled one 600-litre demi-muid and one 228-litre used barrique. The wine was not fined and was bottled by hand. It’s a stunning rendition of this blend: a rich and ripe nose suggests all kinds of red and dark fruits and florals, then leads to a deep, yet fine and cool palate with powdery tannins and long, mineral close. We were surprised by the seduction on offer here already. A powerful Hermitage, yet one of great class and poise.
“Deep, bright-rimmed magenta. An expansive, highly complex bouquet evokes ripe red/dark berries, baking spices, candied flowers and incense. A vibrant mineral quality adds energetic lift. Seamless, sweet and sharply delineated on the palate, offering intense black raspberry, boysenberry, violet pastille and spicecake flavors that spread out and put on weight with air. Manages to be both powerful and graceful, showing superb balance, nervy back-end thrust and velvety tannins that shape the strikingly long, floral-tinged finish.” 95-96 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous
“Clear red, a joli colour. The nose has a hug of sweet-tuned blackberry aroma with gleam-glisten and steady persistence. The palate bears attractive mixed fruits, which have a real clear stream, are very purposeful. This has good Hermitage character, a wine that gives a true image of Hermitage. It carries some spice, late tannic thrust, oak-smoke, and shows a brief spot of gras on the close. It’s naked in style, true access allowed. From 2023. 2043-45 Dec 2018.” () John Livingstone-Learmonth, Drink Rhone