I joined Baron Wines just over 4 months ago after 12 years at another wine company – it was time for a change. I teamed up with Adam for a number of reasons; to help develop what is already a very successful business and to be part of some exciting projects but also because he’s got one of the most carefully curated wine lists I’ve ever seen. We’re lucky that in this business, we’re able to drink some very cool wines but when you get given the opportunity to drink a 1978 Hermitage – one of THE best vintages ever by the way – in your first few months, it is a pinch yourself moment, especially in these strangest of times. The bottle in question – Ferraton Pere et Fils Hermitage Cuvee des Miaux 1978.
Quick history lesson – Maison Ferraton’s story starts back in 1946 with Jean Orens Ferraton and just 0.3 hectares in Hermitage. The expansion started with the next generation and Michel Ferraton and in 1998, the family embraced biodynamic methods. They also brought in a close family friend to help develop the business even further. His name? Michel Chapoutier. I think you may have heard of him…! The family now owns vineyards in Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and St Joseph but also produces in Cote Rotie, Cornas and Condrieu to name a few. These guys are a huge deal in the Rhone valley!
History lesson over – let’s talk about the wine. I decanted this bottle and actually revisited it over 2 days as even after 42 years, this still offered up so much. Initially however, it did appear a little flat and to be fading away, but all it needed was a little time to open up, so I cooked up a roast and left it alone. After a couple of hours, I returned to almost Port-like aromas of raisins, orange peel and candied cranberries. Given that I was cooking treacle-cured beef sirloin, I was in a pretty happy place! Those sweet fruit flavours were holding nicely when I took my first sips and though there’s not much on the mid-palate, it almost didn’t matter as it switched into the classic, old-school tertiary Hermitage flavours of smoke, cassia bark, liquorice and cigars. Imagine yourself by a log fire in the dead of winter – that’s the vibe you get. There was a lovely earthy undertone that held it all together, keeping everything in perfect harmony. Then there was the finish…my word what a joy that was. It was more like a crescendo, akin to Gustav Holst’s ‘Jupiter’, that lasted for a couple of minutes. I savoured every single second of it…and then topped my glass up again for the encore.
The bar’s been set pretty high now! I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the fact we’ve got 2 more bottles in stock at the time this went to print so if you are looking for something special, you can stop looking now!