It is one of the most prestigious PDOs in the Rhône Valley, considered by amateurs as one of the most delightful expressions of Syrah, it is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year: it is the Hermitage appellation. World-famous wines that are the pride of an entire terroir, the Hermitage is also magnificent terraced vineyards and an exceptional place offering a unique panorama of the Rhône river.
From hermit to Hermitage: from birth to 85 years of the Hermitage appellation
Formerly called “Vins de Vienne” or “Vins du Coteau Saint Christophe” because of the chapel dedicated to the Patron Saint of travelers, the name Hermitage appeared around the 17th century. A tribute to the hermits who elected to live on this hill and when you discover the viewpoint, it is not difficult to see why!
The first hermit was Gaspard Henri de Sterimberg. In 1225, this knight decided to retire there after returning from a crusade against the Albigenses. He then asks the local lord for the right to build his hermitage * on the hill in order to withdraw from the world. Legend has it that the knight worked the vines and offered a glass of wine to all pilgrims passing by!Which explains the origin of the name Hermitage or Ermitage, both spellings are allowed, some estates play with these two possibilities to distinguish their different vintages.
The reputation of this PDO is well established! These wines were already extremely popular as early as the 16th century at the table of the french King Henri IV. Among the illustrious ambassadors of these wines, we find the kings Louis XIII and Louis XIV, Tsar Nicolas II or even Alexandre Dumas
In 1937, the wines produced on the famous hill were consecrated as a Protected Designation of Origin, so this year we are celebrating 85 years of the Hermitage appellation.
The Chapel of the Hermitage Paul Jaboulet Ainé
Famous viewpoint over the Rhône Valley, a real postcard setting that leaves no one indifferent. It was founded on the site of a Roman temple erected in homage to Hercules. His story is now linked to history, that of the hermit, giving him a beautiful legend! It was restored in 1861, then bought by Domaines Paul Jaboulet in 1919, which will carry out restoration work again in 1980. Today, the Chapelle de l'Hermitage is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Valley. du Rhône, a must-see for lovers of fine wines. Maison Jaboulet takes advantage of this exceptional location to organize pop-up bars during the summer. You can enjoy the panorama while tasting the wines of one of the great wine houses of the Rhône Valley, exceptional!
Hermitage: exceptional vintages
The Hermitage is one of the 10 most expensive grands crus in the world in 2021 according to the New Zealand website Wine-Searcher. In 9th position, is the Hermitage cuvée Cathelin by Jean-Louis Chave. It is not uncommon to see some great vintages panicking the auctions, in 2007, at the famous Christie's house, the legendary Hermitage La Chapelle 1961 from Domaine Paul Jaboulet Ainé, sold for 24,000 euros per magnum and 8,700 euros the bottle. An absolute record! It was even voted the best wine of the last century ! For 85 years, the Hermitage appellation has seen great years, such as the vintages of 1929, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1949, 1961, 1969, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996 , 1998, 1999, 2005, 2015. Those bottles sell for high prices.
In the meantime, it is not necessary to spend thousands of euros to taste its great wines even if it is recommended to plan a small budget to get a bottle of this PDO (bottle from 41 € at the producer).
Don't wait any longer to learn more about this sublime PDO. Here are some great addresses to discover exceptional wines to be tasted in moderation, in order to celebrate with dignity the 85 years of the Hermitage appellation.
The list of our Hermitage wine producers: