Wine Review: Brotte Crozes-Hermitage La Rollande 2018

Wine Review: Brotte Crozes-Hermitage La Rollande 2018

Producer: Brotte

Region: Crozes-Hermitage, Northern Rhone, France

Grape: Syrah

Vintage: 2018

ABV: 13%

Price: $23.99


Brotte has been a source of consistent, quality wine within the Rhone Valley since the 1950s. This was my introduction to northern Rhone’s famed Syrah and can serve as a great and affordable introduction for others. After drinking Brotte’s Crozes-Hermitage, I finally understand why the northern appellations are loved so much, yet I still have much more to learn and experience. This is a tasty, exciting blend of vibrant, yet calm red fruits and savory, gravelly earth and herbs.


Crozes-Hermitage is one of the seven appellations in northern Rhone. It is also the largest northern Rhone sub-region by volume producing over six million liters of wine per year. The terroir is fairly different depending on the specific part of the region. North of Tain-l’Hermitage, the land is hilly with granite soils and a more humid climate. South of Tain-l’Hermitage, it tends to be flatter and drier with sandy soils while being exposed to the Mistral winds. With that being said, vineyards in the northern part of Crozes-Hermitage tend to produce better wine.

Syrah is the only red varietal allowed here as in most of northern Rhone with Marsanne and Roussanne being the allowed white varietals. Producers are technically allowed to blend up to 15% of their Syrah’s with Marsanne and Roussanne, though it is rare.

A general map highlighting the location of the Rhone Valley, Northern Rhone, and Crozes, Hermitage.


Syrah has its origins in the Rhone Valley. The grape has historically been and is still blended with Grenache and Mouvedre in southern Rhone and produced as a single varietal wine in northern Rhone. Other regions in France such as Provence and Languedoc also produce Syrah for various blends and styles. Syrah has found a home in other regions in Spain and in the United States, South Africa, and Australia where it is called Shiraz.

Syrah is characteristically a versatile grape, as the terroir that surrounds it and the style it’s crafted into can make a world of difference. For example, in France and Spain, Syrah tends to be vegetal, floral, earthy, and savory with red fruits, while in the United States and Australia, Shiraz tends to be more fruit-forward, bolder, and even jammy. General characteristics include pepper, floral notes, and a wide range of fruits.


Initially, there is a general blend of earthy and vegetal aromas. Sprinkled throughout, there are hints of bell pepper, mint, and spices. The fruits are mostly muted and take some time to show up. As air seeps in, raspberry and cherry notes slowly make themselves known alongside an aroma reminiscent of savory mushroom stew.


Brotte’s Crozes-Hermitage is earthy and funky on the first sip with a gravelly, gripping mouthfeel. There were moderate tannins and acidity and a very in-between, structured body. The tasting notes followed the aromatics fairly closely, as the fruit seemed to be hiding at first. As the wine opened, a vibrant, yet focused, blend of fruits came out. The red fruits taste as if they are growing naturally in the woods surrounded by a variety of foliage and plant life. Alongside the fruits, mushroomy herbal notes complement the red fruits and gravelly earth.

Final Notes

Brotte’s Crozes-Hermitage is a great introduction to northern Rhone’s Syrah in terms of quality and price. This wine reflects the characteristics of the region and is extremely tasty. If you are unsure about French, old-world Syrah, there is no better test to start with than

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