Hermitage is a great northern Rhône appellation, situated on the east bank of the Rhône river. The apellation is renowned for its full-bodied tannic wines based on Syrah grown on steep, narrow valley sides around the hill of Hermitage (upon which is perched the Chapel of St Christopher; La Chapelle), which sits behind the town of Tain l’Hermitage.
There was a time when the red wines of Hermitage were used to beef up the thinner wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, but since the 1980s the appellation has become highly recognised in its own right, and Hermitage reds have a similar quality and stature to those wines they formerly bolstered. Today, Chapoutier is the major landholder, but Jaboulet and Chave are also prominent. Four lieu dits (small geographic locations) are particularly famous: Les Bessards (where Chapoutier’s Pavillon comes from), L’Hermite (which surrounds Chapelle), Les Greffieux and Le Méal.
A small amount of white wine, made from Marsanne and Roussanne, is also produced in Hermitage.