It is truly unfathomable to realize that Chateau L'Ermitage was founded in the 11th Century. Wineries here with 50+ years of history think that's impressive. Jerome and Michel Castillon of Chateau L'Ermitage think a thousand years is impressive. We agree. Living up to that history is challenging, but the Castillons have done an incredible job of doing so.
L'Ermitage translates to "the hermit" in French and refers to people who live alone. It was so named because many of the wineries here were run by one person. Of course, things have changed in the last thousand years, as today the estate, located in Auzan, is run by a very competent staff. There are two banks in this area. One is Auzan and the other is Chateauneuf-du-Pape. If you could pick your neighbors, you couldn't do much better than Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
The blend here is 60% Roussanne and 20% each of Grenache Blanc and Viognier. Roussanne is the star but is often blended with other grapes for one simple reason: it is one of the most difficult grapes to grow and maintaining an adequate crop is always an issue.
But, when it survives, the wine is luscious. Here we have the pinpoint accuracy of peach, melon, and guava highlighted by the sensuous grape flavors of the Grenache and the spice of the Viognier. Commanding dishes are the order here, such as lobster thermidor or a spicy shrimp Tom Yum soup with extra lemongrass.