Hermitage is a world class wine, with a price to match, but Crozes Hermitage comes from the flatter ground around the famous Hermitage hill in the northern Rhone, and is much, much cheaper.
The wine is a bright and cheery purple ruby colour with reasonable legs. It smells clean and fruity. There’s a warm scent of jammy black and red fruits, with black pepper. It’s dry with balanced acidity, there’s raspberry and plum flavours which are slightly cooked, there’s peppery tannins as well as pepper from the fruit. There’s a hint of softening vanilla and 12% alcohol feels right.
The wine is smooth and the flavour lasts. It went perfectly with spinach and roasted vegetable pasta, it goes well with a lot of reasonably rich Italian food. For around a fiver, this is excellent value and is a good option when you want something a little less intense than a typical new world shiraz.