Medium gold color; white fruits and white flowers on the nose; white plum, pear, green and yellow apple, white peach, tangerine, touch of honey on the palate.
Dry; blend of 60% white grenache (grenache blanc), 40% clairette; the blend changes year-to-year. Medium-full body (from the white grenache). Nice acidity (from the clairette). Creamy, balanced, fresh, crisp, clean; edge of limestone minerality throughout that increases on the finish. Slightly waxy texture—a plus, not a flaw. No malolactic fermentation; no tannins or oak; 14% ABV.
In the 2016 vintage, many of the lots, but not all, underwent malolactic fermentation. The various lots then were blended. In 2015 and in this 2017 effort, none of the juice underwent malolactic fermentation. The winery aims for the best wine that can be made with the grapes God gives them that year; their consistent excellence is a testament to their skill and attention to quality.
The Ferraton Père & Fils estate in Tain l’Hermitage was founded in 1946 by Jean Orëns Ferraton, a vigneron and son of a vigneron. His son, Michael, shared Jean’s passion for winemaking in the northern Rhône, where the cool mistral winds help bring out the acidity and make the wines less fruity than southern Rhône. In 1998, Ferraton Père & Fils began implementing a biodynamic farming program (organic farming, plus more) to emphasize the terroir.
In 2004, Michel Chapoutier purchased the estate and committed to maintain its direction. In 2013, the entire winery and cellars were updated with state-of-the-art equipment and fermentation tanks. This wine comes from those improved facilities, and the cleanliness and freshness of this effort reflect the improvements.
The winery and vineyards are located in hallowed grounds of the northern Rhône—Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Saint-Joseph. The winery also obtains grapes from long-time associates throughout the Rhône. They include the whole panoply of the region: Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Comas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Tavel, Gigondas, and Saint-Peray. In short, Ferraton Père & Fils is a major player in the Rhône wine production region of eastern France, adroitly drawing grapes from wineries throughout the region and consistently producing outstanding efforts across many styles and price points.
Today, Ferraton is headed by oenologist Damien Brisset. “When it comes to securing the best fruit or juice, it’s all about good personal relationships,” Brisset says. “Many contracts in this part of the world are old-fashioned handshake deals.” The mission statement (labeled “A Promise” on the website) includes: “Believing in audacity. To dare. To create. With a freedom to imagine specific and rare wines.” That promise applies to their Samorëns efforts (there is a rosé and a red, too), certainly to the flexibility they bring to their blanc bottlings in pursuit of quality.
Ferraton Père & Fils Côtes du Rhône Samorëns Blanc 2017 has nice body and acidity and balance. Easy drinking softness with creamy mouthfeel juxtaposed to limestone minerality that builds from initial attack through a satisfying finish. Pair with shellfish; seafood; pan-seared scallops; tuna tartare; asparagus and sugar snap pea soup; Asian chicken salad; vegetable dishes and salads; many types of soft and hard cheeses. $11-16