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Ferraton Père & Fils (Northern Rhône, France)

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Our third stop in the 500 Wineries Northern Rhône Expedition was at Ferraton Père & Fils, a conveniently located tasting room in the heart of Tain-l’Hermitage, the town where we were staying. In France, you will find Père & Fils extremely common in the names of businesses, meaning “Father and Son." The winery’s two-level expansive tasting room can accommodate quite a few guests, but on this February day, we were the only visitors. Visiting the Rhône in the winter months comes with the benefit of less tourists and more interaction with the person hosting the wine experience.

Our host at Ferraton, Stephane, began our experience with a quick overview of the winery’s history and an in-depth look at the geographic areas of the Northern Rhône. We tasted twelve wines, yes twelve, which was an amazing opportunity to grasp the expansiveness of the Ferraton operation. Drawing upon his extensive background in the wine industry and in the local area, Stephane provided a detailed account of each wine’s production process and the geographic location of the vineyards. Although the volumes of the wine tasting sizes were small, I strongly encourage guests to spit out the wines after enjoying the deliciousness, otherwise, someone will be carrying you out!

We had several favorites in the tasting line-up, two of which came from the Saint-Joseph region located directly across the Rhône River from the tasting room. At this point in our Rhône tasting journey, I started seeing a trend in our preferences leaning more towards Saint-Joseph. It probably had something to do with the name, “Joseph.” The 2018 Saint Joseph La Source Blanc (white wine) was made from 100% Marsanne, offering fresh lemon and melon flavors with oak ageing using only used barrels to increase the body of the wine without imparting the vanilla, clove, chocolate, or coconut aromas often associated with oak maturation. We learned from Stephane that the other white grape of note in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage, Roussanne, is very difficult to grow consistently with high quality and that producers now favor using the more reliable Marsanne grape instead.

We also had the privilege of tasting the 2015 Ermitage Le Méal a fantastic expression of Syrah located at the lower and flatter part of the hill of Hermitage, a place that contributes to its more-fruity expressions due to the greater soil fertility and exposure to the sun. This wine is made from Serine, which is a clone of Syrah with origins in the Côte Rôtie that was actually considered a different type of grape from Syrah in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Upon further research (yes, I am such a wine nerd), “Sira de l’Hermitage and Serine from Côte Rôtie are simply local variations of Syrah (the variety and the name),” according to Jancis Robinson, et al. in Wine Grapes, A complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavors. Always learning something new with wine!

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi's Rating: 1 Paw Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Standing Bar Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes, via the website’s online experience scheduler

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