Who was Gaspard de Stérimberg?
A. Louis Pasteur’s assistant and the man who, historians now believe, was the actual discoverer of the role of yeasts in fermentation (not Pasteur)
B. The French official who established that country’s national Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée laws
C. Louis XIV’s most famous sommelier and a man who was legendary for having a palate memory of every wine he’d ever drunk
D. A Medieval crusader whose shelter became the name of a famous wine
Ok, this quiz was a little obscure, but if you love Rhône wines, you probably got it right. Gaspard de Stérimberg was a medieval crusader who, after being wounded in the Albigensian crusade of 1209 against heretics in southern France, was granted, by Queen Blanche de Castille, the right to establish a sanctuary on top of the hill of Hermitage in the northern Rhône Valley. A small, ancient stone chapel still marks the spot. It is for this chapel that La Chapelle, the impressive top Hermitage wine of Paul Jaboulet Aîné, is named.