The Chave family has been growing wine in the Northern Rhone since 1481. Jean-Louis joined his father in 1992 and currently represents 16 generations of unbroken lineage committed to the production of some of the finest Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussanne on the planet! The Key to these long-lived wines of great purity, elegance, power, and finesse, is the family's winemaking pedigree and remarkable blending skills. The Chave family has never released a single vineyard or cru Hermitage instead cultivates the perfect blend of vineyards crafting the most prodigious Syrah wine in the world, year after year.
“The Chave line ... could make a fair claim to be France’s winemaking royal family: in no other of France’s great terroirs is the largest individual landholder so deeply rooted in time and place, so supremely competent, and so modest a custodian of the insights and craftsmanship of the past.” ~ Andrew Jefford, The New France
The Chave’s methods for all their winemaking are traditional farming, super low yields (focused on quality), full ripeness, and minimal manipulation. Their unmatched meticulousness continues through five centuries to render venerable expressions of the purest of Rhône terroir! Chave's family talents passed down from generation to generation allows them to produced unmatched wines in even the most difficult vintages. As the largest landowner on the hill of Hermitage, the Chave family's consistency and commitment to crafting the world's finest Syrah has been unmatched over five centuries.
Many hours of thought, insight, and conversation go into the final component blend for Hermitage. While percentages vary from year to year, the constant backbone of Hermitage Rouge is Syrah from Bessards Vineyard with its steep, granitic slopes. These vines average 50 years in age with the best vines reaching 80+ years in age. Generally, 100% destemmed, as the Hermitage is meant to be about the expression of the individual vineyards and soils; Jean-Louis believes that stems have a tendency to level out the differences. Fermentation in wood tonneaux and stainless steel tanks. Aged in barriques for 30 months.
Tasting Notes: 100% Syrah. Immensely complex on the nose, red fruits, dark chocolate, cassis, toasted spices, cured meat, fresh cracked pepper, and turned earth light up the senses. The palate is concentrated, deeply complex, and full of plush red fruits. The elegance of this wine is unmatched with firm acidity, fine tannins, and a finish that goes on for minutes.
Still in barrel at the time of this tasting, the 2013 Hermitage will certainly be one of the wines of the vintage. Offering classic, granite-induced notes of smoked dark fruits, graphite, searing minerality, and bouquet garni, this sensational Hermitage has medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful mid-palate density, and building tannin, all with the freshness and purity of the vintage. Reminiscent of a more backwards, tight, focused, and granite-driven year (I asked Jean-Louis if there was a similar vintage he could recall, he commented that he couldn't think of one), it has solid ripeness in its aromas and flavors, good sweetness in its tannin, and a great finish. I suspect it will need 7-8 years of cellaring and keep for 20-25 years or more. ~94-97 Robert Parker
Solidly built, with a serious bolt of smoldering charcoal through the core of dark cherry, plum, and blackberry preserves. Lots of bay, sage, and leather fill in the background, though the dark fruit easily keeps the upper hand. Superior drive and a long sanguine echo define the finish. Best from 2019 through 2034. 2,500 cases made. ~95 Wine Spectator
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