About The Wine
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 Chaves’ 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 allowing them to produce 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.
Tasted out of tank, the 2020 Hermitage ranks with the legendary wines from this address. Reminding me of a slightly more elegant version of 2010, it's a deep, inky-hued effort revealing utterly classic Hermitage aromatics of darker cassis and blue fruits as well as a liquid rock-like sense of minerality. Young and primordial, it still has incredible purity and freshness in its aromatics. Full-bodied and powerful on the palate, this gorgeous wine is going to shine with just 4-6 years of bottle age yet age with the best of them. I would not be surprised to see this beauty have 40, 50, or even 60 years of life. ~98-100 Jeb Dunnuck
Tasted in components, before the final blending and rest before bottling, this wine is shaping up to be monumental, and it's from a domaine that has made far more than a few remarkable wines. There's intense dark fruit, suave floral and exotic spice character and a deep, energizing core of minerality, plus hints of olive, botanical herbs, licorice and smoked meat. But ultimately, it mainly focuses on powerful, vibrant fruit and floral qualities, making it a particularly elegant rendition of the appellation. I can't wait to see the bottled result. ~97-99 Vinous Media
What you find in the whites, you find in the reds,' says Jean-Louis Chave, alluding to the natural freshness and balance in the 2020 Hermitage lieux-dits. This shows a good sense of finesse, with discreet, elegant tannins and intensity without great power. It is a concentrated but restrained vintage of elegance and great precision. ~98 Decanter
Readers will note that the score range I've provided for Chave's 2020 Hermitage is much broader than typical. That's because my ratings for the numerous barrel samples tasted varied considerably, with one lot scoring as low as (91 - 93), while others were near-perfect (98 - 100). I should be able to provide a more precise picture following my next visit, but it was clear to me that—even more than usual-much will depend on Jean-Louis's skills at selection and blending. From the soft, elegant, and red-fruited Péléat to the commanding, dark-fruited and mineral-laden Bessards—and the silky, finesseful and raspberry-laden Le Méal in between-there's no doubt a fine expression of Hermitage will eventually emerge from Chave's cellars. ~93-98 Wine Advocate
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