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Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage Rouge, Rhône Valley, France, 2019

Regular price $389.95 Sale price $400.00
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Overview of the Wine
Going back to 1481, when the first Jean-Louis Chave was gifted a vineyard in St Joseph by the nobleman Farconnet, 25 generations have farmed some of the best parcels in the Northern Rhône. Though now known as perhaps the best producer of Hermitage (and certainly among the best blenders in the world), the family only expanded to this famous hill during the mid-1800s wave of phylloxera that decimated Europe's vineyards. 

In the 1970s, when Gerard Chave took over from his father, the domaine rapidly achieved megastar status due to the extraordinary quality of his wines. Gerard's son Jean-Louis (25th of his name) now oversees the estate and has shown an ever expanding dedication to improving the already stunning quality of these rare wines. Jean-Louis Chave regularly dedicates the domaine to intense and exacting projects, the benefits of which will be seen by future generations. Indeed, the estate employs three full time stonemasons just to repair the traditional stone walls dotting the vineyards. 

Since the 1990s, Jean-Louis Chave has offered a second label known as 'J.L. Chave Sélection' that provides a glimpse of the reason for the estate's fame at a fraction of the price. Many of these wines are from declassified estate wine and long term farming contracts, and are vinified in the domaine's primary cellar in Mauves. 

Natural and Organic. 

Origin
Hermitage AOC, Rhône Valley, France

Grapes/Blend
Syrah

Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Generally 100% destemmed, as the Hermitage is meant to be about the expression of the individual vineyards and soils and 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.

100 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 
As usual, the 2019 Hermitage remained largely as separate components at the time of my visit. Some pre-blending had occurred, so I tasted a combination of Beaumes and Péléat, as well as components from L'Ermite, Méal and Bessards. Uniformly full-bodied, concentrated and long, with rich, velvety tannins, dark-fruit flavors (cassis, blueberries, boysenberries) and hints of crushed stone and licorice, comparisons with 2003 aren't unreasonable.

99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
A potential candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2019 Hermitage is a massive, full-bodied, yet mineral-laced and undeniably classic wine from this estate. All of the components showed incredibly well, with the Le Méal offering classic sexiness, the Hermite being straight and focused, and the Bessards just as good as any Syrah out there. It shows the ripeness of the vintage, yet the purity of fruit is incredible. It’s another magical wine in an incredible series of awesome Hermitage from this family.

99 Points - Vinous
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 Points - Decanter
A tasting of barrel samples of different lieux-dits: Péléat, Beaumes, Ermite, Le Méal, Bessards. Long, slow fermentations due to the high potential alcohols this year, some barrels reaching over 15% - at the limit of what the indigenous yeasts can handle. Even the Bessards component, which is usually so strict and skeletal, is full of fruit this year. The last exceptionally hot year was 2003, which produced a wine that was highly atypical, with notably jammy fruit. That's not the case in 2019 - the fruit is fresh and lively. It's hard to make a judgement at this stage; the alcohol is high, and may always feel warming. Either way, it will provide great pleasure and impact, despite its extreme style.

Product size: 750ml

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