Chapoutier Le Meal Ermitage Rouge 2003
The name Chapoutier has been present in the Rhône Valley since 1808. Wine grower, wine maker and wine lover, Michel Chapoutier is one of France’s most dynamic wine producers, championing biodynamic viticulture and producing a consistent, impeccably high-quality range of wines from the prominent Northern and Southern Rhône Valley appellations.
Michel Chapoutier is one of the most highly regarded winemakers in France. Since taking over his family firm in 1990 at age 26, Michel Chapoutier has transformed the winery into the leading Rhône Valley producer. He combines the modern and the traditional: crusading for biodynamic winemaking, while expanding operations around the globe and experimenting with cutting edge winemaking techniques.
Wine Advocate #163 (Feb 2006) Robert Parker 99 points Drink 2011-2046; There are just over 300 cases of the 2003 Ermitage Le Meal, which tips the scales at 16% natural alcohol. Its dense purple color is accompanied by aromas of pen ink, graphite, scorched earth, creme de cassis, and beef blood. Full-bodied with great intensity, amazing freshness as well as length, this monumental Hermitage should hit its prime in 5-7 years, and last for 3-4 decades.
Wine Advocate #156 (Dec 2004) Robert Parker (98-100) points Drink 2012-2050; The 2003 Ermitage Le Meal’s inky/purple hue is followed by an explosive bouquet of white flowers, creme de cassis, melted asphalt, and black truffles. These characteristics follow through in the amazingly intense as well as persistent flavors. Even though this is an awesome effort, it is only the third finest of these 2003 Hermitages. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. As I have said so many times over the last 15 years, the top Chapoutier wines are meant for very long term drinking, and are not designed for immediate gratification. Everything Chapoutier is doing, from his bio-dynamically farmed vineyard to tiny yields, extended fermentations, indigenous yeasts, and no fining or filtration, is done to produce the essence of a vineyard and a vintage. His track record since 1989 and 1990 admirably proves that these are indeed remarkable wines made by a young genius who refuses to compromise. Michel Chapoutier has been misunderstood by some of his peers, and there is a lot of jealousy when someone this young is so incredibly talented, but it is an irrefutable fact that these are wines of singular greatness as well as longevity.
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