Chave Hermitage 2008
The Chaves have been growing vines on the famous Hermitage hill for over 500 years. Gérard Chave took over from his father in 1970 and rapidly achieved megastar status due to the extraordinary quality of his wines. The estate is currently under the helm of University of California Davis graduate Jean Louis Chave , although his father Gerard still plays an active role. The domaine produces a red St Joseph 'Offerus' (made in equal proportions from senior vines in Mauves and St -Jean-de Muzols), an acclaimed Vin de Paille, but their reputation is built on their superb red Hermitage (Syrah with the addition of 15% white grapes) and white Hermitage (85% Marsanne and 15% Roussanne).
The Chaves own 15 hectares of vines on the Hermitage and crucially their Hermitage holding is spread across 9 of the 18 climates on the hill (incl. Les Bessards, the adjacent Le Méal, Les Roucoles, Maison Blanche and the monopoles L'Hermite and Peléat). This means that they can produce a blend which reflects the separate "terroirs" of the climates and is a perfect balance between aromatic complexity, power and finesse.
Tank #1: High-pitched red fruits and flowers on the nose, including a spicy overtone. Lively and precise, with excellent clarity and powerful raspberry and cherry characteristics. Tannins arrive late and fade into the fruit. Tank #2: Bright red berries and cherry aromas, complemented by building spiciness and a hint of cracked pepper. Tank #3: Deep cherry compote and cassis scents are augmented by notes of licorice and smoky herbs. Dense and chewy, with strong tannic grip and lingering smokiness. Tank #4: Bright red fruits and flowers on the nose, amplified by strong spiciness and silky tannins. Very pretty and light on its feet. This will be the largest component of the final wine, which should be approachable relatively young. It will be assembled shortly and bottled in January, 2011. 91-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Jan/Feb 11
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