Chave Hermitage 2013
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.
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. Rating: 94-97 Points; Drink 2022-2038; Issue #222, Date: Oct 2015, Jeb Dunnuck - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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