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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.

Tasting through the component parts of the 2004 Hermitage blanc suggests this is another profound example of this cuvee. Boasting extraordinary richness and minerality as well as remarkable concentration and elegance, it is a big, deep white with abundant freshness and power. It should drink well for 20-25 years. Wine Advocate # 163 Feb 2006 Robert Parker (93-97) Drink: 2006 - 2031

The 2004 Hermitage blanc, which hit 15% natural alcohol, is another superb effort, continuing a succession of totally profound white Hermitages from 2003, 2004, and 2005. As many readers know, this small family producer has been making wine in Hermitage since 1481! The 2004 (about 1000 cases) reveals a light gold color, terrific finesse and elegance in spite of its enormous power, unctuosity, and richness. Of course, it is not as honeyed as the otherworldly 2003 (which hit 16% natural alcohol) but it is an amazingly full-bodied, powerful wine with pervasive honeysuckle, peach liqueur, and nectarine notes intermixed with licorice, quince, and acacia flowers. This is gorgeous wine which should evolve for 20-25 years. Wine Advocate # 170 Apr 2007 Robert Parker 95 Drink: 2007 - 2032


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