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 mostly in separate components, the 2016 Hermitage nevertheless looks sensational. Les Beaumes was very pretty and red fruited, with silky tannins (94 - 96). Le Méal was putting itself forward as plush and velvety, with flowers, crushed stone and ripe fruit (95 - 97). A combined sample of les Bessards and l'Hermite showed great, granite-derived structure allied to licorice and cassis. Tasted: Nov 2018; Drink: 2020-2040; Rating: 96-98 Points; Joe Czerwinski; Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
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