Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2018
1 or more bottles$499.00
Jeb Dunnuck97 points
James Suckling96-97 points
The Wine Advoca96 points
A blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from the l’Ermite, Péleat, and les Rocoules lieux-dits, it exhibits a huge, opulent bouquet of buttered citrus, flower oil, orange marmalade, quince, and honeysuckle that’s to die for.
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Critic Scores & reviews
"I was able to taste the 2018 Hermitage Blanc from multiple barrels and tank, and I continue to think Jean-Louis fashions one of the greatest whites on planet earth. Gorgeous white flowers, honeysuckle, ripe quince, and toasted almond notes dominate the bouquet, and it has that rare mix of richness and opulence paired with incredible purity, freshness, and focus. It has a wealth of material yet also shows the vintage’s more rounded, sexy style. Plan on drinking bottles on release and over the following 2-4 years or hold off for a decade. It’s certainly in the same ballpark as the 2017."
"Rich and silky, but showing no heaviness, with a touch of lemon verbena on the nose. The alcohol is high yet not unbalanced, with an inner mineral freshness leading to a rich, long and generous butterscotch finish. A big vintage for Chave's white Hermitage, though not outrageously opulent."
"The thickness of the skins on Chave’s old vine parcels is what gives this wine its unrestricted depth and intensity, as well as it s ability to age for a very long time. Aromas run from very pretty and floral, through peaches and lemons and into crushed and grilled nuts. The palate is such a textural essay with an attractively youthful and pithy shunt of tannin that underwrites a considerably long finish and long cellaring potential"
"Tasted in components. #1) Rocoules Haut: A touch of iodine, smoky, mineral-accented orchard and pit fruits on the nose and palate. Chewy and precise, with no excess fat and a building mineral flourish. #2) Rocoules mid-slope: Taut and energetic in style, showing very good depth to its juicy Anjou pear, yellow apple and honeysuckle flavors. Plays richness off of energy with a steady hand. #3) Rocoules Bas: Nectarine, honey and floral qualities are sharpened by a suggestion of orange zest. Weighty yet precise, with a jolt of minerality adding back-end grip. #4) Peleat: Lively and precise, offering intense citrus, orchard fruit flavors, building iodine and smoky mineral nuances. Very long and tight, with a sexy floral nuance emerging steadily. #5) Peleat old vines: Deeply perfumed pear nectar and orange marmalade qualities on the nose and palate. Becomes livelier with a bit of air and shows fine delineation on the back half. These vines are at least 120 years old, Jean-Louis Chave told me. #6) Ermite: Emphatically mineral and precise on the nose, displaying vibrant Meyer lemon, white peach and floral qualities and a strong mineral overtone. Chewy and tightly wound, with superb depth, serious closing energy and repeating florality."
The Wine Advocate96
"The 2018 Hermitage Blanc was still in its various components, so my rating and description is something of a composite, based on barrel-tasting lots from Péléat, Les Rocoules and L'Ermite. There's incredible weight, ripeness and richness throughout, with hints of toast and crocuses accenting white peach, melon and pineapple fruit, yet also a sense of vibrance and briny freshness on the lengthy finishes."
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
The Rhône Valley is in the South of France and is situated in the Rhône river valley. The region has been growing wines for centuries and is generally split into two sub-regions. In the Northern Rhône, Syrah is the predominant grape variety, though it is often blended with other white varieties like Marsanne, Rousanne and Viognier, or the red grape Mourvedre. In the Southern Rhône, a wide range of white, red and rosés are produced alongside the undisputed king of the Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The Northern Rhône is cooler than the Southern Rhône and has a continental climate with warm summers and cold winter. The appellations from North to South are Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas and Saint-Péray.
In Southern Rhône, the climate is more Mediterranean, with mild winters and hot summers. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the most famous appellation but others include Côtes du Rhône, Gigondas and Lirac. Large pebbles are used in the region, placed at the base of the vines to absorb the suns heat during the day, to keep the vines warm at night.
Châteauneuf-du-Papes are blended from the 13 permitted grape varieties, though Grenache usually dominates, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre. These wines can be supremely rich and complex and typically warrant 5-10 years in the cellar for best results.
Hermitage is a French wine Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the northern Rhône wine region of France, south of the city Lyon. The region produces some of the world's finest Syrah, rich, incredibly age worthy wines that are among the most expensive Syrah (Shiraz) globally.
The red wines produced in Hermitage are one of France's most prestigious wines. Among the offering from Rhone, none beat it, though Cote Rotie (45km to the north) and Chateauneuf-du-Pape (110km to the south) are of corresponding quality in their respective blends. The white counterpoint to the red is Hermitage Blanc, a wine to behold comprising the Roussane and Marsanne varietals. Surprisingly they account for around one third of the regions entire plantings.
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About the brand Domaine Jean-Louis
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is a powerhouse producer located in the northern Rhône, making wine under the Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations. Chave's red and white Hermitage wines – based on Syrah and Marsanne and Roussanne respectively – are some of the most important in the Rhône Valley, commanding both high prices and 100-point scores.
The estate has 14.5 hectares (36 acres) of land in Hermitage, making it one of the largest land owners in the appellation. The vineyards were planted when the Chave family arrived in Hermitage in the late 19th Century after phylloxera had devastated much of France. The vineyards were terraced and today cover eight different plots on the hill, providing a range of mesoclimates and terroirs for the Chave wines. Many of the vines are between 30 and 60 years old.