Jl Chave Hermitage 2013
Robert Parker94-97 points
"...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.." - 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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- Fruit Cake
- Red Meat
Critic Scores & reviews
"(this wine is the final blend and was resting in holding tanks in preparation for bottling, "probably in March," according to Chave): Inky ruby. Vibrant black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by suggestions of candied flowers, incense and licorice, and a bright mineral nuance adds lift. Sweet, fleshy and focused, offering palate-staining cherry compote, black raspberry and violet pastille flavors accented by smoky Indian spices and a hint of cracked pepper. Shows impressive depth but comes off surprisingly lithe, finishing with superb focus and length and fine-grained tannins that sneak in slowly"
"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."
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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.