An exceptional wine for ageing. Often closed in its youth, this Hermitage develops an aromatic palette and level of complexity almost unrivalled anywhere in the appellation. More info
The 2003 Hermitage is as profound as they come. Inky in color, with incredible kirsch, blackberry liqueur, flowers, licorice and hints of underlying meatiness, it hits the palate with a full-bodied, massively concentrated profile that has nothing out of place, seamless integration of its fruit, alcohol and tannin, and an overriding elegant, perfectly balanced feel. Drink it anytime over the coming three decades.
Domaine Chave's red Hermitage stands out from the appellation's other wines for its rather unusual journey: often very closed in its youth, seeming to suggest little development, it finally opens up, sometimes after very many years, thus undergoing a true metamorphosis. Patient connoisseurs can then discover a nectar in full bloom, with exceptional potential for keeping – half a century in the case of a good year. Full-bodied and concentrated, beautifully complex and racy, it develops a wide range of flavours ranging from blackcurrant to smoky, through roasted notes of prune, leather and spices.
The Chave family has been making wine in the Rhone since the end of the 15th Century when a local lord granted them a vineyard plot. Jean-Louis Chave, son of Gérard, is currently at the helm of this mythical property on the Colline de l’Hermitage and continues to set himself challenges. The most recent of these was his acquisition of the phylloxera-devastated Clos Florentin in 2009. He also revived some vineyard parcels on the slopes of Bachasson in the Saint-Joseph appellation in the 1990s. The domain strives to bring out the best in its terroirs but does not produce single parcel wines or "super cuvées". The only exception to this is cuvée Cathelin which is named after a deceased artist friend of the winegrower. This cuvée is only produced in noteworthy years and production is limited to 2000 bottles. Jean-Louis Chave strives to perpetuate the domain’s distinctive style of wine, staying faithful to the ancestral practices that forged its reputation. This means carefully controlled yields, no artificial herbicides or fertilisers, harvesting grapes as late as possible to achieve optimum ripeness, and a very low intervention winemaking process to allow the wine to develop as it chooses. Each parcel’s crop is vinified and barrel-aged separately so that it fully expresses its distinctive character. This is what gives the final blend its beautiful complexity.
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