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.
About the cuvée
Hermitage blanc, Chante Alouette from Maison Chapoutier is made from the Marsanne grape variety, from vines located under the white house with the same name; the grapes come from three different plots: "Le Méal" is a fluvio-glacial alluvium soil, "Les Murets" is formed on granite and "Chante-Alouette" is based on loess with a clay and chalk-rich layer of soil. A third of the harvesting takes place in new pièces and the rest in vats, then aged for a year or so. This exceptional white wine develops complex and subtle aromas of quince, ginger, honey and acacia with a note of linden. Remarkably rich on the palate, with a rather long-lasting almond finish, it can be kept for many years.
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