A String of Knockouts from the Champ
Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2003-2005
Back-Vintage Parcel: Perfect Provenance, Sharp Pricing
"No tricks. Other than the existence of Hermitage itself."
-Andrew Jefford, The New France
Jean-Louis Chave has a gift for crafting absolutely transcendent Hermitage. These are cornerstone wines in any serious collection - beautiful fusions of power with elegance, embellishment joined with focus. This is the genius of Chave.
Today we present a neat little parcel of some of the best recent vintages of this genius. This is destined to move very quickly: Back-vintage Chave Hermitage Blanc and Rouge from 03, 04 and 05 (a string of absolute knockouts) with perfect provenance.
These are straight from the source, where they've been peacefully resting, slowly and beautifully developing in a temperature-controlled warehouse until they emerged from their pristine cocoons to come directly to us.
We've included Parker's notes for each one below, and today's pricing is extremely sharp.
Chave's Hermitages are some of the most ageworthy white and red wines in the world, and though these have had a nice bit of beauty rest, they warrant a good deal more. We strongly advise you to stock up today so you can enjoy these wines' incredible evolutions.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store with your maximum order; we will do our best to allocate fairly at the end of the day.
Crush Wine & Spirits
2003 Hermitage Blanc
Compare at up to $400
Parker: Although the amazing 2003 Hermitage blanc possesses 16.5% finished alcohol, it is well-delineated and fresh. The light gold color is followed by beautiful notes of rose petals, honeysuckle, white currants, wax, orange marmalade, and an intense liqueur of stone that is only found in the greatest white Hermitages, Montrachets, and Meursault-Perrieres. Occasionally, some Alsatian wines will reveal this gout de petrol-like taste. Huge and rich, according to Gerard Chave, it may represent a modern day clone of what the "1929 Hermitage Blanc" (which is still a great wine) resembled when it was young. This is a "must have" dry white.
2004 Hermitage Blanc
Compare at up to $450
Parker: The 2004 Hermitage blanc, which hit 15% natural alcohol, is another superb effort, continuing a succession of totally profound white Hermitages from 2003, 2004, and 2005. As many readers know, this small family producer has been making wine in Hermitage since 1481! The 2004 (about 1000 cases) reveals a light gold color, terrific finesse and elegance in spite of its enormous power, unctuosity, and richness. Of course, it is not as honeyed as the otherworldly 2003 (which hit 16% natural alcohol) but it is an amazingly full-bodied, powerful wine with pervasive honeysuckle, peach liqueur, and nectarine notes intermixed with licorice, quince, and acacia flowers. This is gorgeous wine which should evolve for 20-25 years.
2005 Hermitage Blanc
Compare at $500+
Parker: The 2005 Hermitage blanc is an amazing effort that defines the classic style of white Hermitage. It offers hints of marzipan, roasted hazelnuts, quince, licorice, honeysuckle, citrus oil, and wet stones. It is a superbly concentrated and powerful wine. It should drink well for 30+ years.
A bastion of traditionalism and terroir-sensitive winemaking, the Chaves, both father Gerard and son Jean-Louis, continue to establish higher and higher standards for artisanal, high quality winemaking without manipulation or compromise. As I have said many times in the past, after more than two dozen visits to their cellars in Mauves, the Chave address remains one of the most extraordinary places of learning in the wine world. Most importantly, they have had a remarkable succession of successful vintages that began in 1994.
2003 Hermitage Rouge
Compare at up to $700+
Parker: The perfect 2003 Hermitage has acquired extraordinary minerality as well as definition since I first tasted it 12 months earlier. Its inky/purple color is accompanied by glorious aromas of creme de cassis, black cherries, licorice, crushed rocks, and flowers. Prodigiously rich and full-bodied yet elegant and fresh, this is a tour de force in winemaking. There are no overripe, scorched, pruny, fig-like notes in this extraordinary Hermitage. It will be drinkable young, yet evolve for 35-40+ years.
2004 Hermitage Rouge
Compare at $300+
Compare at $400-500
Parker: The 2004 red Hermitage, which was given a much longer time in barrel and small foudre than normal because the Chaves determined the tannins and the acids needed a longer time to integrate, is a beauty. The wine exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, black cherry, licorice, pepper, and a hint of olive paste. It is a full-bodied wine that tastes atypical for this vintage with its beautifully integrated acidity and sweet tannin. The wine is structured, more masculine and backward than the over-the-top, full-throttle 2003. Readers could probably think of it as an improved, modern-day version of the 1988 or 1998.
2005 Hermitage Rouge
Compare at $300+
Compare at up to $600
Parker: Made in a totally different style, the masculine, backward 2005 Hermitage exhibits an inky/dark ruby/purple color along with aromas of graphite, creme de cassis, licorice, roasted herbs, and scorched earth. The minerality and tannins dominate this gamy, thick, rich 2005, which, given its tannic structure, is closest in style to a vintage such as 1995 or 1998. Give it 7-10 more years of cellaring, and drink it over the following three decades.
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