The Virtuoso of Hermitage
2007 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge
"A Model of Controlled Grandeur"
The only suitable comparison to this kind of masterful blending is that of the great chefs de caves of Champagne.
Jean-Louis Chave has a gift for crafting absolutely transcendent Hermitage. Chave is one of the few producers I buy, unflinchingly, year after year. These are cornerstone wines in any serious collection; they are monumental expressions of Syrah.
Andrew Jefford, in The New France, calls Chave's Hermitage Rouge "a model of controlled grandeur," and he couldn't be more right, especially in a vintage like 2007. While you'll see scores (and prices) soaring on bottles like the 03, the 07 offers a finer acidity and more balance that's simply beautiful when backed by the appellation's signature concentration and giant structure. And, again, Jean-Louis's blending expertise comes to the forefront, as the characters of each site show themselves in near-perfect harmony.
The Chave family holds parcels in Hermitage's finest vineyard sites (Les Bessards, Meal, l’Ermite, Peleat, and Les Beaumes), and Jean-Louis plays the exacting instructor who exorcises each student's - or site's - absolute best, purest qualities in order to compose, year after year, an incredible final performance. And the 2007 is seriously incredible.
From Peleat and Les Beaumes, Chave pulls extraordinary aromatics and suave finesse that really shine in this vintage, while the Meal and Les Bessards sites donate their sheer power. L'Ermite gives the final product what Parker refers to as "an extraordinary liqueur of rocks and floral character." The wines come out nothing short of sheer genius. Truly, the most similar comparison to this kind of artful, intuitive blending comes from Champagne's chefs de caves.
While the Southern Rhone hogged the spotlight in 2007, Northern Rhone vignerons faced more challenging circumstances with a dry, warm spring bringing early budding and grapes that ended up soaking up plenty of summer rain. A sunny September saved the vintage, but really, only the most exacting growers were able to create truly stunning wines. The Chaves have always had tiny productions, but lately Jean-Louis has become dogged about strict selection. Parker's 2007 tasting notes emphasize: "the Chaves appear to be ratcheting up their quality level because of a Draconian selection process in the vineyard as well as in the winery."
This "Draconian" approach proved essential in 2007, when lesser wines came out dilute and lacking the backbone to really demonstrate all that Hermitage is capable of. Chave's Hermitage, on the other hand, has superb concentration and dark, muscular tannins that, with time in the cellar, will fuse beautifully with its wound-up acidity. This is a wine with decades of fuel in its tank, and it's a wine whose evolution is guaranteed to be impressive.
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Crush Wine & Spirits
Special Bottle Price: $184.95
Chave is pre-arrival
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