If the Rhône Had Grand Crus...
2007 Chave Hermitage Blanc
Recipe for a Monument - Lowest Price in the Nation
Chave's Hermitage Blanc is a paradox, full of elements that you wouldn't necessarily think - especially from the Rhône - could coexist in such harmony. But there they are: power fused with elegance, embellishment joined with focus. This is his genius. How does he do it?
If I had the answer, I'd be minting the stuff for my own personal consumption and cellar.
Since I don't, I've done the next best thing and grabbed a very well-priced parcel that today I'll share with a select few of you: 2007 Chave Hermitage Blanc at $159.95 - the lowest price in the nation, and an outstanding value for what would certainly be a Grand Cru wine in the Rhône if they had such a thing.
Needless to say, this is a small offering on a monumental wine, and we suspect it will move quickly, so I'll try to keep my comments short today.
With his 2007 Hermitage blanc, Jean-Louis has coaxed out a riot of white, yellow and orange fruit along with similarly colored flowers and rocks from four sites on the Hermitage hill - Roucoules, Méal, Péleat and l'Ermite. I'm especially impressed with how much mineral is in the picture here, a really solid base board for generous helpings of peaches, oranges, melons and a spicy, herbal bit that Josh Raynolds in International Wine Cellar references as tarragon, licorice, Chartreuse and anise...
The picture as a whole is completely captivating, a balancing act between elements that seem as if they shouldn't be able to coexist.
Robert Parker raves over each individual site's cuvée, and then observes the seemingly paradoxical combination of power with elegance that's somehow achieved in the final blend. All of the flourishes of a Rhône white are there, yet it's also intensely precise. This is the genius of Chave, a sort of orchestral conductor whose work is only paralleled by the great Chefs du Caves of Champagne.
Chave is one of those producers that transcends wine partisanship: Even among Burgundy collectors, German Riesling freaks and Champagne devotees, Chave has a deep respect, a long-standing reputation for incredible quality. He achieves it purely and simply through honest and uncompromising work in the vineyard and cellar (I love how Parker calls it a "Draconian selection process"). In tougher vintages like Northern Rhône's 2007, this is what makes Chave's wines into monuments.
I don't think it is hyperbole to say that Chave's 07 Hermitage blanc is one of the finest whites to have come out of the Rhône. I also believe that this will last a very, very long time in the cellar. In January, we cracked open a 95 Chave blanc that was wonderfully precocious, and Bobby still raves about a 79 he had in Paris not so long ago.
If you'd prefer to indulge right now, be ready for a youthful and luscious yet snappy Rhône white that will likely defy your expectations. The intense minerality and "zesty acidity" that Parker points out really back this up and lead me to believe it will be safe to set this aside for the next 30 years, easily. While we'd love to offer packs of larger quantities ideal for cellaring, today there's simply not enough wine. Give us your maximum request, and we'll do our best.
To place your order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
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