Syrah: And the winner is...

Posted by CrushWine

Betts & Scholl (& Jean-Louis Chave)
2005 Betts & Scholl Hermitage Rouge
Perfume and Finesse with the Power to Seduce

Blind tasting is a humbling experience. You're forced to let go of everything - ego, prejudice, pre-conceived notions - and approach the wine in front of you with only your senses.

Today we present the truth that was in the bottle, poured into the glass, against some formidable Syrahs... Jaboulet's Hermitage La Chapelle,

Colgin's Syrah IX,

Copain's Syrah Hawks Butte.

I'll admit I was nothing less than shocked by how good the 2005 Betts & Scholl Hermitage Rouge was. It was my hands down favorite and it also overwhelmed a room full of wine directors from New York City's top restaurants - Blue Hill, Craft, Bar Boulud, and Veritas were all in the house.

When the final tally was counted, the Betts & Scholl won by a margin of over 30%.

No tricks, no games, just CLASSIC Hermitage: Dark fruit, black raspberry that remains fresh, rich bacon fat and spice, a sort of midnight black minerality with lift, that incredible balance of weight and presence while remaining all muscle, no baby fat whatsoever. That's the magic of Hermitage - this is why it is so often considered the King of the Northern Rhône.

Today, at as low as $59.88 on the 6-pack, this is one of the most serious deals in Syrah we've come across in a long time. (Keep in mind the Jaboulet trades at around $150, the Colgin over the $200 mark.)

To be fair, there is more going on here than meets the eye - this is not your average Hermitage. Richard Betts and Dennis Scholl, beginning in 2001, somehow managed the impossible: They convinced none other than Hermitage giant Jean-Louis Chave to not only offer up some parcels of his own fruit, but to participate in the vinification from start to finish at the Chave estate in Mauves.

Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage at over 50% off? No, not really. The percentage of Chave fruit differs year to year (and is a point of endless debate and discussion), but the wine has an undeniable breed to it, muscular, as described above, but with a fine-ness, an elegance. I don't think it's an overstatement to say the signature of Chave is present in this wine.

In any event, take out your Quality-to-Price Ratio (QPR) calculator, and prepare for it to basically explode. Or melt. Or both.

Today, as spring reminds us that it hasn't exactly sprung, we are reminded that the majestic reds should not yet be forsaken for the crisp whites of summer. In fact, feels like a good day for Hermitage. While this is one of the fancier reds you can show up with at this summer's BBQs, don't hesitate if the feeling moves you because this wine, at 5 years of age, is really just beginning to blossom.

For those of you with space in the cellar, another 5 years or longer will only help the bottle develop.

As you can probably guess, grapes from Chave don't come in huge quantities. Considering the quality of the vintage, the price, the brilliance of the wine and the legend behind it, we expect our parcel to move quickly.

Please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463 to place your order.

Ian McFadden
Director of Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits

2005 Betts & Scholl Hermitage Rouge

Betts & Scholl arrives late next week
NET | No further discount