Rating: 98+ Points"
Chapoutier Ermitage l'Ermite 2011
Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
Ermitage L'Ermite is the most individual statement in the Hermitage appellation and the most prized for followers of M. Chapoutier's grandest of crus. L'Ermite Rouge, a very rare wine (with approximately 375 cases made annually) produced from a 9.5 acre site at the top of Hermitage Hill.
Deep red garnet with violet highlights. Black fruits with spice and ink notes. Tannins are not only very powerful but also mellow. Smoky notes and pepper highlight wonderfully the Syrah varietal on granite soils.
The Wine Advocate - "As expected, the 2011 Ermitage l’Ermite, which comes from the lieu-dit of the same name, is more backward and focused, with a slightly closed, tight profile. Slowly giving up ample cassis and black raspberry fruit, graphite, licorice and edgy minerality, it is full-bodied, deeply concentrated and tannic, yet still never puts a foot wrong and is perfectly balanced and seamless. Give it 3-4 years in the cellar and enjoy over the following two decades or more.
Wine Spectator - "Tightly coiled, with a briary frame around the core of intense steeped plum, red currant and black cherry fruit. An iron spine drives the focused finish. A wine of cut and precision that will need time to stretch out fully."
International Wine Cellar - "Opaque ruby. An explosively perfumed bouquet features blackberry, cassis, cola, potpourri and smoky Indian spices. Broad, concentrated and alluringly sweet, with pliant dark fruit and violet pastille flavors showing wonderful depth as well as purity and vivacity. Bright mineral and spice notes accent the long, penetrating finish, which is firmed by silky, harmonious tannins."
Decanter - "Attractively fruited nose; oak, leather hum along. Every piece of the puzzle has merit. Fleshy fruit, saline thread, violet trimming"
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M. Chapoutier Winery
No name is more closely associated with the greatness of the Rhône valley than M. Chapoutier.
The history of the Chapoutier family stretches back to the early nineteenth century when current owner Michel Chapoutier’s great-, great-, great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the now famous village of Tain l’Hermitage in the Northern Rhône Valley. Marius Chapoutier made history in the region when he became the first grape grower there to vinify his own fruit. Marius had tasted wines other winemakers produced using his fruit and he realized that something was lost in translation, so to speak. He knew that he owned some of the best growing sites in the appellation and he believed — rightly — that the grapes grown in his vineyards could produce long-lived world-class wines. In a move unusual at the time, he decided that he should make the wine himself. Not only did the quality of the wines increase greatly, but this move provided the capital to expand the Chapoutiers’ already legendary estate.
A visionary and pioneer in biodynamic winemaking, his restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality have produced tremendous success, with the most 90+ point ratings of all Rhône producers and 16 "100 point" rated wines. View all M. Chapoutier Wines
About HermitageView a map of Hermitage wineries (EHR-me-tahj) and Crozés-Hermitage (krohz EHR-me-tahj)
Notable FactsSyrah is the only varietal permitted in the red wines, while whites are typically blends of both Marsanne and Roussanne. All three varieties grow on the Hermitage hill. The red wines of Hermitage are powerful, age-worthy wines, often commanding prices similar to those of top Bordeaux. They are big in fruit and tight in tannins, but with a few years of age (from three years to three decades) they are beautifully complex, perfumed and sensuous. Their whites are somewhat mineral-driven, and depending on the blend, may have an almost oily texture (in a good way!).
Like the island of Manhattan, once all the land of Hermitage is gone, the land is gone – hard to create sprawl from an already established hill. So winemakers planted in the vineyards surrounding Hermitage, in the much larger and flatter appellation of Crozés-Hermitage. The area produces wines of the same make-up of Hermitage – reds from Syrah, whites from Marsanne and Roussanne. Red wines are allowed up to 15% of the white varieties. Some of the reds are full of fruit flavor and ready to drink now, while others are trying to follow Hermitage, by making wines with lots of power and longevity. The whites are few, but enjoyable with good fruit and the same texture of those from Hermitage.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.