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Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2006

Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
  • RP96
  • WS95
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

RP 96
The Wine Advocate

Superior to the 2007, the 2006 Hermitage reminds me of Chave's brilliant 1991. An incredibly subtle perfume of black raspberries, creme de cassis, camphor, and acacia flowers is followed by an elegant, concentrated wine with beautifully integrated acidity, tannin, wood, and alcohol. This seamless, gorgeously-proportioned, large-framed wine represents the definition of finesse, elegance, and terroir. It will be drinkable in several years, and should last for 20-25 years.

WS 95
Wine Spectator

Offers a remarkable combination of density and elegance, with a loamy, cocoa-driven backdrop to the crushed plum, black cherry, incense and iron notes. Long, silky tannins carry everything through the precise, mouthwatering finish. No skipping a beat here. Best from 2010 through 2021. 2,500 cases made.

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Jean-Louis Chave

Jean-Louis Chave

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Jean-Louis Chave , , France - Rhone
Jean-Louis Chave
Some experts feel that the greatest maker of Hermitage is the firm of Jean-Louis Chave. The Chave family has been growing grapes at Hermitage since 1481. They have a reputation for making good wine in poor years, and excellent wine in good ones. They use low yeilding vines (average age 60 years) and a late harvest to produce the ripest fruit, and there is virtually no intervention in the winemaking and bottling with no filtration.

There are a dozen or so named vineyards in Hermitage, and Chave owns vines in most of them. They vinify each separately, which allows them to blend for greater complexity before bottling.

With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.

By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).

Zinfandel

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Unapologetically powerful, heady, and fruit-forward, Zinfandel is often thought of as a truly Californian grape, though in fact it is anything but. This variety has followed an intriguing trajectory to reach its adoptive home, beginning, surprisingly, in Croatia. Originally known as Tribidrag, it first made its way to southern Italy where it became known as Primitivo. From there it eventually migrated to what is now unarguably its most successful outpost, in California, and has thrived throughout the state. Of course, this is also the grape of White Zinfandel, a sweet pink wine that enjoyed great popularity in the 1980s and 90s. Though White Zin still has a significant following, today the variety is increasingly associated with the red version.

In the Glass

Zinfandel commonly features a bold, plush texture and notes of dark plum, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper, dark chocolate, leather, and licorice, and can often be described as “jammy” and a little bit sweet. Very ripe examples may express a hint of dried fruit like raisin, fig, or prune. Despite its significant alcohol and weight, Zinfandel has very smooth, gentle tannins.

Perfect Pairings

Zinfandel is a powerfully flavored wine, mingling happily with bold food like brisket, lamb shanks, pork ribs, or anything barbecued. If care is taken with regards to alcohol levels, Zinfandel’s hint of sweetness can work well with milder Indian-spiced dishes like lamb curry.

Sommelier Secret

Thanks to its popularity both for home winemaking and as communion wine, many Zinfandel vines were able to survive prohibition, leading to the abundance of "old vine" Zinfandels. These low-yielding vines tend to produce wine that is concentrated, complex, and elegant.

PBC9088649_2006 Item# 105106

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