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Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2006

Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
  • RP96
  • WS95
0% ABV
  • JS97
  • WS96
  • RP96
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 96
Robert Parker's 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 , Hermitage, Rhone, France
2006 Hermitage
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.

Hermitage

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One of the smallest and most important Syrah regions of northern Rhone, Hermitage is practically one single south-facing slope of crushed granite, thinly covered with varied, yet well-charted soil types. Many climats (well identified parcels) exist within Hermitage and while some smaller producers make single climat Syrahs, some larger ones blend to make one balanced expression of the appellation.

Though the AC regulations allow the addition of up to 15% white grapes to a red Hermitage, in practice it is usually made from Syrah alone. Winemaking is pretty traditional—or you might say historic—with hot fermentations and aging in older barrels of various sizes. The best wines, characterized by deep, dense and sexy flavors of black fruit, cocoa, licorice and tobacco, have massive textures and a solid 10-20 years aging potential.

The region of Hermitage is totally enclosed; the only place it could go really is to literally fall down its own hill into the city of Tain or the Rhone River. Soil erosion is a problem and terraces exist alongside the hill in order to keep the earth in place. Crozes-Hermitage encloses the region entirely to its north and south.

While Hermitage seems synonymous with some of the best Syrah on the planet, actually about one third of the wine produced here comes from white grapes. The full, lush and robust Marsanne or the less common, but almost more charming, Roussanne create wonderful whites in which the best have great potential for aging, like the reds.

Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.

In the Glass

At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.

PBC9088649_2006 Item# 105106

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