Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2016  Front Label
Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2016  Front LabelJean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2016  Front Bottle Shot

Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage 2016

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Winemaker Notes

Generally 100% destemmed, as the Hermitage is meant to be about the expression of the individual vineyards and soils and Jean-Louis believes that stems have a tendency to level out the differences. Fermentation in wood tonneaux and stainless steel tanks. Aged in barriques for 30 months.

Critical Acclaim

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D 100
Decanter
A good vintage - the problem was the yields,' says Jean-Louis. A tasting of principal component lieux-dits Péléat, La Beaume, Les Bessards, L’Ermite and Le Méal show that quality is high. It doesn't have the same ripe generosity as 2015, but there is still real concentration in the fruit. If anything, it is more elegant, but with a tight tannic structure that points to a Hermitage for long ageing. It may not be as immediately flattering as the sumptuous 2015, but I suspect it will eventually prove more rewarding. This promises to be a truly great Hermitage. 10% new oak.
JD 99
Jeb Dunnuck
I was able to taste the 2016 Hermitage from three separate tanks which are blended prior to bottling. All three samples showed brilliant purity of fruit, full body, a forward, seamless, elegant texture, and classic building minerality. This is haute couture at its finest and is pure class that could come from nowhere else. As with most 2016s, it's going to be relatively accessible in its youth, yet this is one Hermitage that's not going to hit maturity for another 8-10 years and will keep for three decades.
Barrel Sample: 96-99
JS 98
James Suckling

Very floral and just settling in with fresh red cherries and blackberries that have real freshness and definition. Great energy here. Very upright and elegantly focused. Dark chocolate and licorice to close. You feel the granite profoundly here. Try around 2028.

RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Still mostly in separate components, the 2016 Hermitage nevertheless looks sensational. Les Beaumes was very pretty and red fruited, with silky tannins (94 - 96). Le Méal was putting itself forward as plush and velvety, with flowers, crushed stone and ripe fruit (95 - 97). A combined sample of les Bessards and l'Hermite showed great, granite-derived structure allied to licorice and cassis Range: 96-98
WS 97
Wine Spectator
Youthfully tight, this features a cloak of tarry-edged tannins draped over a core of well-steeped red and black currant and blackberry fruit. Long and driven, with notes of humus, black tea, singed alder and tobacco leaf streaming alongside the fruit from start to finish, this ends with a hint of smoldering cast iron. Best from 2024 through 2040.
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Jean-Louis Chave

Jean-Louis Chave

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Jean-Louis Chave , France
Jean-Louis Chave  Winery Image
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.

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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.

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Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Blends of Southern Rhône, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”

PRG000986_16_2016 Item# 526777

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