Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2017
The 2017 vintage is redolent with white flowers and honeysuckle. Increased acidity for the vintage results in a taut structure and incredible length. Notes of orange blossom and lemon curd.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Aromas of graphite, tar, dark chocolate and black cherries abound, as well as ripe dark plums. This is a very convincing and complex edition of this wine. The palate is so concentrated and has a super deep, plush and fleshy stream of fresh plums and blackberries, as well as a swathe of fine tannins. Profoundly rich and velvety with a strong backbone. This will age for more than two decades after release.
Cut from the same cloth, the 2017 Hermitage Blanc is stunning stuff, and Chave lovers should unquestionably have bottles of this in the cellar. Bottled in August of this year, its medium gold hue is followed by a mammoth bouquet of quince, flower oil, buttered almonds, and brioche. Every bit as good on the palate, it’s full-bodied, has a stacked mid-palate, flawless balance, and incredible minerality as well as length on the finish. It’s insanely good today, and while this cuvée can shut down, I wonder if this ever will. My money is on this drinking fabulously well for 25+ years. Life is too short not to drink as much Chave Hermitage Blanc as possible!
In the end, I'm unable to definitely say that the 2017 Hermitage Blanc is better than the stupendous 2016. Of course, I sampled it just three days after it was bottled, so I've appended the + to my rating, as there's a possibility the wine may have been affected by that process. It's gently toasty but dominated at this stage by forward melon and pineapple fruit. Full-bodied and incredibly rich yet balanced, it unfolds in waves of flavor and texture, lingering for what seems like minutes on the finish. Hit it soon to enjoy its youthful opulence, or put it aside for 10-12 years.
Jean-Louis' 2017 white Hermitage is a rich, almost buttered style with considerable fat and an opulent texture, but remains fresh. A tasting of four component parts - Péléat, Rocoules clay, Rocoules limestone and L'Ermite - shows an unusually rich and lush style. The Ermite component does however have a straight, lean, rising floral style to counterbalance the riper, rounder Péléat. Luxurious and cosy rather than focussed and dynamic.
Bright and very inviting, with a mix of pineapple, quince, mango and white peach flavors giving this a slightly exotic feel, while racy honeysuckle and orange blossom notes harness the finish, which is long and seductive in feel. A gorgeous display of range and vitality. This should cruise for two decades. Best from 2023 through 2040.
Going back to 1481, when the first Jean-Louis Chave was gifted a vineyard in St Joseph by the nobleman Farconnet, 25 generations have farmed some of the best parcels in the Northern Rhône. Though now known as perhaps the best producer of Hermitage (and certainly among the best blenders in the world), the family only expanded to this famous hill during the mid-1800s wave of phylloxera that decimated Europe's vineyards.
In the 1970s, when Gerard Chave took over from his father, the domaine rapidly achieved megastar status due to the extraordinary quality of his wines. Gerard's son Jean-Louis (25th of his name) now oversees the estate and has shown an ever expanding dedication to improving the already stunning quality of these rare wines. Jean-Louis Chave regularly dedicates the domaine to intense and exacting projects, the benefits of which will be seen by future generations. Indeed, the estate employs three full time stonemasons just to repair the traditional stone walls dotting the vineyards.
Since the 1990s, Jean-Louis Chave has offered a second label known as 'J.L. Chave Sélection' that provides a glimpse of the reason for the estate's fame at a fraction of the price. Many of these wines are from declassified estate wine and long term farming contracts, and are vinified in the domaine's primary cellar in Mauves.