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Jean-Louis Chave Selection Crozes-Hermitage Silene 2014

  • WS90
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The vineyards for Silène are hillside vineyards located in Larnage and Gervans. It is rare for Crozes to come from hillside granitic soil, as most of Crozes is situated on the alluvial valley floor. The granite soil produces a wine with more backbone and structure. The idea behind this Crozes is to balance the fruit of Syrah without compromising the tightness given by the granite. 50% of the Crozes comes from a parcel of young vines planted in 2003 and owned by Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. The parcel sits on a beautiful terroir on the rear east-facing flank of the Hermitage hill. The blend continues to evolve as Lean-Louis buys more land in Crozes.

Ripe fruit balanced out by backbone and structure, this Syrah shows plum, black pepper, pencil lead and warming spices.

Pair with heartier foods such as cassoulet and braised beef short ribs.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
A sleek, sanguine-edged version, with pretty lilac and violet notes guiding the core of tangy red currant and damson plum fruit along. Flecks of white pepper show throughout. Drink now through 2020.
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Jean-Louis Chave

Jean-Louis Chave

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Jean-Louis Chave , France
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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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Crozes-Hermitage

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Crozes-Hermitage is Northern Rhone’s largest appellation, surrounding the steep granite faces of Hermitage to its north and south. Here the rolling vineyards are less extreme and its soils, rich in clay-limestone and alluvial matter, produce Syrahs that range from fruity and charming to lush and seductive. The Syrahs of Crozes-Hermitage have more mass than those from St. Joseph but are less intense than those from Hermitage. While many are intended for early consumption, some of the best Syrahs from Crozes-Hermitage will age beautifully for 5-10 years.

Up to 15% of white grapes may theoretically be added to red Crozes at the time of fermentation but whether this is done or not depends on the decision of the winemaker. The best Crozes-Hermitage Syrahs will be fleshy with black fruit (currant, blackberry and black cherry) and bay leaf qualities, notes of tar and stone, and a well-concentrated finish of smooth tannins.

About a tenth of the wine produced in Crozes-Hermitage is white, primarily composed of Marsanne supplemented by smaller amounts of Roussanne.

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Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

FRMJLCSILENE_2014 Item# 166017