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M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Meal 2011

Syrah/Shiraz from Hermitage, Rhone, France
  • RP98
  • WS95
  • ST93
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Winemaker Notes

Le Méal, a broader swath of the hill at a slightly higher elevation (150-200 meters) faces slightly more to the east. It is composed of chalk and alluvial gravelly soil rather than granite, and produces a wine of greater perfume, whether red (Syrah) or white (Marsanne). Le Méal owes its official "lieu dit," in English "place name" to the old French word meaning "the best."

Deep red garnet with violet highlights during its youth. Ripe fruits and smoky aromas. Powerful tannins, velvety, blackberry jam.

Critical Acclaim

RP 98
The Wine Advocate

One of the wines of the vintage, the spectacular 2011 Ermitage Le Meal is borderline perfection. Loaded with dark fruits, charcoal, roasted herbs, liquid violet and crushed rock-like minerality, it flows onto the palate with full-bodied richness, layers of texture and superb concentration. Offering uncommon richness and texture in the vintage, it should have two decades of longevity (and be drinkable for most of it).

WS 95
Wine Spectator

Mulled plum, loganberry and blackberry fruit is melded together in this red, studded with anise, briar and singed mesquite notes. A light tarry backdrop frames the long finish.

ST 93
International Wine Cellar

Vivid purple. Sexy, high-pitched red fruit aromas are complicated by notes of Szechuan peppercorn, potpourri and smoky minerals. Powerful but elegant as well, offering palate-staining black raspberry, cola and violet pastille flavors and a strong mineral underpinning. Finishes with superb clarity, spiciness and length, leaving a smoky mineral note behind. Here the liveliness of the vintage is enhanced by surprising depth and power, which suggests that the wine will be a good cellar candidate.

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M. Chapoutier

M. Chapoutier

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M. Chapoutier, , France - Rhone
M. Chapoutier
No name is more closely associated with the greatness of the Rhone valley than M. Chapoutier.

The history of the Chapoutier family stretches back to the early nineteenth century when current owner Michel Chapoutier’s great-, great-, great-grandfather Marius purchased an estate and some vineyards in the now famous village of Tain l’Hermitage in the Northern Rhône Valley. Marius Chapoutier made history in the region when he became the first grape grower there to vinify his own fruit. Marius had tasted wines other winemakers produced using his fruit and he realized that something was lost in translation, so to speak. He knew that he owned some of the best growing sites in the appellation and he believed — rightly — that the grapes grown in his vineyards could produce long-lived world-class wines. In a move unusual at the time, he decided that he should make the wine himself. Not only did the quality of the wines increase greatly, but this move provided the capital to expand the Chapoutiers’ already legendary estate.

A visionary and pioneer in biodynamic winemaking, his restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality have produced tremendous success, with the most 90+ point ratings of all Rhône producers and 16 "100 point" rated wines.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production...

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

Other White Blends

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With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from...

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With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS343083_2011 Item# 132740

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