Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2016
Jeb Dunnick 100 - There's not much of the 2016 Hermitage Blanc to go around due to hail in the springtime, yet the resulting wine is another magical effort from this domaine. Bottled in August, it opens up with a fabulous blast of quince, white flowers, buttered citrus, licorice, and exotic spices. These all carry over to the palate, where the wine is full-bodied, rounded, and incredibly sexy, with a layered, mouthfilling texture. It doesn't have the sheer weight of the 2009 and 2010, but is deep, opulent, with plenty of fat and glycerin, and straight-up awesome purity of fruit. If you're lucky enough to have more than one bottle, it's an incredible drink today and should continue to shine for another 2-3 years. After that, I'd hold off for a good 6-7 years or more.
Wine Advocate 98 - Bottled in August, Chave's 2016 Hermitage Blanc is a tremendous wine. It's a bit closed on the nose (bottle shock?), but it wows on the palate, rocking it with seismic waves of super ripe pineapple and melon fruit and more than a small dose of what I can only describe as magma-like essence of stone. It's full-bodied and mouthfilling in its richness, yet it never seems heavy or overdone. Remember that yields were constrained by hail, so don't delay in procuring whatever your budget will allow.
Vinous 97-99 - Rocoules: vibrant and sharply focused, showing intense pear, tangerine and floral character with a potent mineral overtone. Taut and linear but puts on weight with air. Sweeter on the back end, which leaves suave peach and pear nectar notes behind. #2) Peleat: fresh melon and peach qualities underscored by spicy ginger and smoky mineral notes. Juicy and focused, creating a superb interplay of weight and nerviness. #3) L'Ermite: highly energetic and mineral-driven, showing deeply concentrated citrus and pit fruit qualities and a sexy floral accent. Becomes spicier on the back half and shows outstanding delineation and floral lift. At this stage I'd call this wine the equal of the unreal 2015 and I wouldn't be surprised if I preferred the final wine, assuming it maintains its uncanny blend of depth and minerally cut.
Decanter 96 - A tasting of component lieu-dits of L’Ermite, Les Roucoules and Péléat, revealing a potentially superb wine despite the tiny yields this year. The Ermite component is a little fatter than in most years, with good acidity and minerality. Roucoules too has a fleshy character this year, and Péléat supplies ample perfumed freshness. Around 20% new oak. Drinking Window 2020 - 2034