Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge 2017
Wine Advocate 99 - Jean-Louis Chave had done some preblending of the 2017 Hermitage at the time of my visit, meaning several parcels had already been combined with others, so there were fewer components to taste. A sample that included some L'Ermite, Les Beaumes and Péléat was fragrant, loaded with peppery spice and came across as slightly open-knit (93 - 95). A second component, mostly Le Méal, was richer and riper-tasting, with lush fruit and hints of roasted meat (97 - 99). Finally, a sample Jean-Louis described as "more the core of the blend" (mainly Les Bessards) was simultaneously firm and generous, with notes of crushed stone, cassis and licorice (98 - 100).
Barrel Sample: 96-99
James Suckling 98 - 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.
Jeb Dunnuck 98 - Just an incredible Hermitage in every sense, the 2017 Hermitage reminds me of the 2016 yet on steroids (or maybe a more finesse-driven example of the 2015?). Revealing a deep, saturated purple color as well as a stunning nose of red and black currants, kirsch, Asian spices, cured meats, ground pepper, and Acacia flowers, it shows more classic Chave minerality with time in the glass, and if this doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. These all carry to a full-bodied, powerful, yet seamless wine that has the sunny, extroverted style of the vintage yet still packs incredible mid-palate depth, ripe, polished tannins, no hard edges, and one hell of an incredible finish. It's going to be relatively accessible by this cuvée’s standards and offer considerable pleasure in its youth, yet also have 30-40 years of longevity.
Decanter 98 - A fairly straightforward vintage for Jean-Louis. 'Everything was nice', he says about the growing season, which was very warm during the summer but with enough rain at the right times. A barrel tasting of the main constituents shows a powerful, lush but stately Beaumes; a fine, red-fruited and finessed Péléat; an extraordinary Ermite of serious acidity and svelte tannins; an opulent, solar Méal; and a straight, peppery Bessards. The overall impression is a lush, rich, almost jovial style of Hermitage, one with a good inner spine but generous, velvety, rich black fruit. Drinking Window 2027 - 2044
Wine Spectator 97 - This delivers a long, flowing feel, letting cassis, plum reduction and blackberry compote flavors unfurl slowly while black tea, singed alder, tar, warm loam and dried anise notes play out in the background. Shows grace, power and wonderful length, with the finish, built on tannins at first glance, revealing buried acidity and latent mineral notes. Best from 2023 through 2040.
Current stock: 2