"Chave continues to make a full-throttle, concentrated and unctuous Hermitage Blanc, and refuses to buy into the ridiculous trend toward making Sauvignon Blanc-like whites from this tiny, magical terroir. God bless him for that and there are few whites I’d rather drink than a mature Hermitage Blanc from this genius winemaker. Jean-Louis called 2014 a good year for the whites, and his 2014 Hermitage Blanc had just been bottled a month prior to my tasting. It has terrific minerality as well as classic stone fruits, buttered citrus, honeysuckle and crushed rock, full-bodied richness and an elegant, fresh, pure style. It will have two decades of longevity.
One of my favorite visits during my trip through the Northern Rhône is with Jean-Louis Chave and Family. This iconic estate continues to produce reference point wines from Hermitage and more and more St Joseph, where Jean-Louis has spent an incredible amount of time and effort over the past decade or more. Looking at the vintages reviewed here, the 2015s were all tasted from barrel and are spectacular wines. Both Gérard and Jean-Louis compared this vintage to a mix of 2009 and 2010, and when I asked if there were any similarities to 1990, both commented that the tannins in 2015 were more ripe and supple. I suspect that the 2015 will slot in among 1990, 2003, 2009 and 2010 as one of the greatest wines from the estate, and readers owe it to themselves to have at least a few bottles in the cellar. As to the St Josephs, the quality continues to soar, and the big question will be if they decide to release single vineyard cuvées. I sincerely hope they do, as these two vineyards (Beshesson, located north of St-Jean-de-Muzols and Le Clos, located just south of Mauves) are singular beauties that I’d love readers to taste.
"Tasted in components: #1, from Peleat: Vibrant and minerally, displaying superb clarity and lift. Tastes like a very serious Grand Cru white Burgundy, with vibrant citrus and orchard fruit character and a suave blend of power and finesse. #2, from Rocoules: More pit fruit and deeper and smokier in style, with emerging hints of sweet butter and iodine. #3, a blend of Rocoules and l'Ermite: Taut, focused and pure, offering densely packed orange and pear flavors and a sexy floral nuance. Rich yet nervy was well, displaying excellent closing thrust. The ultimate wine should be a great cellar candidate, possessing the richness of fruit to give some early appeal but the depth, structure and balance to age effortlessly," (VM)