2014 J. L. Chave Hermitage

Year: 2014
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 96
Wine Advocate: 94-96
Vinous Media: 95-97
Red Wine
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"This starts strong, with warm ganache, steeped fig and crushed blackberry flavors, then gains steam, picking up smoldering charcoal, bay leaf and juniper accents as this drives and expands through the finish. Offers a long echo of graphite, with the fruit keeping pace. Very impressive for the vintage. Best from 2020 through 2040. From France. -J.M" (WS)

"Looking at the 2014 reds, the 2014 Hermitage is resting as a final blend and is scheduled to be bottled early next year. It has a serious floral character as well as the classic minerality imparted from the Bessards lieu-dit (which makes up the bulk of the cuvée), gorgeous depth of fruit, medium to full-bodied richness and fine, polished tannin. Like most 2014s, it will be approachable at an early age, but this beauty has class and will evolve gracefully.

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." (WA)

"Tasted in components: #1, from Peleat: Vibrant red and dark berry character, along with intense floral and mineral nuances and silky texture. #2, from Beaume: Heady, smoke- and spice- accented dark berry and floral pastille qualities, plus a round, supple texture and repeating floral character on the back half. #3, from l'Ermite: More structured and powerful, showing intense dark fruit character and notes of olive and licorice that build with air. #4, from Le Méal: Exotic spices and candied flowers on the nose, along with bright red and dark berry qualities. Sappy and focused, displaying excellent depth and no excess weight. #5, from Bessards: Gorgeous, expressive floral pastille, incense and ripe dark berry scents and flavors. Weighty yet lithe, showing excellent focus and building sweetness. The final blend should be a beauty, combining dense, sweet red and dark berry fruit character and the freshness to buffer it." (VM)