2009 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Rouge Cuvee L'Ermite

Year: 2009
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Spectator: 98
Wine Advocate: 98+
Vinous Media: 94
White Wine
Price :
$350.00
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"This has a taut feel still, with an almost searing iron edge, but there’s plenty of flesh in reserve, with plum compote, cherry pâte de fruit and anise notes that slowly fill in on the lengthy finish. Offers lots of grip too as this slowly unwinds with air, letting its iron edge stretch out even more. There’s terrific spine and cut, with very impressive length. Best from 2016 through 2036. 40 cases imported." (WS)

"Conservatively, the 2009 Ermitage l’Ermite (702 cases) needs 25-30 years of cellaring. Another monumental effort from Michel Chapoutier, it possesses copious notes of smoky asphalt, black truffles, pen ink, graphite and blackberry liqueur intermixed with hints of flowers and crushed rocks. Extremely full-bodied with abundant sweet tannins, amazing penetration on the palate and a long finish, this historic effort should age effortlessly for 50-100+ years.

As I have written many times, all of these wines are produced from rigidly cultivated, bio-dynamically managed vineyards. That has been the rule since Michel Chapoutier first took over this firm in the late 1980s. Now, with over 20 years of biodynamic viticulture under his belt, Chapoutier remains committed to this rather radical style of organic farming. He believes the effect is to reduce rot in damp, rainy vintages. Moreover, he has observed that after 10 to 15 years of biodynamic farming, the natural acids tend to be more vivid and the overall pH of the soils (as well as the wines) has dropped. Controversial, outspoken and brutally candid, Chapoutier, who suffers no fools, continues to admirably produce wines that are among the finest in the world and potentially the longest lived. Refusing to acidify, chaptalize, or touch the wines in any way, he clearly wants every wine to capture the very essence of its terroir and vintage personality. In this, he succeeds remarkably. No one has made more effort in resurrecting the once-forgotten backwater appellation of St.-Peray than Michel Chapoutier. Working in conjunction with the famed Michelin three-star restaurant family, the Pics, Chapoutier has produced a sensational 2010 Gamme Pic and Chapoutier St.-Peray, and the first single-vineyard St.-Peray, the 2010 Lieu-Dit Peyrolles St.-Peray, which is one of the greatest St.-Perays I have ever tasted. This appellation is all steep hillside vineyards planted in pure, decomposed granite soils, not dissimilar from Hermitage, but they are located on the other side of the Rhone, facing the city of Valence. The single-vineyard wines, or selections parcellaires, 2010 whites are absolutely amazing, with production levels ranging from 300 to 700 or 800 cases of each cuvee. These wines are for true connoisseurs, as they are expensive and meant for long, long evolutions, but they capture the essence of a vintage and terroir as well as any wines in the world. As for the selections parcellaires of 2010 reds, Chapoutier likes this vintage almost as much as 2009, but feels it is very different, emphasizing more acidity and minerality, whereas 2009 is a combination of pure power, concentration and great potential longevity. Michel Chapoutier considers the 2009s, which are all in bottle, to be among the greatest wines he has ever produced, equaling his finest wines of 2006, 2003, 1999, 1990 and 1989 (his debut year)." (WA)

"Bright purple. Explosive aromas of candied red fruits, potpourri and incense, with a medicinal nuance adding complexity. Stains the palate with intense raspberry and bitter cherry flavors lifted by smoky mineraity. Becomes spicier and deeper with air and finishes with superb clarity and lingering florality. By all means allow this to rest for at least another five years." (IWC)

Winery Notes
Ermitage L'Ermite is the most individual statement in the Hermitage appellation, and the most prized for followers of M. Chapoutier's grandest of crus. L'Ermite Rouge, a very rare wine (approximately 375 cases annually) produced from a 9.5 acre site at the top of Hermitage hill, is an intense Syrah with massive tannins. The vineyard's elevated position, over 200 meters, allows long ripening at the end of the growing season, and its loess soils provide excellent drainage for rainwater. The age of the vines averages over 80 years, and the vines are pruned to very low yield levels.