2015 J. L. Chave Hermitage Blanc

Year: 2015
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 95-97
Vinous Media: 97-99
Jeb Dunnuck: 100
White Wine

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"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. Starting with the latest vintage and tasted from multiple barrels, the 2015 Hermitage Blanc will be a sensational wine. This rich, unctuous beauty has terrific purity and depth, with the classic concentration, extract and fat that’s the hallmark of the estate’s Hermitage Blanc. White currants, buttered citrus, toasted bread and hints of flower oil are just some of the nuances here and this beauty will deliver the goods.

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. Number 1, from Peleat: High-pitched citrus fruit and floral qualities hearken to Chablis. Becomes more floral with air and shows superb definition. Number 2, from Rocoules: Deeper and more round but not lacking for energy. Offers juicy pear, peach and honey flavors backed up by a core of zesty minerality. Number 3, from Ermite: Sappy, densely packed orchard fruit flavors display a smoky mineral note that gains strength on the back half. The resulting wine looks to be a monument of its vintage and appellation, showing a remarkable interplay of depth, power and energy that I only occasionally encounter with the very best white Burgundies. I've little doubt that it will outlive many people reading this, assuming that they're of legal drinking age." (VM)

"Matching the otherworldly 2009, the 2015 Hermitage Blanc is a perfect wine and certainly one of the greatest whites ever made from this hallowed estate. The normal blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from the l’Ermite, Péleat, and les Rocoules lieux-dits, it exhibits a huge, opulent bouquet of buttered citrus, flower oil, orange marmalade, quince, and honeysuckle that’s to die for. This majestic, full-bodied Hermitage Blanc has a huge mid-palate, thrilling purity of fruit, and a finish that won’t quit. It’s capable of lasting for 4-5 decades, but still has the sexiness of the vintage front and center and will be enjoyable early in its life." (JD)