2015 J. L. Chave Hermitage

Year: 2015
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 98-100
Vinous Media: 97
Jeb Dunnuck: 98-100
Red Wine

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"After tasting several intermediate blends that will ultimately be combined in some proportion to create the 2015 Hermitage, I would not be surprised to see the final result achieve perfection. Although massively ripe and concentrated, there is still a feeling of balance and elegance in the wines that I fully expect to carry over into the final product. As the blending process isn’t complete, Jean-Louis warned that it was too early to say if there would be a Cuvée Cathelin, which is typically an outstanding parcel that, for some reason, doesn’t work in the rest of the blend.

Several years ago, a visit to Chave was an education in the lieux-dits of Herrmitage. Today, the lessons include a look at numerous plots in Saint-Joseph as well. Jean-Louis has made the appellation where the winery is situated a pet project, and he wears his passion for it on his sleeve. It was interesting to taste through the 2015s and 2016s here, noting points of similarity and difference. Hermitage was hit by a freak hailstorm in April 2016, which had the effect of severely limiting yields in many of the parcels. The difference in concentration between 2015 and 2016 in Hermitage is correspondingly much less than in the other appellations. When I visited in early November 2017, Jean-Louis was just beginning to put together the blend for the 2015 Hermitage, which he admitted he’s only just started to warm up to. “It took until the end of élevage for the wines to express their place,” he said." (WA)

"Youthful purple color. Mineral-accented dark berries, star anise, cola, olive and pungent flowers on the explosively perfumed nose. Offers impressively concentrated, expansive flavors of black raspberry, spicecake, smoked meat and candied flowers that are complicated by licorice candy and dark chocolate notes that sneak in on the back half. Sweet, sappy and precise on the floral- and dark fruit-driven finish, which shows outstanding clarity and round, harmonious tannins that build smoothly and steadily." (VM)

"Not yet bottled, the 2015 Hermitage has perfection written all over it and reminds me of the 2010. Graphite, charcoal, liquid rock, and sensationally pure crème de cassis notes all soar from the glass of this full-bodied, concentrated, opulent 2015. This is a big, sexy beast of a Hermitage, yet it has the classic minerality, purity, and balance shown by just about every wine made from this estate. Forget bottles for 4-5 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following 4-5 decades." (JD)