2020 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, Rhone, France (750ml)
Generally 100% destemmed, as the Hermitage is meant to be about the expression of the individual vineyards and soils and Jean-Louis believes that stems have a tendency to level out the differences. Fermentation in wood tonneaux and stainless steel tanks. Aged in barriques for 30 months.
Tasted out of tank, the 2020 Hermitage ranks with the legendary wines from this address. Reminding me of a slightly more elegant version of the 2010, it's a deep, inky hued effort revealing utterly classic Hermitage aromatics of darker cassis and blue fruits as well as a liquid rock-like sense of minerality. Young and primordial, it still has incredible purity and freshness in its aromatics. Full-bodied and powerful on the palate, this gorgeous wine is going to shine with just 4-6 years of bottle age yet age with the best of them. I would not be surprised to see this beauty have 40, 50, or even 60 years of life.
- Jeb Dunnuck, 100 pts.
Tasted in components, before the final blending and rest before bottling, this wine is shaping up to be monumental, and it's from a domaine that has made far more than a few remarkable wines. There's intense dark fruit, suave floral and exotic spice character and a deep, energizing core of minerality, plus hints of olive, botanical herbs, licorice and smoked meat. But ultimately, it mainly focuses on powerful, vibrant fruit and floral qualities, making it a particularly elegant rendition of the appellation. I can't wait to see the bottled result.
- Vinous, 99 pts.
Readers will note that the score range I've provided for Chave's 2020 Hermitage is much broader than typical. That's because my ratings for the numerous barrel samples tasted varied considerably, with one lot scoring as low as (91 - 93), while others were near-perfect (98 - 100). I should be able to provide a more precise picture following my next visit, but it was clear to me that—even more than usual—much will depend on Jean-Louis's skills at selection and blending. From the soft, elegant and red-fruited Péléat to the commanding, dark-fruited and mineral-laden Bessards—and the silky, finesseful and raspberry-laden Le Méal in between—there's no doubt a fine expression of Hermitage will eventually emerge from Chave's cellars.
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 98 pts.
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