Reviews & Scores
Captivating from the start, with gorgeous ganache and Lapsang souchong aromas that give way to an immense core of crushed plum, braised fig and steeped blackberry notes, all woven with pastis, loam and charcoal. Shows terrific density and drive through the long, well-structured finish. This has the fruit of the vintage in spades, but with an extra dimension of grip and length. *Collectibles*
Tasted in four components that were to be blended at the end of November, 2011: #1: Deep cherry and dark berries on the nose and palate, with slow-mounting spiciness and serious finishing cling and power. #2: Wilder and more pungent, offering intense floral-accented red and dark berry qualities and notes of olive and candied licorice. This is mostly Meal, according to Chave. #3: Deep, smoky and aromatic, displaying an array of dark berry and spice qualities and a strong potpourri note. Juicy and focused on the finish, with the dark fruit note repeating. #4: Stunning aromas of violet, rose, black raspberry and cola, with a blast of Asian spices on the back. Juicy, mineral-driven and pure, with excellent finishing clarity and lingering sweetness. This should be a stunner.
The greatest wines Chave has produced since 2003 are the two cuvées of 2009 Hermitage. The 2009 Hermitage exhibits a black/purple color along with a sumptuous nose of roasted meats, ground pepper, black currants, blackberry jam, and subtle smoke and licorice. The extraordinary bouquet is followed by a wine of extravagant intensity as well as tremendous focus and precision. While not as powerful as the blockbuster 2003, the amazing 2009 may turn out to be a modern day version of their magnificent 1990 (which is drinking incredibly well at present). Anyone who loves Hermitage and has a cold cellar should be lining up to get a few bottles of this beauty.
The Hermitage blend is made up of five vineyards, all tasted separately at this stage. Peléat: Sandy soils and the most elegant vineyard. Almost bloody nose. Certainly not austere at all, round and supple! Fresh and polished. Racy and so easy that it’s almost possible to overlook the firm tannins underneath. Soyeux, seductive and relatively open. Beaume: Elegant and usually more tannins than Peléat. Racy nose with real rigour. Not sweet at all. Very cool on the end. Underneath some very polished tannins, not showy at all. Discreet. Le Méal: Calcaire. Lifted nose. Solid and again cool and not showy at all, though there is a lot of very solid tannin underneath. L’Hermite: Meaty and now we come to something a bit more recognisably Hermitage. Big and resonant with a hint of liquorice. Tannins very polished though. Long and builds on the finish. Les Bessards 1: First third of the slope at the bottom where there is granite and a lttle clay. Very firm and savoury (ink, says Jean-Louis). Sinewy and those supple tannins again. Just a bit chewy on the end and maybe less flesh than some but great stuff. Bravo! Neat finish. Les Bessards 2: All granitic, the heart of our Hermitage. Very solid yet lifted, with lovely leathery but sweet tannins and real elegance. Quite different from some Hermitage stereotypes. Very vital, and lively, not at all hot or drying. It doesn't taste like an especially hot or dry year.