Reviews & Scores
A potential candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2019 Hermitage is a massive, full-bodied, yet mineral-laced and undeniably classic wine from this estate. All of the components showed incredibly well, with the Le Méal offering classic sexiness, the Hermite being straight and focused, and the Bessards just as good as any Syrah out there. It shows the ripeness of the vintage, yet the purity of fruit is incredible. It’s another magical wine in an incredible series of awesome Hermitage from this family.
As usual, the 2019 Hermitage remained largely as separate components at the time of my visit. Some pre-blending had occurred, so I tasted a combination of Beaumes and Péléat, as well as components from L'Ermite, Méal and Bessards. Uniformly full-bodied, concentrated and long, with rich, velvety tannins, dark-fruit flavors (cassis, blueberries, boysenberries) and hints of crushed stone and licorice, comparisons with 2003 aren't unreasonable.
A tasting of barrel samples of different lieux-dits: Péléat, Beaumes, Ermite, Le Méal, Bessards. Long, slow fermentations due to the high potential alcohols this year, some barrels reaching over 15% - at the limit of what the indigenous yeasts can handle. Even the Bessards component, which is usually so strict and skeletal, is full of fruit this year. The last exceptionally hot year was 2003, which produced a wine that was highly atypical, with notably jammy fruit. That's not the case in 2019 - the fruit is fresh and lively. It's hard to make a judgement at this stage; the alcohol is high, and may always feel warming. Either way, it will provide great pleasure and impact, despite its extreme style.
Tasted in components, as usual. #1, from Peleat: spice-accented cherry and blackberry, with a vibrant mineral note in the background. Taut and sharply focused, showing strong tension to the bitter cherry and red berry flavors. The mineral note comes back strong on the back. #2, from Les Beaume: deep-pitched cherry and cassis qualities, plus a spicy nuance and a touch of dark chocolate. Rich but lively on the palate, offering densely packed bitter cherry and black currant preserve flavors and a touch of licorice. #3, from Ermite: extremely suave and expansive aromas of ripe red and blue fruits and exotic spices, along with a sexy floral touch. Deep yet energetic, showing excellent clarity and floral back-end thrust. #4, from Meal: distinctly powerful, displaying an array of black and blue fruit qualities and hints of olive, licorice and exotic spices. Seriously deep and sharply focused, showing bitter cherry, blackberry and fruitcake flavors underscored by a smoky mineral quality. For all its power, there's real life here as well. #5, from Bessards: intense, mineral-driven cherry and dark berry character, with exotic floral and spice topnotes. Pure and incisive, showing impressive depth as well as fine definition and seamless texture. It’s still early days for this wine, but the ingredients are seriously formidable, with an emphasis on richness but no lack of energy either. This is shaping up to be a stunner.
"Intense, mineral-driven cherry and dark berry character, with exotic floral and spice topnotes. Pure and incisive, showing impressive depth as well as fine definition and seamless texture. It's still early days for this wine, but the ingredients are seriously formidable, with an emphasis on richness but no lack of energy either."