Reviews & Scores
A tasting of barrel samples of different lieux-dits: Les Rocoules, Péléat and Ermite paint a picture of an exceptionally rich and opulent white Hermitage, with great textural generosity and fat, relatively low acidity and fairly high alcohol. The main problem was the speed with which the grapes were taking on sugar at the end of the season, so all the whites were picked in just two days (normally it takes five days), including a Sunday - only the second time they have done this, the previous time due to rot. An atypically large-framed vintage, that will provide plenty of succulent, rich pleasure over the years.
Another incredible white from this family is the 2019 Hermitage Blanc, a powerful, concentrated, and remarkably pure Hermitage that has laser-like focus as well as textbook Marsanne notes of quince, green almond, powdered rock, licorice, and spice. It’s still tight, focused, and inward at present, yet it reminds me of the 2018 with its purity and rare mix of power and elegance. It’s worth trying a bottle any time over the coming 3-5 years, but after that, I’d recommend waiting until after 2031.
Tasted in components. #1) Peleat: Emphatically floral, with powerful pear, Meyer lemon qualities, building iodine, fennel and mineral notes. #2) Rocoules Haute: Pungent citrus fruits, pear skin and jasmine on the nose. Weighty yet lithe as well, showing serious intensity to its sappy orchard and citrus fruit flavors. #3) Rocoules mid-slope: Spicy and incisive, showing sharp definition to its fresh yellow plum and orange flavors. Mineral notes build with air and add fine delineation and back-end cut. #4) Roucules Bas: Richer still, displaying an array of ripe orchard and pit fruit qualities and building floral and mineral notes. A hint of tangerine emerges with air and adds energy to lingering peach nectar and pear liqueur notes.
Chave's 2019 Hermitage Blanc delivers just the merest hint of toasted grain on the nose, accenting green peaches and waves of honeyed richness. It's full-bodied and concentrated but not overdone, with tremendous length and a hint of bitterness on the finish that left me wondering if this wine will need 20 years to show its best, or if it was still suffering a bit from being bottled in July 2021.