Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Tasting at Wine Watch

Friday, January 25, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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Okay we poppin champagne like we won a championship game - Popping Bottles by Lil Wayne and Birdman 

 

Were gonna be popping lots of champagne bottles this year and as many other great bottles as we can like the 1995 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge Cuvee Cathelin which at age 49.9 has never passed my lips.  So as soon as I received this wine I immediately put this event on the calendar of events as I don’t want to leave this earth without experiencing the other worldly wines of the Northern Rhone.

 

I will never forget the vintage white Rhone tasting that we did years ago featuring the white wines of Jean Louis Chave.  These are some of the greatest old white wines that I had ever tasted from anywhere. The 1983 and 1982 Hermitage whites from Chave were the best wines on the table and to think they were almost 30 years old at that time.  The wines of the Northern Rhone have been coveted by collectors and connoisseurs of fine wine as far back as our early days of our country as Thomas Jefferson, a noted wine expert of his day, raved about the wine from this region.

 

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The granite hills of Hermitage rise above the Rhone at Tain l'Hermitage where the river bends sharply to the east before resuming a southward flow. This gives the vineyards a direct southern exposure. Vines have been grown here since Roman times, and Pliney wrote favorably about the wines of the region. The locals claim that vines were first planted here by Phocaean Greeks around 500 BC. Although the evidence is not conclusive, Greek coins and amphorae dating back to 500 BC have been found in the area.

Some experts feel that the greatest maker of Hermitage is the firm of Jean-Louis Chave. The Chave family has been growing grapes at Hermitage since 1481. They have a reputation for making good wine in poor years, and excellent wine in good ones. They use low yielding vines (average age 60 years) and a late harvest to produce the ripest fruit, and there is virtually no intervention in the winemaking and bottling with no filtration.

There are a dozen or so named vineyards in Hermitage, and Chave owns vines in most of them. They vinify each separately, which allows them to blend for greater complexity before bottling.  Join us as we experience the rarest wine that Jean Louis Chave makes the Cuvee Cathelin along with several other great vintage of Hermitage and a 20+ year old white Hermitage. 

There are only 14 spaces available for this tasting and the fee for this event which includes dinner is $595 + tax for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

 

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Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Tasting at Wine Watch
Friday January 25th
7:30pm

 

1998 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc
Price: $185.00 Sale $162.80

(95 points) (Highly Recommended) Deep and intense, it powers its way through the palate, delivering bursts of fruit and earth. Silky and full-bodied, with distinctive personality, this ripe, thick and well-made white has earthy, smoky, bread dough and beeswax complexity. (8/2002) Wine Spectator

 

1971 Chave Pere et Fils Hermitage
The oldest bottle of Chave on the table but this is not Jean Louis Chave, the bottle just says Chave Pere et Fils?

 

1988 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage MAGNUM
Price: $1400.00           Sale $1232.00

(93 Points) Even more closed than the 1989 and 1990, this opaque, dark ruby/purple-colored wine reveals a tightly knit nose of cassis, minerals, and tar. Full-bodied, with superb concentration, the 1988 Chave Hermitage exhibits more astringent, tougher tannin than either the 1989 or 1990. While it appears more structured, it has nowhere near the weight and dazzling opulence of its two younger siblings. Nevertheless, this is a superb Hermitage. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2020. Last tasted 6/96. Rhone Book Jan 1997

 

1990 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage

(99 Points) The brilliant wine making of Gerard Chave, now assisted by his highly talented son, Jean-Louis, has turned out as successful 1992s and 1993s as any producer in the northern Rhone. The white Hermitage includes about 15% Roussanne, which is being fermented in new oak barrels to give the wine more definition and structure. This has always been one of the great white Hermitages made, and in top vintages it is capable of aging for 30+ years. It is a wine that takes on greater life and complexity when drunk with intensely flavored food...

 

1995 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge Cuvee Cathelin

“There are great wines, and then there are deeply emotional wines. Chave’s Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin often falls into the latter category.” Vinous - Antonio Galloni

I have never tasted this wine and after receiving a bottle in a collection we acquired it was put up for sale for $3000 on our web page.  The next day two people inquired about the wine and its providence.  After seeing the immediate demand for this wine at such a price I immediately pulled it off the site and set a date for this tasting.  I would rather drink a wine like this with friends than sell it!

 

2003 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge
Price: $675.00             Sale $594.00

(100 points) The 2003 Hermitage is as profound as they come. Inky in color, with incredible kirsch, blackberry liqueur, flowers, licorice and hints of underlying meatiness, it hits the palate with a full-bodied, massively concentrated profile that has nothing out of place, seamless integration of its fruit, alcohol and tannin, and an overriding elegant, perfectly balanced feel. Drink it anytime over the coming three decades. Jean Louis’ two 2003 Hermitages should be on everyone’s bucket list of wines to try at least once (preferably more) in their life. They both represent the essence of Hermitage and are as good as wine gets. (JD) (4/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 

2014 Domaine Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge
Price: $300.50    Your Price: $264.44             Quantity in Stock: 5

(95-97 points) Vibrant red and dark berry character, along with intense floral and mineral nuances and silky texture. #2, from Beaume: Heady, smoke- and spice- accented dark berry and floral pastille qualities, plus a round, supple texture and repeating floral character on the back half. #3, from l'Ermite: More structured and powerful, showing intense dark fruit character and notes of olive and licorice that build with air. #4, from Le Méal: Exotic spices and candied flowers on the nose, along with bright red and dark berry qualities. Sappy and focused, displaying excellent depth and no excess weight. #5, from Bessards: Gorgeous, expressive floral pastille, incense and ripe dark berry scents and flavors. Weighty yet lithe, showing excellent focus and building sweetness. The final blend should be a beauty, combining dense, sweet red and dark berry fruit character and the freshness to buffer it.  Vinous Media JR 032016

 

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2013 Yann Chave Hermitage (Ringer)
Price: $97.50   Sale $85.80

Located on the land of Beaume and Péléat, my Hermitage vines, dutifully and lovingly tended, are over 40 years old and are rooted in a soil of loess. South-West facing, the plots enjoy abundant sunshine throughout the vegetative cycle, thus providing grapes with the raw material I require to bottle the much sought-after DNA of this mythical Hermitage hillside.

 

Menu

Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie

Tomme Onion Soup with Poached Egg

Moroccan Wild Boar Stew

Apricot & Goat Cheese Tart

 

There are only 14 spaces for this event.  The fee for this tasting is $595 + tax per person and this includes dinner.  For reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

 

A bit about Domaine Jean Louis Chave:

 

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Wine growers in the northern Rhône since 1491, the Chave family (currently helmed by Gérard and son Jean-Louis) represents 16 generations of unbroken lineage committed to the production of some of the finest Syrah, Marsanne, and Roussanne on the planet. Jean Louis joined his father in 1992 after completing undergraduate studies at University of Connecticut and a degree in oenology at Davis. It was at that time that he completely replanted vineyards on the family’s original estate in Saint-Joseph, which had been abandoned in the early 1900’s when phylloxera hit the region.

 

The key to perfect balance in Chave’s Hermitage is in their remarkable blending skill, which begins again every season. Many hours of thought, insight, and conversation go into the final component blend for Hermitage. Never once has the Chave family released a single vineyard or cru Hermitage. While percentages vary from year to year, the constant backbone of Hermitage Rouge is Syrah from Bessards Vineyard with its steep, granitic slopes. Similarly with the Blanc, the components vary, however the base is made from old vines Marsanne from their Péléat vineyard. Some Roussanne is also added to the final blend.

 

Long-lived wines of great purity, elegance, power, and finesse, Chave Hermitage is winemaking in its apogee. In years when they believe the quality of Hermitage will not be compromised, their ultra-rare prestige “Cuvée Cathelin” is bottled, which represents a variation on their Hermitage with the same lieux-dits at different percentages.

 

Jean-Louis Chave Selections, his négociant line which sources grapes from various areas in the northern Rhône, represents a more accessible way for the consumer to experience the wines of the Chave family. “Mon Coeur” Côtes-du-Rhône is a blend of excellent plots in Vinsobres, Visan, Buisson, and Estargues while “Silène” Crozes-Hermitage is 50% estate Syrah and 50% purchased. As with all things Chave, quality is eminent even at the entry level.

 

The Chave family's methods for their winemaking include tr-aditional farming, super low yields, full ripeness, and minimal manipulation. Their unmatched meticulousness continues through five centuries to render venerable expressions of the purest of northern Rhône terroir.



The negociant project of Jean Louis Chave Selection started in the mid 1990’s. The idea behind this project is simple. The goal was to search out small wineries with values reflecting those which Jean-Louis requires for making his own wine. Jean-Louis works with wineries who work in an organic fashion, produce low yields, and are interested in making a wine expressive of the terroir specific to their soil. In order to ensure the quality of the wines, Jean-Louis is in contact with the wineries throughout the growing season, during the harvest, and through the vinification.

After being vinified at their respective domaines, the elevage continues in the cellar of JL Chave Sélection in Mauves. Each cuvée from the domaines is aged separately in oak barrels or in cement tanks with minimal amounts of SO2 for a period of 12 to 18 months. An elevage specially adapted to the needs of each cuvée allows the qualities and characteristics of each terroir to be strengthened. Once all the elements are well defined, the blending process can begin. The goal is to produce a complementary blend without sacrificing the diversity of each cuvée.

 

Robert Parker Jr. on Jean-Louis Chave:

"One of my favorite true and authentic vignerons to visit is the Chave family, located in the tiny, one-horse village of Mauves, just south of Tournon. The son, Jean-Louis, is taking over the reins more and more, but his father, Gerard, is still involved even though he is officially retired. As always, these wines performed brilliantly. Readers should keep in mind that the reviews of the 2007 white Hermitage and 2007 red Hermitage are a matter of extrapolating from tasting all the separate vineyards that go into these wines. That said, the Chaves appear to be ratcheting up their quality level because of a Draconian selection process in the vineyard as well as in the winery. The Chave estate wines’ finest value is St.-Joseph (5,000 bottles produced in each vintage), which comes from hillside vines planted in pure schist just outside their home village of Mauves."

 

Other Jean Louis Chave wines that are available:

 

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2015 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave L’Hermitage Blanc-MAGNUM
Price: $582.00 Sale $512.16

2015 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave L’Hermitage Blanc
Price: $290.00 Sale $255.20

(100 points) Matching the otherworldly 2009, the 2015 Hermitage Blanc is a perfect wine and certainly one of the greatest whites ever made from this hallowed estate. The normal blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from the l’Ermite, Péleat, and les Rocoules lieux-dits, it exhibits a huge, opulent bouquet of buttered citrus, flower oil, orange marmalade, quince, and honeysuckle that’s to die for. This majestic, full-bodied Hermitage Blanc has a huge mid-palate, thrilling purity of fruit, and a finish that won’t quit. It’s capable of lasting for 4-5 decades, but still has the sexiness of the vintage front and center and will be enjoyable early in its life. (JD) (1/2018) Jeb Dunnuck

 

2014 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave L’Hermitage Blanc MAGNUM
Price: 582.00   Sale $512.16

(98 points)  Honeysuckle, verbena and chamomile aromas stream out first, followed by a remarkably creamy core of yellow apple, white peach, heather honey and warm mirabelle plum notes. Hazelnut oil and brioche line the finish, adding considerable length. Despite all the lushness and depth, this manages to maintain a sense of tension and precision as well. Amazing wine. (JM) (7/2017)  Wine Spectator

 

2013 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave L’Hermitage Blanc-MAGNUM
Price: $582.00 Sale $512.16

(97 Points) Chave's 2013 Hermitage Blanc had just been bottled prior to my visit. Always 80% to 85% Marsanne and the rest Roussanne, from the lieux-dits of Rocoules, Peleat, L'Hermite and Maison Blanche, it's raised primarily in barrels with a small percentage new. Loaded with notions of buttered citrus, white currants, liquid rock, white flowers and hints of honeysuckle, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, beautiful freshness and purity, and a focused, clean, elegant profile that keeps you coming back to the glass. It lacks the sheer wealth of material found in blockbuster years like 2009 and 2003, yet is perfectly balanced, has loads of richness and a great finish. Give it a year or two and enjoy bottles over the following two decades.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 

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