Hermitage: Jean-Louis Chave Blanc 2014
"Chave continues to make a full-throttle, concentrated and unctuous Hermitage Blanc, and refuses to buy into the ridiculous trend toward making Sauvignon Blanc-like whites from this tiny, magical terroir. God bless him for that and there are few whites I’d rather drink than a mature Hermitage Blanc from this genius winemaker. Jean-Louis called 2014 a good year for the whites, and his 2014 Hermitage Blanc had just been bottled a month prior to my tasting. It has terrific minerality as well as classic stone fruits, buttered citrus, honeysuckle and crushed rock, full-bodied richness and an elegant, fresh, pure style. It will have two decades of longevity. Drink 2016 - 2036. 95/100."
Jeb Dunnuck - The Wine Advocate.
The Chave domaine's white Hermitage is usually produced from a blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne that are picked at optimum maturity and vinified in barrel and vat for at least a year, prior to a painstaking assemblage and bottling. Typically, it has a complex bouquet of acacia flowers, honeysuckle and apricots supported by a palate of white stone fruit, nuts, minerals and glycerine.
It is a great food wine. Classic food accompaniments include frogs legs and snails in garlic, pike boudin and ris de veau. There is much debate about the optimum bottle-age for drinking white Hermitage but the informed consensus is that it is best drunk on its youthful fruit, within 5 years of release or properly cellared for a decade or more to reveal its full, mature complexity.
|Style||White Wine, Sec, Full-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Rhône, Hermitage|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Marsanne, Roussanne|
|Food & Wine Matching||Chicken and Turkey, White Fish|
|Cellarage||Approachable when young, this wine is best drunk at either 2 to 3 years of age or after at least seven years cellarage. Superior vintages can age well for decades (30+ years).|
|Vinification||The grapes are rigorously harvested by hand at optimum maturity, from four different lieu dits (L'Hermite, Peleat, Maison Blanche and Rocoules) from vines subjected to minimal treatments and short pruning. The grapes are bladder pressed before a 24-hour debourbage (settling) and the juice is then transferred to cask (circa 80%) and stainless steel (circa 20%) for fermentation. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation the wine is racked clear and lightly sulphured. After the lightest of finings and at least 12 months élevage the final assemblage (blending) takes place. The wine is then left to 'harmonise' for several weeks before a very light plate filtration and eventual bottling.|
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave
'De Père en Fils Depuis 1481' (from father to son since 1481) is the impressive statement that graces every bottle of Chave Hermitage. The Chaves farm 13.9 hectares (of Hermitage's 137 hectares) comprising 9.3 hectares of Syrah spread across 7 different climats and 4.6 hectares of Marsanne and Roussanne (in an 80% to 20% respective ratio). Jean-Louis (born in 1968) took over from his father Gérard in 1992 on completion of his viticultural studies at University of California, Davis and an MBA at Hartford. The Chaves are famous for their fastidious and skilful blending as their extensive vine-holdings give them a very broad palette of fruit to work with. Jean-Louis married his American wife Erin Cannon-Chave in 2003 and they have two children Louis (born 2006) and Emma (born 2008). In 2006, Jean-Louis Chave became President of the Hermitage Wine-Producers Association
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