Jean-Louis, the son of Gérard Chave, is now in charge of the family business, as well as being president of the Hermitage wine producers. He is continuing the family tradition of making powerful statements of Syrah from Hermitage, combining massive structure and over-powering perfumes. This 1999 seems to have the best of the traditional world of tannic immensity…
Chave’s white Hermitage is even better than his acclaimed red in 2004. It’s wonderfully toasty upfront, backed by layer upon layer of honeyed fruit that simply defies description. Yet despite the incredible richness, there’s also tremendous focus and minerality, so that the wine never seems overly weighty, and it finishes with great length and intensity. Drink it…
Opens with a vibrant berry, chocolate, Asian-spice, rosemary, olive and bacon-fat nose so good you linger before tasting. Sour cherry, licorice, brush, leather and a meaty note show on the palate. The wine is lean yet velvety, with powerful, deep structure. It closes with full, ripe tannins, notes of black tea and pepper. Cellar this keeper until 2004, drink…
In 1996 this extraordinary producer of Hermitage made a wine for the long haul. At release, it displayed superb fruit, bacon, anise, and tobacco flavors, all enveloped by huge tannins. Now it is going through a dumb stage, though the structure is there. Give it ten or 15 years and it will become something extraordinary.
A top-notch effort from a difficult vintage, Chave’s 2004 red Hermitage is a complete wine: complex and balanced. Spice, meat and red fruit aromas and flavors swirl together in a mix of power and elegance. Acids are a touch crisp, but that’s the vintage speaking. Drink 2010–2025.
Although Chave’s négociant bottling labeled Offerus can be a bit underfruited in some years, in the superripe 2003 vintage that’s not an issue. It’s rich, full and velvety, with blueberry fruit accented by peppery spice, meaty, black olive notes and a touch of espresso. Delicious now, but should have stuffing to last through 2015.