Hermitage La Chapelle & Grange (10 Greek Street, London): Dark nosed. A touch of dusty rubber but not too much so as to be off-putting. Dense and brooding on the attack. Fresh acidity on the finish. Just needs time, I think, to open and meld. This really starts to, if not relax, loosen its grip with air. The ugly duckling that turns in to something splendid? ****?
Red and dark berry fruits, earth, minerals, autumn and some bell pepper in the bouquet. On the palate a beautiful and mature wine with leather, mineral, good acidity and round tannin. This bottle is completely ready now. No real hurry.
Always perfectly stored. Relatively youthful medium carmine, still staining the glass at 20 years old - nose is slightly Bretty, old leather, cherry, a floral note-fresh, excellent acidity - some might say slightly skinny, but it is elegant, with a complex palate. Old school. The freshness and some back end tannins suggest that this still has some room to run. It was great with a short decant.
Deep, dark garnet in color with just slight clearing at the edges. Forward, fragrant & attractive nose of developed & complex, ripe fruit aromas of dark cherries, blackberries & kirsch with overtones of sous-bois, earthy/dusty & floral notes of violets, dried herbs, notes of mint & anise, truffles, spice notes & pepper, olives, aged leather, minerals, cocoa, smoky and a hint of meaty undertones in the background. Medium-full bodied with a very good concentration of well balanced & smooth textured, ripe, fruit flavors of blackberries, dark cherries & plums with pepper, savory spices & dried herbs, earthy, mushrooms, minerals and a touch of oak. Smooth & elegant lingering finish. Drinks quite well at present and should hold for several more years although any further development may be limited.
Quite tight. Needed an hour to open up a bit with tastes of bitter cherries, plenty of fruit, good balance. Nicely balanced but little complexity. No tannins. Is this still evolving or just going nowhere? A well made bottle of nothing.
Still a baby. Opened and decanted hours before dinner – it was not until the end of the evening that it started to shine. Wonderful Syrah warmth mixed with classic pepper and bacon notes. In a bit of an awkward stage as there is a mature feel in the mouth but a somewhat hard and jagged finish. Will continue to improve for another 5 to 10 years. Very good if not incredible potential. (92+)
Rustic bouquet with sweet spices, blood, minerals like iron and earthy flavors. On the palate firm acidity, minerals, celery and drying tannin. Although I could still appreciate it, most of the group thought this bottle was too old. No score.
Stored in a cold cellar since release. Perfect cork and fill level. Still red. Medium bodied. Flavoursome. Very French syrah. Little tannins left. Lacks real depth and concentration. Autumn rains? A little disappointing.
Penfolds Grange & others (Extra Space): Aired in decanter for 1 hour before tasting. Pronounced aroma of smoky meat on pouring into decanter. Appearance is clear, medium intensity, ruby colour. Legs. Nose is clean, medium+ intensity, with a bouquet of truffles, mushrooms, dark earth, soy sauce, smoky meat, tea leaves, and some black fruit. Developed. On the palate, dry, high acidity, medium alcohol, high tannins, full body. Medium flavour intensity, with flavours of meat, earth, tea leaves, dark black plums, and some blackberry. Long finish. Good quality. Nice tertiary nose. However the palate does not match up, with the thin fruit quality failing to support. Drink up before it's too late.
This has a dark brooding nose. On the palate, the fruit is rich and sweet but a full bodied Hermitage. Lovely little hint of the animale funk on the finish. The second visit to this wine showed a bit more of the wild side. This is still a pup with many years ahead of it. I also think its got definte upside from where it is today.
Salil does Chicago; 4/16/2015-4/19/2015 (Chicago, IL): Double-decanted four hours before dinner. This is a brute. This is the guy who will bump you aside if you crossed his path. Big and powerful, with dense black fruit throughout the nose and palate. Brooding and massive, with just a hint of white pepper and animale, which sealed the deal for me, as it added a lot of interest to something that was otherwise a black-fruited beast.
Much better than my last bottle. Not much fruit and tannins still muscular, but well developed savoury meaty flavours with hints of olive and mushroom. Slightly dry and acidic on the finish. Upgraded by one point to 92 on day 2.
Deep brick color - mature. Red and black fruit mixed with wet clay on the nose. The real winner here is the palate: sweet fruit, mature mouth feel, long finish. This wine has great structure to go with the mature fruit. Better than expected. My experience with this wine is much better than many others. (93)
Stored perfect since release. Much better than I would have expected. Last bottle 6 years ago was not as fruity and meaty as this one. Lovely complex nose of ink, meat, blood, not as much green herbs but more animalistic. Lacking a bit presence on the mid palate but it took on weight after a few hours in the decanter. Hmm might have underestimated Chapelle 1996 and 1997...
P n' P. Dense purple. Very "masculine" nose of blackberries, pepper, earth and tar. The tarriness is also quite pronounced on the palate, and tannins still feel a bit stern, almost harsh. 96-acitidy for sure. The length is there, and in some ways this seems a bit ungiving, but I do doubt if the fruit concentration is sufficient for it to improve further.
Stored in a cold cellar since release. High neck fill. Cork broke but my fault! Perfect condition. Still deep red. Medium bodied good acidity. Reasonable complexity. Very Syrah in the French style. Will last but will it improve? A little disappointing.
this was very nice, especially on night one, nose was present on pnp, gone on night two and three, palate was true french syrah in an elegant hi-toned style, meat juice, blood, citrus undertones on the palate, acidic and with some savory notes along side decidedly red fruit, faded completely on night three (gassed and fridged for two nights), not a rebut but a nice wine to have experienced
The wine looks ruby colored with medium legs . There is heavy sediment in the bottle and it like mineral or earth and tasted very much of mineral. The body is full and the wine was coarse. It finished long. Not my favorite bottle of Rhone.
The wine looks Crimson colored. The legs are Fast. It smells like Forest floor, Soy Sauce, and Meaty. It tastes like Meaty, Raisin, and Cranberry. The body is Light/Medium. The wine has Polished texture. The wine finishes Short.
I think this wine's best years are behind it. Drink now.
Dark red, brownish hue; somewhat muted nose, forest floor, bit of caramel; forest floor repeats in taste, spices, lean and elegant; nice and elegant in overall impression, but fading fruit and sharpening; guess it is now or never, drink up
Casual dinner gathering with Rhone wines (小杬公菜館 Siu Lam Kung Restaurant): Beautiful ruby color with light rim. Soft nose, perfumed oak, raspberry, fruity gum and a hint of truffle. Nice palate, with fresh berries, red cherry and spice. Solid mid palate, good weight, fantastic acidity and balance. Medium plus mouth feel, structured. Tasty tannins, very nice grip, and long finish. This claret still has some years to go before reaching its maturity, right now the 1997 is better for consumption, but the 1996 has slightly more potential and will be great in few years of time.
Surprise Birthday Party (Q4): No formal notes. Classic Northern Rhone nose: dark fruits, meant, olive tapenade, and pepper. Richer on the palate but still shows some elegance too. Solid acidity and plenty of material to develop further. Excellent. 91+
Devin's Surprise Birthday Party (Q4 - Vancouver, BC): Generous nose exhibiting a ton of rich dark fruits, black olives, meat, leather, spice, prunes, licorice, and a hint of cooling menthol. Great richness and depth on the palate with a bit more red fruits coming through, showing tons of spice, rich black cherries, smokey flint, bacon, fresh mint, and bright dried cranberries. This seems to be just coming into it's own right now but will surely reward more time in the cellar as there are still a few rough edges to smooth out. Crisp acidic backbone with plenty of depth and stuffing. Fantastic.
I don't subscribe to the Parker induced theory about 90s La Chapelle. Having said that this bottle was odd and perhaps unclean, the bouquet redolent of celery and the palate overly acidic. A previous bottle was much better. The wine never really improved much. PoP at a restaurant. Long decanting might help.
Having seen the high incidence of flawed bottles, I was gratified that this bottle was drinkable, though only after fighting my way through a cork dried out in its top portion. To extract it, it was necessary to push it through and strain the wine through a thin cloth. But drinkable it was, a blend of black-fruits, leather, smoked meat and spice--mouth-filling and palate-coating, with a sustained finish. Give it a go if you have it.
Martin's Birthday Bash (Gallery Hotel, Singapore): This was excellent. For all the bottle variability the 1996 La Chapelle has shown through the years, it does seem that it is getting better and better with age, with just a few blips for bad bottles along the way. I for one am glad that I have kept my own bottles somewhere deep in the cellar. On the night, this was the better of two blind La Chapelles (the other being a very decent 1991). It showed a classic Northern Rhone nose of dried blackberries and cassis, meat and dusty earth, licorice and spice - really nice. The palate was quite lovely too, very elegant and poised as usual, but also an unexpected richness to its attractive flavours of sweet black cherries and then black and blueberries on the midpalate. This has certainly put on a bit of weight since I last had it. Little secondary notes of smoked meat, earth and spice drifted past on a finish that showed a good bit of depth, but that aside, this still seemed very young, almost a bit primary. Really nice though - this is a wine that really seemed to be coming together. It needs some time nonetheless, but I think it will be lovely in 10 years or so.
Consistent with my previous note - perhaps more soy than I remembered before, and on the nose leather was much more evident after extended air. 4hr double decant and cool down was just right. Smooth and elegant with changing aromas as we drank over following 3hrs with Asian mushroom beef stroganoff. Wonderful bottle.
Sampled 10/12/12/ 2nd bottle was not as bad as first but still clearly a flawed bottle. No kerosine and not corked nor brett, but all fruit was completely muted on both the nose and palate. As flat as a wine can be without being flawed by some clearly defined cause. Not sure why both bottles were so bad. Color was great, fill was great, cork was great.
Rich roast meats, soy. Lacks the density and bacon of better vintages. Yes, disappoints compared with great vintages, but the 1996 and 1997 are the best of the poor-90s Chapelles. Will improve in 5-10yrs, drink now with 5hr decant and cool down. QPR quite good still for reliable bottles.
"Barely Legal" Lunch (Asia Grand, Odeon Towers): There has been so much variability with these bottles. This was one of the better ones - a really nice wine. Maybe not as great as one would expect from a wine with as storied a reputation as La Chapelle, but certainly rather better than its dire reputation for underperforming in the mid-nineties would lead one to believe. It had a really lovely nose, with black cherries and cassis wrapped some earth smoked meat and a hint of mint and minerally nuances. Lovely stuff. The palate was very pleasurable too, with a strong attack led by pure, light-footed cassis notes with a little blackberry-like sweetness following up. Good depth there, but it was more the great balance lent to it by fresh acidity and fine tannins that really marked the wine out for me. It had all the beautiful focus and definition that you would expect from a good bottle of La Chapelle. On the midpalate, the black fruited notes were met by a bit of bramble and spice and some savoury roast meat flavours ast he wine moved into a really fresh finish sprinkled with a lovely layer of spice and some savoury plum powder notes. An enjoyable wine. It was not the most profound or compelling somehow, so that it seemed rather less than the sum of its parts, but it was a nice drink nonetheless. A super pairing with a roasted Wagyu short-rib as well. This particular bottle had just about reached the La Chapelle's long peak-drinking plateau I think. There is still some development in its future, but I am not sure just how much more it will improve.
Slightly spicy and lifted with slight sweetness and remnants of alc. Good wholesome basket of blue, dark red and purple berries plums and acai berries with black tea leaves. Expansive in the mouth. Considerably more modern than the 97 tasted a few weeks ago. This bot was also not as developed as previously tasted.
Previous bottle was pure vinegar, this one was very mature - however I think it was OK.
It started off with a nose of very red cool fruit, some plums, melon. The fruit was there, not much, and limited acidity with very polished tannins. After an hour or so in the glass the wine starts to tighten significantly, the red fruit is blown away, and the nose approaches a whole other level of depth, which is also mirrored in the palate. The wine becomes elegant with a nice length on the finish. There colour kind of shows a young wine still, nose and palate tells another story. Judging from this bottle this is as mature as it gets, drink up.
I must add I am still a bit puzzled if this was an OK bottle or not. Recently tasted -94 of the same wine was a completely different wine and much less mature than this one. Perhaps the vintage of 1996 is the reason, but again - I am puzzled. I am drinking my remaining bottles over the short term, and I am also leaving the bottle unrated. If rated it would not have made it into the +90 anyhow.
China Club BYO (Hong Kong): A lot of debate at the table on whether this wine was flawed or not and seeing by the tasting notes on Cellartracker a lot of people have the same experience. I think there is a lot of bottle variation with Paul Jaboulet and the '96 vintage seems to attract a lot of discussion especially.
For me the bottle was not flawed but it was very mature with a nose that only lasted about an hour and quite a mature claret palate.
Need to drink another bottle and see how it compares.
China Club BYO (China Club, Hong Kong): There was quite a heated discussion on this one. I thought it had an off-nose but I'm not the most sensitive. However, when I tasted it, it was very sour with a long bitter finish. Seemed obviously flawed. Others thought that this was tasting fine - just the normal funky tastes! Just goes to show how subjective all this is.
Rhone Night (Zeffir, Dunlop Street): I am not sure what went wrong here. This was possibly the wine with biggest reputation and one the biggest price tags, yet it was by far the most mediocre and disappointing wine on the night. It is perhaps even more of a disappointment given that the last bottle I had was actually really good. The less than attractive nose was already a rather inauspicious start. A bit reductive perhaps, this was a strange mix of sweaty leather and burnt matchsticks along with rather muted notes of black fruit and smoke. The palate was just a bit better, with more of those black fruit and smoke flavours laced with high acid which carried the wine in rather energetic fashion towards a slightly spicey midpalate. It was well-shaped and nobly structured, but the flavours just seemed all a bit blunted as the wine moved into a very short and quite disappointing finish. A long decant may have helped things quite a bit, but I am not sure this bottle was all that good to begin with. I do not think that there was a fault here, just bottle variation maybe, but the wine was very ordinary indeed, even mediocre.
Charity Event for Lee Ah Mooi Old Aged Home (My Little Spanish Place): A very nice wine, just starting to come into its own. There was a classic La Chapelle nose here - broiled meat and damp earth aromas were accompanied by some winter melon scents, a touch of peppery spice and nice dark fruited scents of cassis and blackberries touched with a flowery hint. The palate had all the classy elegance you would expect of a good La Chapelle. Not huge depth here, but it did not need it. This had beautiful poise, focus and balance, like a male ballerina, sinewy, yet lithe and elegant with a velvety structure and well-integrated acidity weaving its way through clean, clear flavours of dark plums and blueberries, and then lower-toned notes of earth and warm spices filling in at the decent finish. Nice. Not one of the great La Chapelles I think, but a very nice wine indeed. While it is just starting to drink well, it would really benefit from another 5 years or so in the bottle.
Enjoyed a bottle of this at the very underrated Roly's Dundrum in Dublin. A fantastic wine at a fantastic price. Decanted and left to breathe for just 30 min, I was concerned that the wine might need more time to open. On this showing, To give it more time would have been an error. It has a gorgeous nose of dark red fruit and white pepper. Surprisingly acidic in the mouth at first, but that soon dissipates to give a range of complex flavours with a hint of Brown at the finish. Euro for euro, knocks the pants of most Bordeaux I have drank recently.
Always a crap shoot when opening these wine, fortunately, this was a good bottle. No decant and this probably could have used it. Spicy, beefy bacon fat, smoke, dark earth and dark fruit on the nose. Still quite young and tannic at first on the palate, but as it opened up nice rich black fruit started to peek through. Some more bottle age will do it good, just starting to get into its drinking window.
Dark, deep black with a bright ruby rim. Huge dense earthy nose with bloody, meaty, iron rich aromas and sweet cassis. Full and concentrated on the palate with ripe hedgerow fruit and spicy tannins. Complex yet still young and tight, not yet revealing its full hand. Lovely, but has much more to give.
Absolutely fantastic nose! Huge! So much ripe fruits and toffee I can hardly believe it. Massive taste, smoky, fruity and very pure. A lovely acidity as well. What a wine! By far the best Rhone I have ever tasted (although admittedly I don’t have too much experience of the area).
Blue/garnet color. Decanted for 30 minutes. Aromas of red fruits, leather, damp earth and violets. Beautifully structured, ripe fruit in the mouth with good complexity, excellent balance, ripe, fully integrated tannins and great length. Not a blockbuster but a silky, sweet medium-bodied wine that was delicious with the fine cooking at the Vidalia Restaurant in Washington, DC.
Commanderie des Cotes du Rhone, NYC (Russian Tea Room): Very dark, even the nose is brooding, with some animal fur. Hard to believe this is a '96; seems so young in color. Although on the palate the tannin is softer and the palate has gotten round around the edges. Very good. Weak vintage? Hardly.
Decanted for 1 hr. Reasonable amounts of sediment. Did not get much fruit on the nose initially, but was definately opening up throughout the evening. Earthy notes on the palate, with some mint coming through towards the end. I really liked this.
Decanted for 2+ hours, during which it was continuously improving. Fairly dark garnet with brick hues. Intense coffee, black olive, raspberry, currant and green pepper. Mid-bodied, balanced and elegant with soft, fine-grained tanins, nice fruit and high acidity. Very long finish. At its prime. Perfect pairing with roast lamb.
9 from Hermitage, Hanna, Fonseca, Tokaji (Dale's): Looking old and a bit flat, this did come together with some air. Dusty at first, it added red raspberries. There was a tart acidity that seemed out of balance and never quite came together. Later, black raspberries and tannins came out. Perhaps slow oxygenation would help, but this bottle never seemed destined for greatness.
Phenomenal nose! Wow! This is one to sniff at! Bright blackberry, cocoa, smoky tea, black olive, and exotic spices, but all very refined and balanced, nothing out of proportion. Add black currant in the mouth, which is silky and gorgeous, finishing long and pure with minerally tannins. a really great wine that I might be underrating. This might still be two to five years from peak drinking, and showed no sign of age. 93+ From magnum.
Opened for 8 hrs prior to 1 sip. Gamey nose on a rustic side, with some mineral and peppery nose backing up. Rustic and stony fruit attack and a little harsh tannin in mid-palate at first, but smoothen afterwards. Acidity was quite sharp in mid-palate during 1st hr of tasting, but backed with sufficient fruit later. Mineral came in aftertaste with earth and licorice. More rustic and higher acidity of la chapelle than I expected, maybe a character of the vintage.
YES. Probably the best wine of the night. Great depth of colour and a nose with some developing N.Rhone scents. Still young and perhaps a bit of a shame to open it. But, still a really nice drink. Opened up nicely over the night too.
Nez fin de cuir et d’épices, quoique très unidimensionnel. Acidité marquée qui vient donner un peu trop de structure au vin et lui donner un aspect squelettique. Assez bonne longueur, mais d’équilibre et en début de déclin selon moi.
Third of 5 Hermitages. First sniff: Faded/aged. With a lot of sniffing nice, round and sweet with a oily-floral note. One the palate, it was totally flat. Scalped or corked? The others who had drunk it earlier thought it was corked, though I did not pick up TCA. Later, there was fruit and a chemical powdered detergent smell. Cork was pristine. Major disappointment as we very much enjoyed this wine about a year ago. I'll have to bring two bottles next time, as insurance.
Had this wine for my 40th birthday party - purchased for $150.00. it was hyped up but was definitely a crowd pleaser. I thought it was nice but not an out of this world wine. I have had less expensive wines that are better. Nevertheless, this was very smooth yet complex. It is ready to drink now but will last a few more years.
From magnum. This was very nice, subtly sophisticated, refined Hermitage syrah expression. This did not seem like a 96 - blind, I would have probably actually guessed 97. Elegant but warm and open at the same time.
This was so much better than the last 96. I sense a lot of bottle variability.
Deep opaque ruby, with a nose of meat, black olives, and dark black fruits, anise, white pepper and violets. Rich and dense yet very well balanced on the palate, with blood and stones, meat, and savory notes in great balance with the fruit. A ton of tannins that are softening and not intrusive at this point. A touch of bitter chocolate on the back end f a very long finish. Poured blind fo rme, and I was very impressed that this was a 96, both in its approachability and its quality. Great stuff and very early peak. 94 pts
SuperBowl Night (Chicago IL, Mike's house): nose: classic and deep hermitage nose filled with black pepper, black cherries, leather, charcol and dripping with bacon fat. A really great nose that sings and opens up more as the evening had gone on
taste: great medium/full feel with good medium tannins providing a nice spine with black pepper, loads of bacon fat, charcol, and a good helping of black fruits. Very polished feel thatflows well and showsits class
overall: a really good La Chapelle. Good layering and great weight, this is very much a baby. While it will never be a blow away La Chapelle, its a lot of fun to drink and has a very long life ahead of it
lots of bacon fat, black pepper, and plum on the nose. This was decanted for 5+ hours and yet it needs more time in your cellar as in 3-15 years! Still showed plenty on this Super Bowl night. Very soft in the mouth- I got a nice blend of plums, stewed tomatoes, meats,and worcester ... Nice finish this will get better..
At Beau Rivage, Condrieu. Disappointing. Lacking depth and complexity. A couple of days later at a famous wine shop in Lyon, (forget the name) I saw it on the shelf and commented that I just had and was disappointed. The proprietor's comment: "So were we."
Similar experience to a previous commenter. After about 20-45 minutes, this wine exhibits a stunning nose, texture, and barnyard notes mixed with bacon fat and coffee. However, it does decline quickly afterwards, becoming flat and limited to the 1-dimensional barnyard notes.
I reluctantly picked this wine from a restaurant wine list, knowing it was too young to drink. It worked out okay. It started to hit its stride about 20 minutes after being poured into a large decanter, combining nice mossy forest-floor Hermitage funk with bacon and coffee notes. At 45 minutes post-decanting, it was at its peak, when some fantastic fruit started showing, along with mint, on top of everything else that had been there previously. Very powerful, masculine wine, yet beautifully complex. 95-point wine, as far as I'm concerned. But the wine declined pretty quickly. By about one hour 15 minutes, all that was left was the Hermitage funk. Still nice, but now far from spectacular.
Agree with Paul S's tasting notes except the savoury soy sauce cum anise taste on the palate influences my rating more than Paul. All in all a good bottle but not quite worth eager anticipation. For those who feel compelled to pop a bottle now (as i did against the weight of opinon with regard to its readiness for drinking), let it sit in a decanter for at least 2 - 3 hours.
Drank at Cassis with Ray and Lydia. Ray's bottle. Went really well with Ray's pigeon and lamb dishes. Dark purple-black colour. Very closed at first, rather tart and flavourless, but it really opened up after an hour or so in the decanter to show soft, lush plums on the nose, with secondary flavours of smoke and ash wafting alongside. On the palate, there were rich plum and blackberry flavours, peppery spice and that same rather haunting smokiness. Very elegant, with softened tannins and really nice fresh acid, which made the wine seem as though it was dancing gracefully along on the tongue. A little short, a little watery on the finish, but that grew longer as the wine unfolded and put on more weight and body through the night. A slight savoury soy character and more secondary anise and pepper scents started emerging at the 2 hour mark. All in all, a really focused, classy wine - very seamless, very classy. As would be expected, the last glass was by far the best. This wine is just about slowly creeping towards its drinking window. I would suggest holding for another 3-5 years at least if you have any.
Decanted prior to dinner for 2+ hours. Tried prior to decanting, and I spit it out--- mud and acid. I wend for a bike ride, and this really began to open. Poured at dinner, this pomegranate colored wine gave elegant aromas of bacon fat, leather, grilled meats- smooth on the palate, with an acidic and grippingly tannic finish. This is still a toddler, but we still really enjoyed this wine with the food.
This was delicious young hermitage. Decanted for 3 hours, this had lots of anise, lush blackberry, coffee, bacon fat with some gravel. There was a pleasing acidity and fairly fine tannins on the fnish. Very obviously youthful, but not hard and actually quite showy. This will gain complexity and I won't have another for at least 5 years. (so I say)
VA and mushrooms on the nose. On the palate this tastes like liquified chopped mushrooms, with a dash of soy sauce. Wild. There seemed to be some interesting black fruit flavors lurking underneath, but overall this was in a very strange state all evening. I don't think it was corked. Dave reported that it improved significantly the next day. Judgment reserved.
Dinner with Brad England and Steve Sigmond: The color is a deep red. The nose is wild and not in any way delineated. Mushroom smells dominate the dark fruit. There is also a hint of band aid that is distracting to me. The nose reminds me a bit of the 1989 Chapelle tasted recently -- interesting, but in a wild way that is hard to pin down. The taste was very solid. Plenty of dark fruit and mineral in a nicely structured wine. Tastes very normal next to the super-exotic Landonne. There is plenty of tannin present. The finish is excellent. I would guess this is in an early drinking window, but should continue to develop for many, many years.
At a beautiful wine at a beautiful stage. Decanted 2 hours. The expressive nose has dark red berries dancing with a little leather, earth and pepper. Unlike some previous TN's, I found the silky palate flawless with the ample fruit in perfect balance with slightly bracing acidity and fine but substantial tannins. A wonderful complement to grilled Australian lamb chops and asparagus risotto.
Usual Suspects: Darkest hue of the Hermitage part of the lineup. Beginnings of secondary notes, crushed rock, sausage, some dampness, cassis. This has a firm more austere feel. Firmer acidity, earthy, very energetic, some toast. A bit flatter and less sweet, somewhat subdued. Given it's state, hard to see how it will evolve. While it could be shut down, the firm acidity and dampness would indicate less ripeness than I'd like. I'd avoid collecting more of this but will drink again in 7 years just to see. Still, a nice wine.
Dinner at Campange with the Family This was a funny wine. My glass had an overpowering scent of iodine and black pepper. The fruit was totally obscured and as such I didn't enjoy this at all. All the other glasses seemed better, but there was a lingering odor that just didn't seem right.
La Chapelle verticale (1978-2002) (Bad Ragaz, Switzerland): Serious nose, very powerful and incredibly focused/precise with strong aromas of black cherries (griottes). Lots of tannins still with a good showing and breadth in the mouth. This is clearly way over all the other wines in this flight (99-00-01-02), being the first to exhibit a real nose, body and finish. It's still not up to par with the best vintages of this wine, but it's certainly decent.
Northern Rhone tasting with the Lakeshore Boys (My house): Decanted 4 hours prior to serving and consumed over the following 6 hours. Even with plenty of air this wine wasn’t yielding much on the nose. The palate was a different story though. Black fruit and minerals with a firm structure. This wine has potential for those who are patient. I won’t be touching one of these again for 7-10 years.
From Magnum. We really should have decanted this. The first three hours, the wine was showing the austere/acidic side of Hermitage. Only as the evening progressed the wine progressively opened to show kaliedoscopic aromas and flavors of pepper, roasted meats, and black fruits, with great precision and minerality on the finish.
Tasted at dinner at Montrachet with Olivier. Taste was generously sent to our table from another. The Montrachet staff encourage sharing on their Monday night BYO amongst tables opening high quality wines.
La Chapelle continues it's streak of not impressing me. Light bodied and loaded with black pepper. Just not my style of wine at all.