8 Vintages of Chave tasted at VVW (2004-2011) Groups #5 and my #4 wine of the tasting. Floral nose, very burgundian in character, with red fruits and a lovely spice. Thinner palate, fairly muted flavors that are surprisingly tight and unyielding. Drying finish.
Day later from memory. I recently splurged and won a mixed case of '04, '05, and '07 Chave Hermitage at auction. I don't think I exactly stole it, but the per bottle average was a few percent below recent auctions and way below current retail. I'd never had one before and given the ever-present provenance risk, this may not have been the best way to dip my toe in the water, but it's too late now!
I've been drinking a lot of less exalted Northern Rhone lately with great enjoyment, so my expectations were commensurately high last night. It was easily one of the best syrahs I've ever tasted (recognizing I'm not that experienced in the high end here), but I was surprised how it seemed to reflect elegance and refinement over power. In fact, it reminded me curiously of a recent '04 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, not in any way the flavor, but in its purity, quiet confidence, and harmony.
Still reasonably purple, nose a heady mix of blackberry, pepper, and restrained minerality. The dark fruit carried through in the mouth, bolstered by gentle tannins and the stony quality that seemed more like a stream bed than a rocky assault. Beautiful texture: I was bracing for a punch and it was more like a warm embrace. It was slinky and sinuous, entirely beguiling. 14% ABV though I would have guessed less.
Deep, thick ruby color softening on the edges. Powerful nose of roasted game, black pepper, sweet violets, bitter chocolate and minerals. On the palate, it's quite big and fairly open with a thick texture and chocolaty flavors at first but then the fresh finish kicks in with good acidity and crispness to balance everything out. A meaty wine yet with floral lift that keeps it light on its feet. More chocolaty and meaty than other older vintages of Chave I've had but it still works for me. Enjoyable tonight and this wine always surprises to the upside as it ages even with the obvious ripeness here. 93+
Nose of herb, leaf, licorice, currant, pepper, black olive, toast. Palate of pepper, olive, herb, licorice, blackcurrant, spice, black cherry, espresso, dark chocolate. Beautiful massive finish, showing power and poise.
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(Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage) Deep red violet color; lovely violets, white chocolate and raspberry nose; yummy, roses and rich but tight red fruit palate; medium-plus finish 93+ pts. (decanted for 1 hour)
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