Chapoutier   Ermitage lErmite

2011 Ermitage l'Ermite

By Chapoutier

2011 Ermitage l'Ermite by Chapoutier, Rhone

In the pantheon of celestial Rhône wines, few acquire such legendary status as the 2011 Ermitage l'Ermite from Chapoutier. This illustrious estate upholds the faith that terroir is paramount, the true soul of wine-making. And with the 2011 Ermitage l'Ermite, their creed once again finds vinous expression in a vintage worth enshrining in the finest cellars.


A vinous elegy to the spellbinding 2011 Vintage

The year 2011 will always be etched in my mind as one that bestowed upon us an astonishing array of fine Rhône wines. The Ermitage vineyards, in particular, benefited from timely springtime showers and a glorious summer heralding an extended harvest season. The resultant grapes bore the kiss of this climatic serendipity, shriveled and concentrated, imbuing the 2011 Ermitage l'Ermite with undulating layers of swirling flavours.

Rendered from centenarian Syrah vines clinging to stony, granitic soils and tended with organic precision by Chapoutier, it unspools an arresting tale through its shifting tapestry of aromas and flavours. This vintage exudes evocative aromas of crushed blackberries interweaved subtly with notes of wild herbs and sweat-inducing black pepper - steadfast signatures of a Herculean Syrah in its element.


The Chapoutier touch; An investment in liquid art

An investment in Chapoutier's l'Ermite transcends mere financial considerations - it's an investment in tradition, sustainability, and viticulture virtuosity. Few other expressions resonate with the organic-biodynamic mastery that Chapoutier embodies and exemplifies time and again. This 2011 iteration is no exception, unravelling on the palate with decadent flavours of black fruit, anise, smoky bacon fat and a swoon-inducing minerality.

The finish lingers like sweet memories, commanding yet fluid, mirroring the inimitable qualities that set this vintage apart from its contemporaries.

Positioning this wine in your portfolio adds a dash of pedigree, potential for impressive returns aside. For those drawn to the Rhone's most prized offerings, the 2011 Ermitage l'Ermite from Chapoutier stands as one of the finest examples of Syrah's magical transformation under the caress of a talented winemaker and blessed terroir.

A wine soaked in tradition yet captivatingly versatile. Surely such a unique expression merits some real estate in your cellar?

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As expected, the 2011 Ermitage l’Ermite, which comes from the lieu-dit of the same name, is more backward and focused, with a slightly closed, tight profile. Slowly giving up ample cassis and black raspberry fruit, graphite, licorice and edgy minerality, it is full-bodied, deeply concentrated and tannic, yet still never puts a foot wrong and is perfectly balanced and seamless. Give it 3-4 years in the cellar and enjoy over the following two decades or more. This was an incredible tasting with Michel Chapoutier and his second hand man, Pierre-Henri Morel. Certainly one of the success stories in wine, which Robert Parker does a fabulous job of detailing in Issue 204, this estate goes from strength to strength in just about every appellation in the Rhone Valley. Looking specifically at Hermitage, Chapoutier owns a massive 64 acres, mostly on the famed Bessards lieu-dit, yet also with significant portions on Le Meal, L’Ermite and Les Greffieux, with smaller portions in the Beaume and Murets lieux-dits. From this he fashions five reds (Monier De La Sizeranne, Les Greffieux, Le Meal, Le Pavillon and L’Ermite) and four whites (Chante Alouette, Cuvee de l’Oree, Le Meal Blanc and L’Ermite Blanc), all of which are brilliant wines, with the best ranking up alongside the top wines in the world. In addition, his Saint Josephs (Les Granits and Le Clos) are some of the leading wines of the appellation (along with Guigal’s Vignes de l’Hospice and a few others), and his Cote Rotie La Mordoree, which comes from his 12 acres (split between the roughly defined Cote Blonde and Cote Brune regions), is always a classic example of the appellation. I was also able to taste through a full lineup of his Languedoc and Roussillon releases, all of which were impressive. I’ll review those wines in my 2014 coverage on those regions. Looking at the 2011 whites, these were all tasted by Robert Parker last year, but since I tasted through the lineup, I opted to include reviews here as well. Importer: Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, IL; tel. (847) 604-8900

Jeb Dunnuck - The Wine Advocate, 29 December 2013

Vintage performance