2000 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree
2000 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree from Chapoutier, Rhone, Rest of the World
Visiting the heart of the Rhone Valley takes us to the remarkable 2000 vintage of the Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree from Chapoutier. Though the firmament of Chapoutier's estate boasts many a star, it is the 2000 vintage that shines with an inimitable light in the constellation.
Sorcery in a Bottle, an Alluring Investment
The strokes of nature and devoted craftsmanship have conspired together to push this particularly captivating rendition of Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree beyond just a sound wine investment opportunity. In the hands of Maison Chapoutier, a heritage steeped in biodynamic diligence since 1991, this wine elegantly arcs into new dimensions.
To swirl and sip this wine is to embark on an odyssey through a mosaic landscape of flavours as it toys with your senses. The fulsome Marsanne grapes at its heart dart expressively on your palate, intertwining with delicate whispers of vanilla and sumptuous notes of oak-aged acacia honey.
The 2000 Vintage: A prodigious conjunction of conditions
Beholden to a season where climatic conditions were nigh perfect in Rhone, the 2000 vintage marked out an unforgettable period for fine wine production. A warm, sun-kissed summer guided by well-spaced gentle showers laid the foundation for optimum growth and ripening phases.
This robust vintage counters any notion of passivity; rather it invigorates, its aromatic persistence leaving a resounding imprint. Hints of roasted nuts and white currants emerge, showcasing its expansive density and balance.
The opaque gold hue of the Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree dangles before your eyes, a glistening amulet betokening a voluptuous period for Rhone wines. Some 2000 vintages translate their terroir into an intricate poem but this bottled poet does more than that. It sings. Flamboyantly expressive and complex, it is the very testament to Chapoutier's wizardry.
In a world where fine wine investment frequently traverses between tradition and progression, the 2000 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree stands as an artful blend of both.
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Scores and tasting notes
These wines usually flirt with perfection, which is the case with the 2000 Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree. It boasts an amazing nose of licorice, minerals, acacia flowers, honeysuckle, and a hint of butter. Unctuously-textured and full-bodied, with great intensity and purity, yet remarkably light on its feet, it can be drunk over the next 3-4 years, then forgotten for a decade, after which it will last for 40-50 years. Year in and year out, one of the most profound white Hermitages produced is Chapoutier’s Cuvee de l’Oree. These are controversial dry whites because they tend to taste great young, go into a funky, nearly oxidized stage, and re-emerge at age 10-15 as full-blown, waxy, honeyed, dry wines with the potential to age for 20-50 years. This offering is typically made from exceedingly low yields of 12-15 hectoliters per hectare. Chapoutier has moved from small oak barrels to the 650-liter Burgundy barrels known as demi-muids, which are essentially the equivalent of three regular barrels. These uncompromising offerings from a young genius are not meant for consumers who want something to drink immediately. They are the essence of bio-dynamically farmed vineyard sites cropped incredibly low, given extended fermentations with indigenous yeasts, and rarely touched until they go into the bottle unfined and unfiltered. In most vintages, the wines are not even racked off their lees, which only adds to their natural style. These are truly remarkable wines, but for most readers, patience is the operative rule as they generally need a good 8-10 years to strut their stuff. Once moribund, over the last 12 years, this firm has become one of the reference points for nearly all the Rhone Valley appellations since the brash yet immensely talented Michel Chapoutier took over in the late eighties. The single vineyard offerings are as good as Rhone Valley wines can be. Moreover, Chapoutier continues to upgrade the quality of those wines offered in more significant quantities than the 500 or so cases each of the single vineyard offerings. Importer: Paterno Imports, Lake Bluff, IL; tel. (847) 604-8900
Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 29 June 2003