2002 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree
2002 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree from Chapoutier, Rhone
The profound testament of M.Chapoutier's resolute commitment to displaying the magnificence of Rhone terroir, the 2002 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree is a marvel. This vintage is an excellent reflection of the exceptionally warm and dry Provencal summer of 2002, that resulted in smaller, intensely concentrated grapes with balanced acidity.
A Symphony for the Senses
Sourced from a mature parcel at Les Murets vineyard, the Marsanne grapes were hand-harvested at peak ripeness. Over fifteen days on the wild skins leads to sizzling electricity in the glass. With grace and power, it impressively navigates between buttery, honeyed nuances and an electrifying edge. As a single varietal wine, it offers a salute to Marsanne's exuberant complexity and textural eloquence when left unblended.
Stepping into the Bright Spotlight of the Prestigious Ermitage Hill
Terraced on granite soils under the Rhone sun, the Ermitage Hill's grandeur comes alive in the glass. Autumnal hints of dried apricot and honeysuckle mingle with secondary notes of roasted nuts and beeswax, painted onto a canvas spun from white flowers, quince, and salinity. The wine's compelling aromatic depth is perfectly mirrored in its equally captivating palatal depth - an exhibition of membrillo, acacia honey, crushed gravel, and nectarine skin shaping a texture of raw silk.
The Unmatched Elegance of This White Legend
The 2002 Ermitage Cuvee de l'Oree from Chapoutier is by all standards a compelling investment wine. Its longevity is unquestionable, with potential to age confidently for decades more under ideal cellaring conditions. It's a wine that commands respect, not just for its robust structure and impeccable balance but for its representation of the 2002 vintage - a testament to the tenacity and skill in the vineyard during a climatically challenging year.
This particular vintage remains an intriguing exploration into terroir expression, winemaking philosophy, and the fortitude of the Marsanne grape. A standout among Rhone whites, it's destined to reward investors and passionate collectors alike.
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Scores and tasting notes
Perhaps the most surprising thing is how spectacular the 2002 whites are from Michel Chapoutier. Because of space limitations, I am only listing the numerical score for this wine, which is evolved, but exceptional for such a challenging vintage. As I have said so many times over the last 15 years, the top Chapoutier wines are meant for very long term drinking, and are not designed for immediate gratification. Everything Chapoutier is doing, from his bio-dynamically farmed vineyard to tiny yields, extended fermentations, indigenous yeasts, and no fining or filtration, is done to produce the essence of a vineyard and a vintage. His track record since 1989 and 1990 admirably proves that these are indeed remarkable wines made by a young genius who refuses to compromise. Michel Chapoutier has been misunderstood by some of his peers, and there is a lot of jealousy when someone this young is so incredibly talented, but it is an irrefutable fact that these are wines of singular greatness as well as longevity. Importer: Paterno Imports, Lake Bluff, IL; tel. (847) 604-8900
Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 26 December 2004