Jean Louis Chave   Hermitage Blanc

2008 Hermitage Blanc

By Jean-Louis Chave

2008 Hermitage Blanc from Jean-Louis Chave, Rhone

In the airy peaks of the fine wine world, where excellence becomes an expectation rather than a surprise, one can uncover a true masterpiece when least expected. The 2008 Hermitage Blanc from Jean-Louis Chave does more than just fulfill our assumptions of what a phenomenal wine should be; it transports us straight into the heartland of Rhone.

 

The Ingenious Signature of Jean-Louis Chave

The 2008 vintage embodies the essence of this eminent producer and the interplay that has occurred between nature's elements and man's talent. Jean-Louis Chave has long stood amongst the renowned titans of Rhone; a paragon of relentless dedication and precision.

Under his guidance, even in a year as peculiarly challenging as 2008, every cork conceals a symphony of flavors that manage to marry complexity with harmony.

 

The 2008 Vintage - The Fruit of Difficulty

Owing to unprecedented weather patterns, 2008 demanded constant vigilance and intuition; a challenge worthy for an astute winemaker like Jean-Louis Chave. Conditions evolved unpredictably across seasons, and so this vintage showcases those hallowed nights when vignerons gambled against nature - and won.

Harvested at the edge of ripeness to elude heavy downpours and capture notable acidity, the wine blossoms into a unique magnitude balancing act - opulent yet fresh.

 

A Testament to the Powers of Terroir and Time

This Hermitage Blanc's bouquet radiates with rich pear, apricot, honeycomb, interspersed with hints of almond paste, reflecting its core Marsanne dominance. A bracing acidity imparts verve and balance to its pleasingly rounded structure. Creamy mineral tones punctuate the persistent finish, underlying the wine's true aging potential - an investment in both time and taste.

The 2008 Hermitage Blanc from Jean-Louis Chave expresses not only the distinctive characteristics of a challenging vintage. It also portrays the resolve of a winemaker bound to his land and craft; a beacon that shines triumphantly even in years fraught with adversity, adding depth to any smart investor's portfolio.

Market price (SGD)

$5,890.00

12x75cl

Highest score

92

POP score

294.17

Scores and tasting notes

92

Consequently, there is little of the 2008 Hermitage Blanc (which was scheduled to be bottled the week after my visit), but it is one of the finest 2008s produced in the Northern Rhone. The wine offers up scents of almond paste, brioche, white currants and quince as well as a full-bodied, concentrated personality displaying good acidity and a more forward style than either the 2009 or 2007. It is best drunk in its first 7-8 years of life. Tasting through the different Hermitage vineyards (including Peleat, Les Beaumes, Meal, l’Ermite and Les Bessards), the lowest score any of these lots received was 94-96 (Les Beaumes). The other parcels all merited 97-100 points. The most dominant component part of Chave’s red Hermitage comes from Les Bessards, which many consider to be the greatest vineyard on Hermitage Hill. The next largest is Meal, a vineyard with a more southerly exposure. While Chave has not made their special cuvee, Cuvee Cathelin, since 2003, I suspect one will emerge from the different lots of Les Bessards that I tasted as 2009 is certainly a year where enough wine can be culled out for the Cathelin without sacrificing the monumental quality of the regular Hermitage. This looks to be one of the wines of the vintage, which is not surprising given the fact that the Chave family has more experience than just about anybody in the winemaking world (the domaine was founded in 1481 - nearly a decade before Christopher Columbus discovered America!). Importer: David Shiverick, Los Angeles, CA; tel (213) 483-5900

Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 27 February 2011

Vintage performance