Domaine Jean-Louis Chave
The granite hills of Hermitage rise above the Rhone at Tain l'Hermitage where the river bends sharply to the east before resuming a southward flow. This gives the vineyards a direct southern exposure. Vines have been grown here since Roman times, and Pliney wrote favorably about the wines of the region. The locals claim that vines were first planted here by Phocaean Greeks around 500 BC. Although the evidence is not conclusive, Greek coins and amphorae dating back to 500 BC have been found in the area. Some experts feel that the greatest maker of Hermitage is the firm of Jean-Louis Chave. The Chave family has been growing grapes at Hermitage since 1481. They have a reputation for making good wine in poor years, and excellent wine in good ones. They use low yeilding vines (average age 60 years) and a late harvest to produce the ripest fruit, and there is virtually no intervention in the winemaking and bottling with no filtration.
The exuberant 2007 Hermitage Blanc reveals notes of petroleum, crushed rocks, earth, white currants and peaches, an unctuous texture, high glycerin and good acidity. This big, thick white Hermitage will not be as long lived as the 2009, but for drinking over the next two decades, it is impossible to resist. Jean-Louis and Gerard Chave opened a bottle of the 2003 Hermitage Blanc to give me an idea of how this vintage is aging. This monumental offering, which flirts with perfection, has virtually no acidity and is aging beautifully. The Chaves believe it is a repeat of what Gerard's father made in 1929.Score: 95. —Robert Parker, February 2011.
Ripe and dense, but pure and beautifully rendered, with gorgeous mango, quince, fig and pear fruit flavors woven together and offset by quinine, paraffin and blanched almond notes. The finish just sings with fruit, minerality and a kiss of toast. Drink now through 2020. 1,244 cases made.Score: 95. —James Molesworth, September 30, 2010.
International Wine Cellar
Bright yellow. Mineral-driven aromas of white peach, nectarine, orange zest and anise, plus an exotic note of yellow Chartreuse. Fleshy orchard and pit fruit flavors enter with very good breadth and richness but the minerality clamps the fruit down in the middle palate and a zesty, peppery element contributes lift and cut. Extremely young and not offering much in the way of complexity on the palate now. The strong, incisive finish strongly echoes the spice and mineral notes. This one demands patience.Score: 94. —Josh Raynolds, January 2010.
Vintages and ratings subject to change at any time.
All pricing and availability subject to change.
Sparkling Wine & Champagne
Wine which is produced and bottled under strict supervision and meets all standards to be certified Kosher.
Wine which is produced using organic practices and is free of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides.
Biodynamic designation is regulated by Demeter, an international certification organization. Biodynamic agriculture is based on the view of a farm as a self-contained organism. Certified organic vineyards must meet Demeter"s additional criteria for a period of one year before earning the designation "biodynamic."
Sustainable practices incorporate organic standards and may exceed them and include ecologically and socially sound business practices such as fair pay for farm workers and energy conservation.
Wines sealed with a screw cap as opposed to a cork, which experts report protects and preserves wine more effectively than does a cork, while also eliminating the possibility of cork taint.
All wines naturally contain some sulfites, however wines that contain less than 10 parts per million sulfites are not required to include "Contains Sulfites" on their labels.
Wines that are still in the barrel and have yet to be bottled. Futures offer the opportunity to invest in a wine before it arrives in our store.
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International Wine Cellar
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Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
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I rate wines using the 100-points scale. I have used this point system for close to 25 years. I still believe it is the simplest way to rate a wine, with its origins from grade school in the United States. A wine that I rate 90 points or more is outstanding (A), and worth buying. If I rate a wine 95 points or more (A+), it is a must buy.
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Homepage for wine writer, Neal Martin's, "Diary of a Wine Writer".
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