Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2007
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
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