domaine jean louis chave, hermitage, ermitage cathelin 2009
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Last year I gave the 2009 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin a three-digit rating, but it was nice to be able to re-taste it since it is largely impossible to find in the marketplace. Essentially 100% fruit from Les Bessards, this cuvee is only made in vintages where it will not compromise the integrity and quality of their standard Hermitage (although there is nothing standard about it). The Cuvee Cathelin sees more oak than its sibling, enjoys 50-75 years of aging potential, and boasts over-the-top blackberry and cassis fruit notes intertwined with pen ink, spring flower, graphite and subtle vanillin characteristics. It is a brilliant wine that almost defies description given its ethereal complexity allied to massive weight, power and richness. Yet, it never comes across as heavy or overly-extracted. Forget this for another decade and you and your progeny can enjoy it over the following 50-75 years.
Deep ruby. A heady, captivating bouquet evokes fresh red berries, candied flowers, blood orange, Asian spices and minerals, with subtle smoke and cracked pepper notes in the background. Deep in red and dark fruit flavor but light on its feet, showing penetrating, mineral-driven character and an array of floral and spice qualities. The endless finish strongly repeats the floral and mineral notes and shows amazing vivacity and clarity. Chave told me that he was "90% or 95% sure" that this cuvee would be bottled as Cathelin.