domaine jean louis chave, hermitage, rouge 2016
Moving to the Hermitage releases, this always comes primarily from the Les Bessards lieu-dit yet includes smaller amounts from a number of top vineyards on this magical hillside. The 2016 Hermitage is beautiful and shows the classic style of the vintage beautifully. Notes of crème de cassis, hints of blue fruits, violets, and wet stone all emerge from the glass, and it plays in the full-bodied end of the spectrum, with a pure, polished, seamless texture on the palate. It has plenty of tannins, yet they’re perfectly ripe, it has no hard edges, and a great finish. While aromatically it seems to come from a cooler year, it has the sweet fruit and opulence on the palate of a warmer year. It’s a beautiful wine. Give bottles 5-6 years and enjoy over the following 30 years or more.
A good vintage - the problem was the yields,' says Jean-Louis. A tasting of principal component lieux-dits Péléat, La Beaume, Les Bessards, L’Ermite and Le Méal show that quality is high. It doesn't have the same ripe generosity as 2015, but there is still real concentration in the fruit. If anything, it is more elegant, but with a tight tannic structure that points to a Hermitage for long ageing. It may not be as immediately flattering as the sumptuous 2015, but I suspect it will eventually prove more rewarding. This promises to be a truly great Hermitage. 10% new oak.
Very floral and just settling in with fresh red cherries and blackberries that have real freshness and definition. Great energy here. Very upright and elegantly focused. Dark chocolate and licorice to close. You feel the granite profoundly here. Try around 2028.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Chave's 2016 Hermitage isn't the most intense or biggest wine this estate has produced, but it's a wonderfully charming, approachable effort from a vintage where quantities were halved by hail damage. Perfumed and spicy, with notes of black olives and black cherries, it's full-bodied, cuddly-soft and velvety in texture, with a long, harmonious finish. I expect it will firm up a little over the next year or two in bottle, but it's delicious now and should mature gracefully for at least 15 years, probably longer. Rating: 96+
Youthfully tight, this features a cloak of tarry-edged tannins draped over a core of well-steeped red and black currant and blackberry fruit. Long and driven, with notes of humus, black tea, singed alder and tobacco leaf streaming alongside the fruit from start to finish, this ends with a hint of smoldering cast iron. Reserved in style overall, showing serious latent length and cut, this should cruise and blossom in the cellar. Best from 2024 through 2040.