The 1999 Ermitage l'Ermite is a wine that borders on perfection compared to its backward performance last year from barrel. Sadly, there are usually 500-600 cases of the cuvee, but in 1999 only 400 were produced. It comes from Chapoutier's oldest vines (most over 100 years of age), and represents the essence of both Hermitage and Syrah. From bottle, the 1999 l'Ermite reveals an old style Lafleur character in its kirsch liqueur intermixed with raspberries, blackberries, and striking minerality. It has put on considerable weight since last year, but is essentially an elegant, ethereal effort with incredible intensity as well as amazing lightness. It is a phenomenal expression of terroir. However, be forewarned, anyone expecting to derive a lot of pleasure from this before another fifteen years elapse, will be disappointed.
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