A completely different beast from the Pavillon, the 1996 Ermitage Le Meal is a sexy, layered unctuously textured beauty that offers the classic sweetness and silkiness that’s the hallmark of this site. Black raspberries, blackberries, dried flowers, herbes des Provence and sweet spice all emerge from this full-bodied, layered and beautifully proportioned Hermitage. Like all of the 1996s from Michel, it shows a lively, fresh and pure character, and is a joy to drink. It also opens up nicely with time in the glass and has another decade or two of longevity. (JD)
Near-perfect balance brings appeal to this sumptuous, silky red. Think of crushed black olives mixed with spicy virgin olive oil, add cassis, mocha, spice and toasted bread. Think of a texture so suave and opulent as to bring a smile on your face and the glass to your lips again and again. Get the picture? (PM)
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