Another wine that topped out on my scale, the 523-case 2012 Ermitage l'Ermite is as profound an Hermitage as you can find. Coming from the granite soils located around the Chapel on the top of Hermitage hill, it's always the most tight, backward and structured of the releases, even more so than the Pavillon, which always seems to have another layer of sweet fruit to me. The 2012 is deeper and richer than the 2011, yet as with most 2012s, it more approachable and forward than the 2010 (and 2009 in this case). Exhibiting awesome notes of powdered rock, creme de cassis, liquid violets and lite gunpowder, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, awesome mid-palate depth and building, ultra-fine tannin that frame the finish. It's an incredible wine that will won't start to become approachable until a decade after the vintage, and then will keep for three decades. (JD)
This blazes along, with a riveting iron note running from start to finish, keeping the red currant, damson plum, blackberry and boysenberry fruit racy and defined. Shows terrific cut through the finish, revealing extra tar and ganache hints for textural nuance. Very long. Best from 2018 through 2030.
Opaque purple. Powerful, deeply pitched aromas of cassis, candied plum, licorice and violet oil, with suggestions of olive and smoky minerals adding complexity. Weighty and broad in the mouth, offering bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors and a strong note of dark chocolate. Becomes spicier and livelier with air and finishes very long and broad, with chewy tannins adding grip. This is a real baby. The vines at this site are reportedly over 100 years old now. (JR)
Racy, sinewy, polished with refined ripe fruit underneath but very skilfully hidden. Long and juicy and so very different from Le Méal, for instance. Much less burly. Splits the difference between Méal and Greffieux. Wonderfully lifted nose. Savoury. 18.5/20 points.
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