(raised in 20% new oak) Dark purple. A highly expressive, mineral-accented bouquet evokes fresh blackberry and blueberry, candied flowers, incense and exotic spices. Sweet, palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur and violet pastille flavors are complicated by suggestions of cracked pepper and bitter chocolate; a spicecake nuance gains strength with aeration. Steadily building tannins add shape and grip to the extremely long, incisive finish, which emphatically repeats the floral and mineral notes. I wouldn't be surprised to see this wine turn out as well as the amazing 2015 version. (JR)
The flagship 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle is slightly more focused and concentrated, yet is still one sexy red that shines in the vintage. Inky colored, with loads of toasted spices, smoked meats and graphite characteristics, it has full-bodied richness, a terrific core of ripe Syrah fruit, fine tannin, and a great finish. Give it 2-4 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following two decades.
Winemaker Jacques Devernois likens the 2016 Hermitage La Chapelle to a woman’s red dress, calling it charming and flashy. It looks like it will appeal young, as this prospective sample had ample concentration but was also supple in feel. Hints of smoke, crushed stone and pencil shavings frame cassis fruit in this full-bodied and creamy-textured wine. It finishes long, with hints of vanilla and great freshness. (JC)
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