The extraordinary white Hermitage Cuvee de l'Oree is mindboggling in both 1995 and 1996. Both wines represent the essence of white Hermitage. Made from 100% Marsanne from extremely old vines and microscopic yields of 12 hectoliters per hectare, the wines overwhelm any evidence of their barrique aging. Both possess extraordinary intensity, full body, the multi-layered texture of a great Montrachet, and intense, honeyed, mineral-like fruit flavors that ooze over the palate with remarkable richness, yet no sense of heaviness. These are undoubtedly the greatest white Hermitages I have ever tasted. Both should drink fabulously for another 2-3 years, and then shut down for 10-15 years. Both wines should easily last 40-50 years - assuming excellent storage. (RP)
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