My favorite of the 2005s from Chapoutier, the 2005 Ermitage Le Pavillon is a heavenly wine that comes from one of the greatest sites for Syrah in the world, the steep, granite-dominated hillside of les Bessards. Getting a bevy of expletives in my notes, this insanely good Hermitage offers classic notes of smoked meats, charcoal, liquid rock, burning embers, chocolate and cassis, as well as a thick, unctuous and massively concentrated style on the palate. Changing in the glass, with exotic aromatics, incredible purity and building, polished tannin, Syrah doesn’t get any better. Given the youthful profile here, I’m sure this will see its 50th birthday in fine form, but it still delivers plenty of pleasure today given its texture, purity and balance. (JD)
Very focused, with grippy but streamlined tannins carrying dark currant, plum, coffee, mocha and mineral notes through the long, zesty finish filled with wild berry and briar patch. This should flesh out nicely in the cellar, as there's some real serious grip. Best from 2010 through 2025. (JM)
Inky ruby. Deep, brooding and initially inscrutable, with uncannily concentrated blackberry and cassis scents. Rich dark fruit preserve flavors seem almost solid, but there's wonderful vivacity too. Picks up supple tannins on the finish, which leaves a tattoo of black and blue fruits on the palate. Extremely primary right now. (JR) 93+
Restrained but very complex nose. Extremely tight and tense and those shoulders are SO hunched up! Tingling on the palate, this wine is probably the best of the lot but it’s all hidden for the moment. Dry, tense, stone-like – this is textural rather than aromatic. Fine boned and rather academic and inscrutable. So dry! Very interesting wine though perhaps difficult to pick immediately as an Hermitage. Vines grown on a granite base and mature in half new oak. 19?/20 points. (JR)
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