As in 2016, my favorite of the white parcel selections this year is the 2017 Ermitage l'Ermite Blanc (231 cases produced), as it perfectly balances richness and power with refinement and structure. Toasted brioche and citrus marmalade, honey and truffle notes deliver sheer full-bodied, mouth-filling decadence, supported by austere notes of crushed granite, zesty grapefruit rind and cooling brine. Huge and intense yet refreshing, it's the essence of granite-grown Marsanne. (JC)
This wine includes some fruit from pre-phylloxera vines planted in 1860. Michel explains that the soils on this lieu-dit are granilite - granite with a touch of calcium; a rare kind of alkaline granite. The wine spends nine months in demi-muid, one-third new. It has distinct notes of almond, linden and iris, with a certain mineral register to the aromatic profile. It's fairly full-bodied and very intense, with an electric palate expression - this is noticeably more acidic than his other white Hermitages this year. It's so vibrant, with less oiliness on the palate compared to the other 2017s - it almost fizzes with minerality. (MW)
Lastly, the 2017 Ermitage L’Ermite Blanc is another vibrant white that has an exotic, fresh, focused style in its citrus, lime, honeysuckle, lemon curd, and turmeric/celery seed aromas and flavors. Possessing fabulous extract and concentrated and well as both freshness and purity, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age and should keep for two decades or more. All three of these top whites show a dramatically more reductive, backward style that’s going to benefit from cellaring. 98+
Nutty, rich and hugely concentrated – this has all the power and fury of Hermitage. Thick, textural, lengthy, potent. Lovely marzipan notes. Not much fruit ripeness; something a bit dried about it, perhaps? 18/20 points (RH)
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