I was able to taste the 2016 Hermitage from three separate tanks which are blended prior to bottling. All three samples showed brilliant purity of fruit, full body, a forward, seamless, elegant texture, and classic building minerality. This is haute couture at its finest and is pure class that could come from nowhere else. As with most 2016s, it's going to be relatively accessible in its youth, yet this is one Hermitage that's not going to hit maturity for another 8-10 years and will keep for three decades.
A wealth of floras with spiced dark chocolate, peppery notes, graphite, dark stones and grilled meats. There’s a very concentrated core of red and black fruit on the palate, weighing deep into the middle with super fine yet strong tannins wrapping up the wine. There is also enduring red-fruit freshness emerging into the finish. This is a great Hermitage that will deliver incredible age potential and enjoy an esteemed life in bottle. Barrel sample.
Still mostly in separate components, the 2016 Hermitage nevertheless looks sensational. Les Beaumes was very pretty and red fruited, with silky tannins (94 - 96). Le Méal was putting itself forward as plush and velvety, with flowers, crushed stone and ripe fruit (95 - 97). A combined sample of les Bessards and l'Hermite showed great, granite-derived structure allied to licorice and cassis (96-98). (JC)
Jean-Louis Chave showed me this unfinished wine in components. #1) Les Beaume: a gorgeous bouquet evokes red and blue fruit liqueur, incense, Asian spices and smoky minerals. Shows a very suave blend of depth and energy, silky texture and vibrant black raspberry and boysenberry flavors that spread out steadily on the back half. #2) Meal: much more firm and stern than the Les Beaume, showing bitter cherry, licorice and olive character and solid grip. Chewy and focused, but there's a core of appealingly sweet dark fruit as well. Opens up a bit with air, but this is solid and has a serious backbone. #3) Ermite: complex and intensely perfumed, displaying exotic floral and spice notes and powerful, alluringly sweet dark berry character. The floral quality dominates a very long, smooth finish where fine-grained tannins build slowly and in harmony with the dark fruit. #4) Bessards: Succulent and focused, displaying ripe dark fruit liqueur, spicecake and violet pastille qualities energized by vibrant spice and mineral flourishes. Sweet and densely packed yet animated, with superb clarity; a sexy cola nuance emerges on the back half. The mix of depth, power and energy here is textbook Chave, and this bottling will be a must-buy for those who can find and afford it. (JR)
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