Also inky colored, the 2018 Ermitage Le Méal is another monster of a wine that has over-the-top notes of black raspberries, cassis, graphite, new leather, ground pepper, and incense. Massive, rich, full-bodied, and about as opulent as they come, it's another borderline perfect wine in the making.
The 2018 Ermitage le Méal is denser than the les Greffieux, boasting layers of blackberry fruit. It's full-bodied, rich, concentrated and tannic, with a long chewy finish that hints at mocha and espresso. As has become my habit, I scheduled a full morning with Michel Chapoutier and his team to taste through the company's wines from the Northern Rhône. The fascination here with individual wines of terroir means that the number of bottlings has grown considerably over the years, and the session always includes wines from several partnerships Chapoutier has with other personalities, like renowned chefs in the Pic Chapoutier and Michael Alléno and Michel Chapoutier wines (reviews listed separately). It was fascinating to sample the 2017s and 2018s in such close proximity, as some cuvées/appellations seemed to have fared better in 2017, while others look potentially better in 2018. At the very top end, you can't go wrong with any of the sélections parcellaires from either vintage. (JC)
Expansive aromas of ripe red and blue fruits, potpourri and smoky minerals acquire a spicy nuance as the wine opens up. Broad and seamless on the palate, displaying fine delineation to the lively, mineral-drenched black raspberry, boysenberry, candied violet and spicecake flavors. Shows a distinctly suave character and finishes extremely long and appealingly sweet, with well-knit tannins framing lingering blue fruit and floral notes. (JR)
Darker, more restrained fruit than their Greffieux. Lovely peppery perfume. Fairly delicate for the origin, with rounded tannic structure and mouth-watering acidity making this go down all too easily! Charred meat to finish. (RH) 17.5/20
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