Always with an almost southern character, the 2018 Ermitage Les Greffieux comes from a lieu-dit just at the base of the Méal hillside. Its deep black color is followed by a killer bouquet of black and blue fruits, cured meats, ground herbs, chocolate, and graphite that opens up beautifully with time in the glass. Deep, rich, and just straight-up massive on the palate, it has sweet tannins, thrilling purity of fruit, and a monster of a finish. Is this going to match or surpass the 2006?
Chapoutier's 2018 Ermitage les Greffieux features faint herbal notes and red raspberries on the nose. The most precocious of the 2018 Ermitage samples, it's full-bodied yet silky—almost lush and creamy on the palate, with a long, peppery-spicy finish. 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)
A highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, Moroccan spices, incense, candied flowers and licorice. Alluringly sweet and penetrating in the mouth, offering intense, mineral-accented cherry, black raspberry, floral pastille and spicecake flavors underscored by a core of juicy acidity. Hangs on with superb tenacity on the youthfully tannic, penetrating finish, which leaves behind sappy dark berry and floral notes. (JR)
Super-youthful red fruit with full body and chalky tannins. Still feels quite disparate – the parts are all delicious, but don’t gel together yet. Growling tannins. Lots of fruit persistence on the finish. Behemothic, if that’s a word (and even if it isn’t). 18+/20 points (RH)
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