One of my favorite wines of the night, the 1988 Hermitage is simply breathtaking in its beauty and profoundness. Sage, rosemary, sweet tobacco and dried flowers are some of the many notes that lift from the glass in a translucent, weightless, yet wonderfully deep wine. May I have another glass, please? Wow... (AG)
And lastly, the 1988 Hermitage is an elegant, perfumed and mineral-laced effort that’s drinking at point. Giving up plenty of sweet cherry and red currants, leather, crushed rock and hints of green olive, it has no hard edges, solid mid-palate richness and a focused finish. It’s a mature, elegant and classy Hermitage to drink over the coming 4-5 years. (JD)
Good youthful deep red. Perfumed, multifaceted aromas of crystallized black cherry, cassis, gibier and smoke. Fruity and precise in the mouth, with amazingly youthful dark berry flavors and terrific purity and thrust. Really razor-sharp, with more intensity than sheer size. Finishes with firm but suave tannins and terrific cut. This has the balance and stylishness of best 1988 red Burgundies. (ST)
Back in Gérard Chave’s day at the head of this historic family estate, there could be a bit of bottle variation with the Hermitage here, and while one was almost always guaranteed a very good bottle of Hermitage, there were different cuvées floating around in each vintage and some were 'more equal than others.' I have had the good fortune to drink up almost my entire case of the 1988 over the years with great pleasure, but this particular bottle was from a friend’s cellar and most likely from a different batch than my box of the wine that I bought back on its release in the early 1990s. This bottle was a touch reductive out of the blocks and never quite shook this completely over the course of the hour or two that we drank it, which kept the nose a touch reserved, despite the palate absolutely singing. The bouquet on this particular bottle is deep and black fruity in profile, offering up scents of cassis, stony soil tones, bonfire, pepper, grilled meats and a topnote of balsam bough. On the palate the wine is very deep and full-bodied, with plenty of stuffing in the mid-palate, fine soil signature, moderate tannins and a long, tangy and complex finish. The wine from my case is more generous and red fruity today that this particular bottle. With this example, I would still let it sit in the cellar for a handful more years and see if it starts to truly blossom. (Drink between 2021-2050) 92+?
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