Reviews & Scores
Tasted in components. #1, from Peleat: suave and highly perfumed, with distinct red fruit preserve and floral character. Smooth, seamless and almost Pinot-like in its vibrant and weightless character. Extremely well-hidden tannins come in late. #2, from Les Beaume; #3, from Ermite, #4, from Meal, #5, from Bessards.
Lastly, the 2018 Hermitage is still resting in its individual components, and it’s such an education tasting through the samples from Bessards, Péléat, Méal, and Beaumes. In some years, each terroir is easy to see (the spice and complexity from Péléat, the opulence from the Méal, etc.), yet in 2018, the Méal was more structured and inward and the l’Ermite was shockingly opulent and powerful. The crème de la crème was the sample from Les Bessards, and wine doesn’t get any better than that in my opinion. Regardless, all the samples possess incredible quality and show classic, powerful aromatics reminiscent of a classic, almost cooler year paired with massive richness, depth, and structure on the palate. Possibly coming closest in my mind to a hypothetical mix of the 2009 and 2010, this is a legendary Chave Hermitage in the making.
As virtually all of the various components of Chave's 2018 Hermitage were still separate, I've given a rating that reflects the variability I saw when tasting through the barrels and made a guess regarding Jean-Louis's blending sensibilities and available volumes. For example, the Péléat (92 - 94), a pretty, red-fruited element could add freshness but is likely to be a small portion of the blend (if it's even included). More impressive were the lush, mouthfilling Les Beaumes (95 -97) and stony, elegant Le Méal (94 - 96). Lots from L'Ermite (98 - 100) and Les Bessards (98 - 100) will likely make up the bulk of the blend, oozing with liquid stone, intense blueberry and cassis fruit, and possessing firm yet ripe structures.
A tasting of five lieux-dits points to a ripe, rich, dark-fruited vintage with high but not unbalanced alcohol. This is opulent with liqueur fruits and deep concentration. It's very ripe, but shows no raisined or jammy character, and has remarkably freshness considering its opulence. 2018 is all about ripeness, says Jean-Louis Chave. Picking the fruit promptly was important; ‘We had to pick on a Sunday - and we've never picked on a Sunday before.’ He reduced the maceration time this year and avoided punching down completely to avoid over-extraction. Drinking Window 2026 - 2042
"...suave and highly perfumed, with distinct red fruit preserve and floral character. Smooth, seamless and almost Pinot-like in its vibrant and weightless character. Extremely well-hidden tannins come in late."