Robert Parker – 99
Lastly, from the very dome of the granite hill of Ermitage is the 2005 Ermitage l’Ermite. An extraordinarily powerful wine that probably needs 10-15 years in the bottle (last year I thought 20 was probably conservative), this is a 100-year wine and probably best appreciated by our descendants rather than anyone currently over the age of 30. Dense purple to the rim, with notes of crushed rock, charcoal, roasted meats, and enormous quantities of blue and black fruits, this wine is almost painfully rich and thick, with mouthsearing levels of tannin and zesty acidity. Monumental! Anticipated maturity: 2020-2080. With twenty vintages under his belt, Michel Chapoutier and his impressive winemaking staff go from strength to strength. These are among the world’s greatest wines, especially the single vineyard wines, many of which will last 50 or more years.The 2006 reds from Chapoutier display good acidity and freshness. If they lack the powerful tannic structures of the 2005s, and perhaps some of that vintage’s density, they are certainly not light wines. It is a vintage of finesse and concentration, but with considerable up-front charm. Again, 1991 is a useful historic reference. They are the perfect foil for those buying 2005s, which will require deferred gratification. The single-vineyard, or as Chapoutier calls them, the â€œSelections Parcellairesâ€ wines, are all aged in small barrels, often 100% new oak, and bottled with neither fining nor filtration. Production is relatively small, with the tiniest cuvee, the Crozes-Hermitage Les Varonnieres usually 200-325 cases, and the rest of the single-vineyard wines averaging around 480-625 cases. The largest is usually the St.-Joseph Les Granits or the Ermitage Le Pavillon, which can be as high as 1,000 or so cases in an abundant vintage. Again, the 2005s all exhibit the vintage’s density, tannic structure, and long-term aging potential. At the same time, the 2006s at Chapoutier remind me of 1991, initially an underrated vintage of wines with ideal balance. If they lack the pure power and structure of 2005, they are well-served by their purity and equilibrium. There are four single-vineyard cuvees of Ermitage. Production is small, running from about 275-300 cases of Les Greffieux, 480-500 of Le Meal, 800-1,100 for Le Pavillon, and 200-600 for L’Ermite Importer: Terlato Wines International, Lake Bluff, IL; tel. (847) 604-8900
Anticipated maturity: 2020-2080
Vinous – 94
Bright ruby. Heady bouquet of spiced red berries, kirsch, fresh flowers, Indian spices and minerals. A sweet, palate-staining midweight, with luscious raspberry and blueberry flavors, sneaky tannic grip and slow-building cherry-cola on the close. I love the texture and focus here.