1995 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Pavillon
Wine Details for 1995 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Pavillon
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: Hermitage provides a bouquet of scents and flavors with a texture that cannot be fully deciphered. Expect to be blown away by an orchestral composition of primal blackberries and black raspberries, earthy minerals, playful spice and a thick bassline of smoke. Their immense aging potential makes them ideal candidates for hoarding in your cellar!
: Something magical occurred when two ancient French grapes procreated and the varietal of Syrah entered the world of winegrowing. The exact time period of its inception is still undetermined; however, the origin of Syrah’s parentage confirms it was birthed in the Rhone Valley. DNA testing performed by UC Davis has indicated that Syrah is the progeny of the varietals Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, both of Rhone origin. Syrah dominates its native homeland of Northern Rhone and has become one of the most popular grape varietals in the world.
Syrah, Shiraz and Petite Sirah have often been confused and misunderstood, some consumers believing them to all be the same grape, while others thinking the opposite. Petite Sirah is actually the offspring of Syrah and Peloursin and though related, is an entirely different grape variety. Its official name is Durif, for the name of the French nurseryman who first propagated the varietal in the 1880s; it is called Petite Sirah in California (due to the resemblance of Syrah, but smaller berries). Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. Producers in Australia have been labelling Syrah as “Shiraz” since James Busby first introduced the varietal to the continent. The Scottish viticulturist brought Syrah from France to Australia in the middle of the 18th century and labelled the cuttings as “Sycras” and “Ciras,” which may have led to the naming. Most California vintners label their bottlings as Syrah and of course in French style and tradition, the name of the village or area the grape is cultivated dictates the label name.
The Syrah grape is at home in Northern Rhone where the climate is cool and the terroir is filled with gravel, schist, limestone, iron, granite and sandy soils. It thrives on rocky, hilly terrain with a southern exposure, due to its need for sunlight. Syrah is a very vigorous grape with a spreading growth habit. The berries are small to medium oval shaped blue-black and tend to shrivel when ripe.
Today, Syrah is one of the most popular and widely planted grape varietals in the world, covering almost 190,000 hectares across the earth’s surface. It is the only red grape variety permitted by AOC regulations in the appellations of Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, where it has breathed life into some of the most tremendous wines on the planet. Languedoc-Roussilon has the most surface area planted in France with 43,200 hectares dedicated to Syrah. The varietal is used for blending in Southern Rhone, Provence and even Bordeaux. Syrah has spread worldwide from Australia to California and South Africa to Spain creating the ‘New World’ hype of the varietal. Since the 1990’s, Syrah winegrowing and production has increased exponentially; for example, in 1958 there were a mere 2,000 hectares planted in France. By 2005 that number increased to over 68,000 hectares and today it is well over 70,000. The same holds true for California, Australia and other ‘New World’ producers that have jumped “all in.” World-wide there are approximately 190,000 hectares of Syrah currently being cultivated.
The allure of Syrah has taken the world by storm, but is important to note where the hype began. Long before Syrah was being stamped with ‘New World’ or of ‘cult status,’ the tremendous quality of Hermitage was being written about in Thomas Jefferson’s diary. Today, the grape variety can be grown, fashioned, named and enjoyed in a myriad of ways, but the quality of Syrah grape remains the same – incredible.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds
As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
: There is something special about a winemaker who claims, “I fall head over heels every day of my life.” Michel Chapoutier is a wine lover, a life lover. Whether it is a book, a painting or wine, Michel Chapoutier falls in love ten times per day. This passion is conveyed through his artistic and affectionate approach at the multitude of endeavors he undertakes daily. He is unique, unconventional, curious, enthusiastic and selfless. A farmer who is close to the earth on a quest for revealing terroirs and finding the expressions of soils through the taste of wines.
Chapoutier is one of the most recognized and respected names in Rhone. Though the premises in Tain l’Hermitage has been in existence since 1808, it was the mind and extraordinary efforts of Michel Chapoutier that have catapulted the quality of wines bearing his family name to elite status. Since taking over the business in 1989, he has been quite “disruptive,” given his inability to conform to principals of the past and preconceived ideas which allowed a temporary demise of the estate in the late 1980’s. Upon taking control he immediately implemented changes that would challenge traditional winemaking, sourcing of grapes and the terroir in which to plant. He would also implement biodynamic and organic harvesting.
He is a firm believer that winemaking begins with respect. Respect for the terroir, the unique equation between soil, climate, and human talent. Respect for the earth by anticipating its needs, for the plant and fruit until the harvest and for the consumers whether they are connoisseurs or not. He insists that without respect, wine has no soul. His respectful and generous personality is a welcome and refreshing trademark that is well known by colleagues.
Chapoutier believes that without generosity, the creation of wine would be senseless, for wine is meant to be shared. Generosity is a form of expression that encourages, initiates and dares, enriching the wine when consumed. An example of this generosity can be witnessed simply by looking at the label, which is inscribed with braille. Since 1996, every bottle of M. Chapoutier has been imprinted with braille; paying tribute to the man responsible for its invention, Maurice Monier de la Sizeranne who is also the founder of Valentin Hauy Association. This extraordinary and unprecedented feat by Monier helped bring the blind and visually challenged out of isolation. One of Chapoutier’s labels even carries his name which is produced from a plot which Monier’s father owned, who was a vintner himself. This is Chapoutier’s way of giving back to someone who made a real contribution.
Chapoutier is not only a grower, but a negociant who has diligently pursued the best terroirs in not only Hermitage but other Rhone appellations including Roussillon, Cotes-Du-Rhone, and Chateauneuf-Du-Pape and has extended his influence to terroir hotspots around the globe including, Portugal, Australia, Alsace and Spain. Through his extensive efforts, Chapoutier is now able to offer a wine at nearly every price range from inexpensive Cotes-Du-Rhones to his beloved single vineyard plot selections from his own estate.
Though Chapoutier produces wines which blend varieties such as his Cotes-Du-Rhones, he is a proponent of single varietal bottlings, insisting that blending does not necessarily develop complexity but instead gives credit to the soil structure, whether it is the acidity or the bacterial levels. For instance, his highly coveted single vineyard whites such as Le Meal and Les Greffieux are both 100% Marsanne. He prefers not to use or include Roussanne due to its sensitivity to oxidation, as he wishes his wines to age. His preference of Burgundy and how complex and elegant the wine is able to be fashioned with a single variety is much more impressive than the wines of Bordeaux, he insists. Chapoutier has implemented this ideal in many of his estate wines with great success including his 100% Syrah L’Ermite and Le Pavillon,
Chapoutier produces an astonishing portfolio of wines that encompasses some of the greatest terroir in the world, from Hermitage to Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, Australia to Portugal. The multitude of varieties planted are both impressive and too long to list. However, if a label carries the M. Chapoutier name, it is guaranteed to be of tremendous quality whether it is found on the bottom rack in a wine shop or acquired by collectors through auction. Each bottling is sure to be an expression of passion, generosity and an unrivaled respect for the land where the grapes are born and bred with love. A love that is meant to be shared and enjoyed.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RP
The 2009 Ermitage Le Pavillon is another tour de force from Michel Chapoutier, and like the 1996, is drinking brilliantly today. Offering a huge nose of smoky black fruits, cured meats, asphalt, pepper and a liquid rock-like minerality, it offers full-bodied richness, incredible concentration, and ripe, sweet tannin that are still covered by a wealth of fruit. It’s an incredible Hermitage to drink anytime over the coming two decades or more.
Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JD
Beautifully defined and characteristic flavors of black cherry, spice, licorice and violets shine through this medium-bodied, perfectly focused red. Not a blockbuster, but it’s firm and crisp, and completely true to the appellation, marrying international-quality winemaking with authentic local character. Drink now through 2005.
Wine Spectator | 94 WS