2006 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Meal Blanc

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Wine Critic Reviews for 2006 Chapoutier Hermitage Le Meal Blanc

Just as good as the de l’Orée, but in a very different style, the medium gold-hued 2006 Ermitage Le Méal Blanc has a complex, layered perfume of honeysuckle, orange blossom, celery seed, caramelized stone fruits, and acacia flowers. Just about pure perfection on the palate, it’s full-bodied, deep, and incredibly concentrated, with a stacked mid-palate, an unctuous, opulent texture, and a gorgeous finish. This is another magical Hermitage Blanc from the genius of Michel Chapoutier. Don’t miss it.

Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JD
From a warmer micro-climate, the 2006 Ermitage Le Meal blanc boasts extraordinarily intense fruit, glycerin, and tactile impression. Stones, cherries, red currants, quince, and honeyed citrus are all present in this colossal wine that is unctuously textured, very full-bodied, and super-ripe and long. It reveals less noticeable acidity than l’Oree or l’Ermite, and, like Les Granits, it is a wine that can be drunk early, but it should last for 25-30 years.

While Michel Chapoutier produces some of the world’s greatest wines from single parcels of old vines spread throughout the northern and southern Rhone (see my ecstatic reviews of his 2007 and 2006 Chateauneuf du Papes in issue #179), he also has an impressive portfolio of value-priced wines that are often over-looked when this impressive producer is discussed. Following are some top-notch picks that all sell for exceptionally fair prices. Chapoutier has not achieved as great as success in Cornas as he has in the other northern Rhone appellations, although his Cornas wines get better with each vintage. There are four extraordinary single vineyard white wines, all of which are among the greatest dry white wines of the world. While all of them can be drunk young, they are meant for extended cellaring. Made from very small yields, they represent the essence of a varietal as well as a vineyard site. As the following notes demonstrate, 2006 was one of the greatest vintages for white wines at Chapoutier. The single vineyard selection parcellaire red wines range in production from 500 to nearly 1,000 cases. 2007 is a very good vintage for these selections, but 2006 has an edge. It is reminiscent of 1996 because of the wines’ freshness and acid levels, but Chapoutier’s 2006s are even more concentrated than his 1996s. Chapoutier’s four 2006 cuvees of single vineyard Hermitage are exquisite. Most of the yields were between 10 and 20 hectoliters per hectare, and the wines are extravagantly rich. The 2006 and 2007 luxury cuvees of Chateauneuf du Pape Croix des Bois and Chateauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac were reviewed in issue #179. They are all astounding wines, especially in 2007.

Robert Parker | 99 RP
Powerful—and slightly bass heavy for now—with apricot, peach and persimmon notes leading the way, followed by alluring piecrust, salted butter, yellow apple and mineral notes that stretch out the finish. Needs a little time to come together fully, but then should cruise in the cellar. Best from 2010 through 2025. 682 cases made, 100 cases imported.

Wine Spectator | 97 WS
Medium gold. Deep, pungent aromas of honey, apricot pit and brown sugar, with a subtle lemon rind quality adding vivacity. Rich and fleshy, with nervy acidity lifting the ripe pit fruit and poached pear flavors. Finishes with a jolt of anise. This is very complex.

Vinous Media | 93 VM

More Information
Vintage 2006
Color White
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Producer M. Chapoutier
Rating 99 JD
Region Rhone: 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.
Type of Wine Hermitage: 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!
Varietal Marsanne
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