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This is one of the greatest dry white wines I have ever tasted. The 1999 Ermitage l’Ermite is a liquid mineral, crystalline expression. It is the essence of its grape as well as terroir. It may be the greatest expression of terroir I have seen outside of a handful of Alsatian Rieslings (Clos Ste. Hune comes to mind). It has that transparent character that terroiristes talk more about than actually recognize. Drinking it is like consuming a liquified stony concoction mixed with white flowers, licorice, and honeyed fruits. It is frightfully pure, dense, and well-delineated. As I said last year, "There is no real fruit character, just glycerin, alcohol, and liquid stones." That’s about it, but, wow, what an expression! Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. This is for the connoisseur of rare wines. Along with Gerard and Jean-Louis Chave, Chapoutier is producing the finest expressions of white Hermitage. His single vineyard cuvees are to die for if you like these eccentric, idiosyncratic, mammoth dry whites.Robert Parker | 100 RPTasting note not provided. | 93 W&SBeautiful. Thick, yet so reserved aromatically, with plenty of honey, mineral, macadamia nut, pear tart and passion fruit. What makes it a winner is the opulent, smooth texture. Drink now through 2010. 380 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS(from 70-to-80-year-old vines planted on granite soil; done entirely in new barriques) Spiced apple, minerals and toffee on the nose. Bright, firm, minerally and quite stylish. Very fine in the mouth and on the suave finish, which features oak notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.Vinous Media | 90+ VMYou call it Hermitage, they call it Ermitage; regardless, this is one smooth, waxy wine with mature peach aromas and papaya flavors that spread across your palate like sea foam on the beach. The toasty finish is soft and subdued, with hints of licorice and pepper. Quite complex and idiosyncratic; it’s the polar opposite of “mainstream.” Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE
I was absolutely blown away by the 2020 Hermitage Domaine Des Tourettes Blanc, a rich, powerful expression of Marsanne (there’s 10% Roussanne as well) from the L’Ermite, le Sabot, and La Tourette lieux-dits, brought up in a mix of new and used barrels. Revealing a vivid gold hue, it just about jumps out of the glass with its exotic nose of honeyed quince, acacia flowers, buttered pears, chalky minerality, spice, and licorice. The purity is off the charts, and it has full-bodied richness, a deep, plush, opulent mouthfeel, perfect balance, and a great, great finish. It’s the finest vintage of this cuvée to date, and readers who love the richer, powerful style of Hermitage should do their best to snatch bottles up. I suspect the acidity is moderate, but it holds onto a riveting sense of freshness and has this liqueur of rock-like sensation on the finish, and it will stand toe to toe with anything out there. I would enjoy bottles over the coming 4-6 years or so and then, at that point, do my best to hold off until 2032 or after. Predicting drink windows for great Hermitage Blanc can be tricky, but this is worth buying multiple bottles and drinking in its youth, then taking a chance with a few in the cellar. There are roughly 400 cases made in each vintage.Jeb Dunnuck | 100 JDVery striking nose of toasted almonds and pistachio nuts that’s still full of youthful energy, even if the stone-fruit character (mostly mirabelle) is discreet. So much underplayed power and beautiful candied-orange character on the ample yet precisely delineated palate. Then comes the stony finish that doesn’t want to stop. 100% from the marsanne grape. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 96 JSThis is a very pure and restrained version, featuring white peach, yellow apple, quinine, honeysuckle and verbena notes stretching out together through a finish that sports a light kiss of brioche at the very end. Approachable now, with charm and elegance. Marsanne and Roussanne. Drink now through 2030. 475 cases made, 16 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 94 WSA bit lighter, fresher and easier to drink in the short term than the massive 2019, the 2020 Hermitage Domaine des Tourettes Blanc should still prove capable of lasting 20 years in a cool cellar. It’s medium to full-bodied, full of notes of ripe melon and pear, with a long, citrusy and briny finish that shows a less pronounced bitterness than the previous vintage. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93 RPThe Maison Delas Frères’ 2020 Hermitage Blanc “Domaine des Tourettes” is a ripe wine in the style of this vintage, coming in at 14.5 percent octane. The white grapes for this bottling grow in the lieux à dits of l’Ermite, le Sabot and la Tourette on the hill of Hermitage. The cépages is ninety percent marsanne and ten percent roussanne, with the wine barrel-fermented and aged for nine months in cask prior to bottling, with the casks a combination of new, one or two years of age. The wine offers up a deep and complex nose of white peach, fresh pineapple, almond, a beautifully complex base of soil tones, acacia blossoms and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and complex, with a great core of fruit, good framing acids, fine mineral drive and grip and a long, well-balanced and impressively precise finish that carries its alcohol beautifully and only shows a whisper of backend heat. This is a lovely bottle of Hermitage Blanc in the making. (Drink between 2026 - 2050)John Gilman | 93 JG
Glass-staining purple. Assertively perfumed cassis, cherry liqueur, fruitcake and floral aromas take on espresso, olive and smoky bacon accents with aeration. Juicy, chewy and energetic on the palate, offering densely packed, alluringly sweet black and blue fruit preserve, floral pastille, licorice and mocha flavors that become deeper and spicier as the wine slowly stretches out. The floral and mineral notes repeat emphatically on a wonderfully long, juicy and mineral-dominated finish that’s framed by building, well-wrought tannins.Vinous Media | 96-98 VMAt first this feels like you’re standing in front of a set of locked gates. Huge power and structure without that much weight, thanks to the wonderful freshness that’s intertwined with the tarry depths of this Hermitage masterpiece. As it aerates smoked bacon, menthol and licorice notes develop, but I’d need much more space to give you all the aromas! The huge tannins at the finish are finely chiseled, suggesting this has decades of life ahead of it. From 40 to 100-year-old syrah vines. From biodynamically grown grapes.James Suckling | 96-97 JSThe flagship 2020 Hermitage La Chapelle was bottled in June and, as usual, comes mostly from the Le Méal lieu-dit but also includes portions from Bessards as well. Deep purple-hued, with wonderful notes of crème de cassis, graphite, incense, and spice, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a supple, elegant texture, fine tannins, and a great finish. It doesn’t have the sheer density or power of, say, the 2010 or 2015, but it shines for its purity and balance and is a gorgeous Hermitage. While the Maison Bleue is more opulent and expansive, this is the long-distance runner. Give bottles 4-6 years at a minimum and enjoy over the following two decades.Jeb Dunnuck | 95+ JDAfter the past several vintages, the 2020 Hermitage La Chapelle will need to add significant richness and concentration if it is to compete at that level. That said, it is still an excellent wine, with classic aromas of crushed stone, cassis, espresso and black olives. It’s full-bodied, fine and silky, giving an impression of great elegance on the lingering finish.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 93-95 RPMeasured, fresh and harmonious in 2020, this Chapelle is potent, fairly concentrated and quite savoury in style. Tannins are fine, plentiful, a touch dry, but they give plenty of support for medium- to long-term ageing. Drinking Window: 2028 - 2036Decanter | 93 DEC
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