Robert Parker 96
The 2003 Hermitage la Chapelle is a stunner! From a scorching-hot year that may never be repeated, this behemoth took two months to ferment dry and hit 14.1% natural alcohol. In addition, while in a big year they can produce 80,000 to 90,000 bottles (or more in the case of the 2000), they only made 50,000 bottles of the ’03. Locked and loaded with notions of plums, Asian spice, olive tapenade and sweet cassis, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a massive mid-palate and layers of sweet tannin. This blockbuster is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and will drink beautifully for another 15-20 years.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035
Deep, saturated ruby. Intensely spicy aromas of blackberry, bitter cherry, tobacco and minerals, with a complicating note of black pepper that became more pronounced with air. This is quite fresh and lively for the vintage, showing tangy red and dark berry flavors and a solid, chewy texture. Finishes with considerable finesse.