Robert Parker 96-98+
The 2014 Ermitage l’Ermite is almost painfully backwards and tight, with a liquid rock-like character permeating its lead pencil, beef blood/iodine, liquid violets, and black and blue fruits. Possessing more concentration and depth than just about every other wine I was able to taste in the vintage, this full-bodied, structured, backwards beast of an Hermitage will need 5-7 years of cellaring and keep for three decades. Looking at the 2014 whites from Michel Chapoutier, these are gorgeous wines that show the suppler, more elegant style of the vintage, yet still have thick, unctuous textures that keep you coming back to the glass. The level of concentration this estate is able to achieve, even in these more difficult vintages, is truly remarkable. The two blockbusters that readers shouldn’t miss (and that are still affordable by mere mortals) are the 2014 Hermitage Chante-Alouette and the 2014 Saint Joseph les Granits Blanc. With respect to the reds, 2013 is a serious vintage at this estate, and at the top end, they’ve produced the wines of the vintage. I suspect the top releases will shut down relatively quickly so if you’re inclined to try one young, don’t wait too long.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2052
Lurid violet. Sexy dark berry preserve, floral pastille and spicecake scents are complemented by suggestions of woodsmoke, licorice and cracked pepper. Round and expansive on the palate, offering appealingly sweet boysenberry and cherry preserve flavors and a touch of star anise. Closes supple, smoky and extremely long, displaying lingering spiciness and smooth tannins.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2032