Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite Chapoutier 2009 (OWC 6)
Price: $3100 / bottle
By Jeb Dunnuck (JD100)
Even more rich and concentration – and quite possibly the best white wine I’ve ever tasted – the 2009 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc l’Ermite is an unquestionably monumental wine that will stand up to any white wine in the world today! A blend of 100% Marsanne, from a tiny 3.7 acre site at the top of Hermitage hill, that was aged for 10 months in 100% new French oak, it boasts glorious aromas of lychee, toasted hazelnut, brioche, mineral, and honeycomb that literally soar from the glass. Awesomely concentrated and structured, with a deep, decadent texture that somehow stays weightless and fresh, this phenomenal wine has gorgeous acidity, perfect balance, and a blockbuster finish. Ethereal stuff that somehow manages to be both decadent and elegant at the same time, I only wish every Rhône lover could taste this wine. Given the balance and concentration, it should have 30+ years of longevity.
By Robert Parker in 2011 (RP100)
As I have written many times, all of these wines are produced from rigidly cultivated, bio-dynamically managed vineyards. That has been the rule since Michel Chapoutier first took over this firm in the late 1980s. Now, with over 20 years of biodynamic viticulture under his belt, Chapoutier remains committed to this rather radical style of organic farming. He believes the effect is to reduce rot in damp, rainy vintages. Moreover, he has observed that after 10 to 15 years of biodynamic farming, the natural acids tend to be more vivid and the overall pH of the soils (as well as the wines) has dropped. Controversial, outspoken and brutally candid, Chapoutier, who suffers no fools, continues to admirably produce wines that are among the finest in the world and potentially the longest lived. Refusing to acidify, chaptalize, or touch the wines in any way, he clearly wants every wine to capture the very essence of its terroir and vintage personality. In this, he succeeds remarkably. No one has made more effort in resurrecting the once-forgotten backwater appellation of St.-Peray than Michel Chapoutier. Working in conjunction with the famed Michelin three-star restaurant family, the Pics, Chapoutier has produced a sensational 2010 Gamme Pic and Chapoutier St.-Peray, and the first single-vineyard St.-Peray, the 2010 Lieu-Dit Peyrolles St.-Peray, which is one of the greatest St.-Perays I have ever tasted. This appellation is all steep hillside vineyards planted in pure, decomposed granite soils, not dissimilar from Hermitage, but they are located on the other side of the Rhone, facing the city of Valence. The single-vineyard wines, or selections parcellaires, 2010 whites are absolutely amazing, with production levels ranging from 300 to 700 or 800 cases of each cuvee. These wines are for true connoisseurs, as they are expensive and meant for long, long evolutions, but they capture the essence of a vintage and terroir as well as any wines in the world. As for the selections parcellaires of 2010 reds, Chapoutier likes this vintage almost as much as 2009, but feels it is very different, emphasizing more acidity and minerality, whereas 2009 is a combination of pure power, concentration and great potential longevity. Michel Chapoutier considers the 2009s, which are all in bottle, to be among the greatest wines he has ever produced, equaling his finest wines of 2006, 2003, 1999, 1990 and 1989 (his debut year).
By Wine Spectator in 2012 (WS99)
Captivating, with persimmon, dried mango, quince and Jonagold apple fruit aromas and flavors, all woven seamlessly together, while bracing quinine and salted butter notes add serious length to the finish. A sensational combination of power and precision. Best from 2016 through 2030.