Wine Spectatator, July 31, 2008
($225) A big, broad-shouldered version, with
loam, tobacco, currant paste and hoisin sauce notes out in front of the
formidable tannin structure. Dark, loamy and muscular through the finish,
with a haymaker of black fruit and tarry grip. Best from 2010 through 2030.Â
Â 98 points and Collectibles Designation.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, Feb
There are 481 cases of the black/purple
2005 Ermitage Le Meal. As always, classic blackberry, asphalt, charcoal,
and beef blood notes jump from the glass of this intense wine.
Full-bodied, with staggering concentration and a personality not
terribly dissimilar from a first-growth Pauillac, but showing no
evidence of oak whatsoever (and that is in spite of being aged in 100%
new oak casks), this wine needs 10-12 years of bottle age, and should
keep for 50-100 years. 96 points
With twenty vintages under his belt, Michel Chapoutier and his impressive winemaking staff go from strength to strength. These are among the worldâ€™s greatest wines, especially the single vineyard wines, many of which will last 50 or more years.The 2006 reds from Chapoutier display good acidity and freshness. If they lack the powerful tannic structures of the 2005s, and perhaps some of that vintageâ€™s density, they are certainly not light wines. It is a vintage of finesse and concentration, but with considerable up-front charm. Again, 1991 is a useful historic reference. They are the perfect foil for those buying 2005s, which will require deferred gratification. The single-vineyard, or as Chapoutier calls them, the â€œSelections Parcellairesâ€ wines, are all aged in small barrels, often 100% new oak, and bottled with neither fining nor filtration. Production is relatively small, with the tiniest cuvee, the Crozes-Hermitage Les Varonnieres usually 200-325 cases, and the rest of the single-vineyard wines averaging around 480-625 cases. The largest is usually the St.-Joseph Les Granits or the Ermitage Le Pavillon, which can be as high as 1,000 or so cases in an abundant vintage. Again, the 2005s all exhibit the vintageâ€™s density, tannic structure, and long-term aging potential. At the same time, the 2006s at Chapoutier remind me of 1991, initially an underrated vintage of wines with ideal balance. If they lack the pure power and structure of 2005, they are well-served by their purity and equilibrium. There are four single-vineyard cuvees of Ermitage. Production is small, running from about 275-300 cases of Les Greffieux, 480-500 of Le Meal, 800-1,100 for Le Pavillon, and 200-600 for Lâ€™Ermite