2012 M. Chapoutier "Le Méal" Ermitage Rouge (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1150153 99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A wine I seem to like more and more every time I taste it, the 2012 Ermitage le Meal is easily the most extroverted, decadent and voluptuously styled Hermitage from this team. Coming from the more limestone soils and warmest spot on Hermitage hill, it exhibits incredible notes of cassis, blackberry, liquid violets, smoked earth and licorice. Full-bodied, deeply fruited and incredibly sexy, it nevertheless never puts a foot wrong, seems weightless in the mouth and offers blockbuster length. I'd happily drink this awesome Hermitage anytime over the coming two decades. There's a tiny 346 cases of this beauty to go around, so don't miss a chance to grab some.  (12/2014)

96 points Wine Spectator

 A nice bass line plays here, featuring dark currant, fig and blackberry confiture notes that have melded already with a broad swath of warm charcoal and ganache. Impressive, loamy grip holds the finish, though this will needs a few years to stretch out fully. Best from 2018 through 2030.  (2/2015)

95 points Antonio Galloni

 Dark purple. A highly perfumed, complex bouquet evokes ripe cherry and raspberry, along with complicating notes of candied flowers, incense and Indian spices. Sappy and expressive, with intense black raspberry and floral pastille flavors underscored by juicy acidity. Shows superb focus and lift on the finish, which lingers with outstanding tenacity; suave, supple tannins barely peak through the wine's vibrant fruit.  (2/2015)

93-95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright purple. The nose displays deeply pitched, mineral-laced scents of black raspberry, cherry-cola and violet, plus a hint of star anise. Then rich but surprisingly lively in the mouth, offering sweet red and dark berry liqueur flavors accented by exotic floral pastilles and gingerbread. Lush and creamy on the strikingly long finish, which features suave spicecake and raspberry notes.  (3/2014)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Rhone

- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market. View our bestselling Rhone Valley wines.
Specific Appellation:

Hermitage/Crozes-Hermitage