1996 M. Chapoutier "De L'Orée" Ermitage Blanc
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
It is no secret that I adore Chapoutier's luxury cuvee of white Hermitage called Cuvee L'Oree. Made from 90-year old vines and microscopic yields of 10-12 hectoliters per hectare, this wine flirts with perfection. It is a compelling white Hermitage. Made from 100% Marsanne, it is as rich and multidimensional as the fullest, most massive Montrachet money can buy. It is unctuously textured, yet extraordinarily and beautifully balanced. I suspect it will drink well early in life, and then shut down for a few years. It should last for 4-5 decades. The 1996 possesses some of the most amazing glycerin levels I have ever seen in a dry white wine. In short, this wine must be tasted to be believed.
Absolutely divine from start to finish. Shows subtle power and wonderful concentration. Reserved on the nose, silky in texture and thick on the palate, this wine is ripe with exotic flavors--melon, cream, beeswax, honey, dried herb, wet earth and smoked lard--and has an ultrasmooth finish.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Youthful aromas of honey, peach and spicy oak. Thick and very concentrated, but quite tightly wrapped. Very firmly constructed, with the racy acidity of the year giving the fruit excellent delineation. This, too, conveys a dusty, tactile sensation of extract. Very firm, long, dusty finish seems almost tannic.