1999 M. Chapoutier "Le Méal" Ermitage Rouge

SKU #1117077 98 points Wine Enthusiast

 Chapoutier's selections of the best parcels of vines in Hermitage are set to become legendary. Sold under the ancient spelling of the appellation name (Ermitage), they represent the epitome of the power and concentration that lies behind the reputation of the appellation. This cuvée is the best of the collection, with its brooding, opaque character, suggesting rather than revealing power at this stage. Age it until your new-born baby is old enough to drink, and it will be just about ready. (RV)  (6/2002)

96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Superior to both the 2000 and 2001, the 1999 Ermitage le Meal is more in the style of the 2005 (and maybe 2001) with its terrific concentration and depth paired with vibrant freshness and purity. Still ruby, opaque colored, it reveals sensational notes of black raspberries, currants, graphite, crushed rocks and pepper. Full-bodied, concentrated and focused, with a fabulous mid-palate and finish, this is a drop-dead gorgeous Hermitage to enjoy anytime over the coming 2-3 decades. (JD)  (9/2015)

95 points Wine Spectator

 Lush and round, but mostly it's a super-elegant Hermitage that warms your heart with its seductive texture and flavors. So subtle at first, with ripe fruit, mineral, wet earth and roasted game notes, it kicks into overdrive on the finish, which seems endless. Quite an experience. Drink now through 2020. (PM)  (9/2001)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright medium ruby. Superripe, liqueur-like aromas of redcurrant, blackberry and licorice. Sweet, chewy and thick, with impressive extract, depth and power. Quite backward today, with notes of red licorice, minerals and menthol, yet not at all hard. Very concentrated Hermitage for extended cellaring. (ST)  (2/2002)

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Price: $199.99
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- 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.


- 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.


- 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.
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