2014 M. Chapoutier "de l'Orée" Ermitage Blanc (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The thickest, most unctuous, full-bodied and sexy white of the vintage is the 2014 Ermitage de l’Orée. Coming all from the sedimentary soils of the Les Murets and aged mostly in demi-muids (only 15% new), it offers a sensational perfume of caramelized peaches, campfire, honeysuckle and white flowers that literally come soaring from the glass. Possessing uncommon density, a stacked mid-palate, loads of sweet fruit and a blockbuster finish, this hedonistic effort can be drunk with incredibly pleasure today, or cellared for a decade or more. It will have three or more decades of overall longevity. Looking at the 2014 whites from Michel Chapoutier, these are gorgeous wines that show the suppler, more elegant style of the vintage, yet still have thick, unctuous textures that keep you coming back to the glass. The level of concentration this estate is able to achieve, even in these more difficult vintages, is truly remarkable. The two blockbusters that readers shouldn't miss (and that are still affordable by mere mortals) are the 2014 Hermitage Chante-Alouette and the 2014 Saint Joseph les Granits Blanc. With respect to the reds, 2013 is a serious vintage at this estate, and at the top end, they’ve produced the wines of the vintage. I suspect the top releases will shut down relatively quickly so if you’re inclined to try one young, don’t wait too long.
Bright yellow-gold. Powerful scents of white peach, pear skin and Meyer lemon, picking up floral, honey and mineral nuances with air. Broad and fleshy but sharply focused on the plate, offering intense, mineral-laced orchard and pit fruit flavors and a refreshingly bitter suggestion of citrus pith. Minerally and nervy on the penetrating, seamless and extremely persistent finish, which leaves behind honeysuckle and pear skin notes.
Cask sample. In Les Murets in the east of Hermitage. Alkaline granite. Rich, smooth nose and then very tight, mineral finish. Sculpted palate and great potential. Light toastiness on the finish. (18/20 points)