1997 M. Chapoutier "De L'Oree" Hermitage 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. It is a huge, chewy, multidimensional wine with spectacular concentration and richness. Notes of white flowers, honey, minerals, and peaches are present in astronomical quantities. In short, this wine must be tasted to be believed. (RP)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
More polite but superripe aromas of apple and honey. Very rich on the palate, with flavors of apple, honey and hazelnut complicated by suggestions of roasted herbs, grass and white flowers. Fat, dense and satisfying. This is over 14% alcohol with no chaptalization.
100% Marsanne from old vines (60 to 70 years old) guarantee low yields and a quality production. The grapes producing De l’Orée come from Les Murets plot. This soil is made up of very old fluvioglacial alluvial deposits. After pressing, the must is cold-settling for around 24 hours. About 50% is vinified in big wooden barrels (600 liters) with regular stirrings of the lees, the rest is in vats, and is then matured on lees with regular stirrings for 6 months. Before bottled, the casks are checked with frequent tastings. The maturation lasts between 10 and 12 months. The wine is well-rounded, full bodied, and very complex with overtones of ripe fruits, and baking spices. Very long finish, with a fresh final note. According to the vintage, the wine can be kept from 30 to 60 years, indeed from 50 to 75 years.