1996 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage

SKU #997672 94 points Wine Enthusiast

 In 1996 this extraordinary producer of Hermitage made a wine for the long haul. At release, it displayed superb fruit, bacon, anise, and tobacco flavors, all enveloped by huge tannins. Now it is going through a dumb stage, though the structure is there. Give it ten or 15 years and it will become something extraordinary.  (11/1999)

93 points Wine Spectator

 This has mouthwatering cut from the start, with white pepper, tobacco, iron and dried currant notes rippling along, showing still-vivacious acidity underneath and a long, mesquite- and cedar-filled finish that has excellent drive. This is a high-acid vintage and stands a bit apart from the flight stylistically.—Non-blind Chave vertical (June 2012). Drink now through 2020. (JM, Web-2012)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Saturated, deep ruby-red. Aromatic, pure aromas of cassis, mocha, iris and Cuban tobacco. Supple and fruity, with the Burgundian floral aspect shown by so many Northern Rhône wines from this vintage. Very fresh and juicy; pure and sharply delineated. Not at all a southern style of syrah. A wine with excellent thrust but not a particularly powerful style of Hermitage. Very long, violety aftertaste. This should be slower to close down than the '95.  (8/1999)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A late vintage that’s compared to 2013 by Jean-Louis, yet that carried more crop, the 1996 Hermitage is a juicy, medium-bodied effort that’s ready to go. Giving up classic herbed game, bacon fat and sweet fruit, it should continue to evolve gracefully, but there’s no reason to hold off here. (JD)  (8/2014)

Jancis Robinson

 Lustrous ruby. Meaty, peppery, very evolved nose. Quite a bit of dryness. Nice to drink now. 17.5/20 points. Drink 2009-2027. (JR)  (11/2011)

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Price: $209.99
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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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