1990 J.L. Chave Hermitage Rouge
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1990 is spectacular. When I arrived at 6:00 p.m., September 11, 2001, at Domaine Chave, I found Chave in tears and his family distraught. I had heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center, but not the subsequent collapse of both towers. Gerard Chave knows all about suicidal bombers, having served in the French military during the Algerian revolution. It took a long time to gather sufficient focus to do my tastings. However, the brilliant wines that unfolded in the cellars were, at least for several hours, a much needed antidote for pushing to the back of my mind the horror of 9-11-01.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Ruby-red. Sauvage yet extremely youthful aromas of dark berries, leather, minerals and spices; some high tones quickly dissipated with aeration. Huge, thick, extravagantly rich Hermitage; harmonious even if it still closed in the middle. Extremely unevolved dark berry flavors and a deep core of spice are complicated by notes of wild game and roasted plum. Extraordinary combination of power and finesse. Finishes with explosive length and big, thoroughly ripe tannins.
*#8 on the Top 100 Wines of 1994* Such rich fruit, jammed with plum, herb, licorice, meat, spice and tar flavors, that you almost overlook the muscular tannins and think you could drink it now. Don't. This wine is concentrated and built to age. Wild and distinctive, it's a beautiful representation of the northern Rhône at its best.
Pale lustrous ruby - slightly bluer than the Chapoutier Sizeranne 1990 - but very nuanced towards the rim. Very savoury and intense on the nose. Rich essence of northern Rhône Syrah. Transparent and very fine. More sweetness on the finish than on the Sizeranne - wonderfully long. But the tannins are only perceptible on the very finish. Really lively and actually this is lightening up. Ready to drink, I'd say, to judge from this bottle. 18.5/20 points. Drink to 2022.