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Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, L’Hermitage RougeHermitage, Northern Rhône, France 2019 (750mL)

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Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, L’Hermitage Rouge Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France 2019 (750mL)

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Christmas came two weeks early this year: Jean-Louis Chave’s universally prized, beloved, perfect-scoring 2019 “L’Hermitage” Rouge has just arrived and, once again, it’s a towering Grand Vin that makes all other Syrahs stand back in awe. Judged alongside legends like DRC, Lafite, and Rayas, Chave’s ancient family estate is a region/style/grape-defining wine dynasty that takes Hermitage to mythical levels with each explosive release.


No bottle more faithfully encompasses the history and soul of this fabled region and grape, substantiated by (1) the flawless triple-digit review this new release has received and (2) the unending list of wine collectors that have savored this mandatory crown jewel at 10, 25, and 50 years of age. In short, seldom is a wine treated with such enduring joy and reverence, and although these holy grails have become far too expensive for us to sample, we need no further convincing that Chave Hermitage is the ultimate gold standard, not just for Syrah but all of wine. Our allocation always sells out in minutes—run like the wind!




As one drives north through the Rhône Valley toward Burgundy, the hill of Hermitage dominates the horizon. This towering granite hillside looms over the small village of Tain-l'Hermitage and is world renowned for producing deep, timeless, and infinitely cellar-worthy Syrah. In this historic appellation, one family estate has been producing elite wines longer than any other: Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. It is an accepted truth that Chave’s Hermitage Rouge is simply one of the most compelling and complex wines on the planet. One of my favorite wine scholars, Jancis Robinson MW, has said that in the entire northern Rhône Valley “no one is more respected than Domaine Jean Louis Chave.” And it’s true: this is a defining wine from all angles, gracing virtually every 3-star Michelin wine list I’ve seen. It is a certified, time-tested classic and a necessary benchmark for any wine collector or enthusiast who wishes to familiarize his/herself with the world’s top tier of red wines. 


Chave’s signature “L’Hermitage” is a top selection of the “Peleat,” “Les Beaume,” “Ermite,” “Meal,” and “Bessards” lieux-dits, with the latter typically making up the largest portion of the blend. I’ve been to the cellar, and will always remember tasting Bessards: It was utterly pure and ripe with haunting perfumes that collided with a deeply mineral, smoky, blue/black-fruited palate. In the winery, all parcels are vinified and begin aging separately. Nearly all grapes are de-stemmed and the site-specific vinifications occur in a combination of wooden and stainless steel vats. Due to the heat and concentration of 2019, Chave’s fermentations ran slow and cold before the resulting wine was transferred into 228-liter French barrels for 30 months. Afterward, the different lots were meticulously blended together and the wine was bottled unfined. 


Always an opulent, complex, textural masterpiece, Chave’s “L’Hermitage” delivers an incomparable Syrah experience with exotic spice, smoke, crushed granite, leather, cured meat, savory herbs, and the finest olive tapenade money can buy. As the wine evolves in its first few years, you can generally expect dense, hearty surges of brambleberries, plum, crème de cassis, and black cherry liqueur to reel you in and keep you captivated for hours. But it’s the marriage of supernatural energy, breathtaking grace, and muscle-bound power on the luxuriant palate that’s Chave’s coveted signature. Here’s Dunnuck’s take on the 2019: 


“A potential candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2019 Hermitage is a massive, full-bodied, yet mineral-laced and undeniably classic wine from this estate. All of the components showed incredibly well, with the Le Méal offering classic sexiness, the Hermite being straight and focused, and the Bessards just as good as any Syrah out there. It shows the ripeness of the vintage, yet the purity of fruit is incredible. It’s another magical wine in an incredible series of awesome Hermitage from this family.”


If enjoying within the next five years, decant for 3+ hours, serve in massive Bordeaux stems around 60 degrees, and save a glass or two for subsequent days. Because curiosity is bound to trump patience, I highly recommend you buy more than one so that your other(s) can mature over the next several decades. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this was still humming on its 50th birthday. Give it time and it will reward you infinitely—this is one of the greatest experiences in the world of wine. Cheers!




Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, L’Hermitage Rouge Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France 2019 - SommSelect

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionNorthern Rhône
  • Sub-RegionHermitage
  • SoilGranite, Clay, Sand
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendSyrah
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakFrench Barrels
  • Service Temp.60-65° F
  • GlasswareLarge Bordeaux Stem
  • Drink2025-2060+
  • DecantingSeveral Hours
  • PairingLamb Tagine

  • CountryFrance
  • RegionNorthern Rhône
  • Sub-RegionHermitage
  • SoilGranite, Clay, Sand
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendSyrah
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakFrench Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareLarge Bordeaux Stem
  • Drinking2025-2060+
  • DecantingSeveral Hours
  • PairingLamb Tagine