Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rhone Wine, Complete Guide

JL Chave Hermitage Domaine 1 Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rhone Wine, Complete Guide

Everything about Jean Louis Chave, Hermitage, Rhone wine producer profile with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, wine ratings, a history of the property, information on wine making and terroir, along with wine tasting reviews and images. If you want to read about other important wineries and wine makers from the Rhone valley: Links to all Rhone Valley Wine Producer Profiles

Domaine JL Chave History, Overview

The label today reads Domaine JL Chave. But the story of this Rhone producer doesn’t start here. It goes a long way back. In fact, the Chave family is one of the oldest names in the world of wine. They have been producing one of the world’s greatest wines since 1481! The label bears an inscription commemorating this achievement, “Vignerons de Père en Fils depuis 1481”, which is translated to, Vine growers from father to son since 1481! The Chave family began cultivating vineyards and making wine in what we now know as the St. Joseph appellation. They stared buying land on the Hill of Hermitage in 1865. The land and family business of making great Rhone wine continues being passed from generation to generation. Most recently from father to son with Gerard Chave to Jean Louis Chave. Jean Louis Chave is the 16th generation of his family to manage the famous Hermitage producer.

The Chave family made the move to Hermitage following the attack of phylloxera that struck most of Europe’s vineyards in the late 19th century. The Chave family began producing wine in Mauves, when they entered the wine business. In fact, this is where the Chave family still produces their Hermitage wine today. In late 2014, JL Chave completed a renovation and extension of their cellars.

Domaine Jean Louis Chave Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Wines, Winemaking

JL Chave produces 2 Hermitage Rouge wines and 1 Hermitage Blanc wine.

Jl Chave owns 14 hectares of vines in Hermitage. 10 hectares are planted to Syrah and are used to produce 2, Hermitage Rouge wines, JL Chave Hermitage and Chave Cuvee Cathelin. The vines are old, with an average age of 50 years, give or take a few years. The remaining 4 hectare of vines are planted to 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. The grape vines for their white Rhone wine are even older than their red wine vines as they are mostly more than 60 years of age. Along with the Frey family who own Jaboulet and Michel Chapoutier, the Chave family owns the largest percentage of planted hectares in the Hermitage appellation.

Jl Chave Hermitage Blanc2 300x259 Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rhone Wine, Complete Guide

The key to the beauty and complexity found in JL Chave Hermitage comes their mastery of blending. While for the red wines, the only grape used is Syrah, the wine is produced from a melange of fruit sources that come out of some of the best plots in the entire Hermitage appellation. The vineyards are dispersed over the hill of Hermitage. In total, they have vines spread among 14 different parcels in 9 vineyards, or lieux-dits.

The red wine grapes are planted in Bessards, L’Hermite, Peleat, Meal, Beaume, Diognieres and Vercandiered vineyards. The 2 hectares of vines on Bessards is considered by many people to be the heart and soul of the JL Chave wine. With the wide variety of terroir the vines of JL Chave are planted in, as expected, the types of soils are equally varied. The vineyards have a terroir of rocky soils ranging from granite, limestone, schist, clay and sandstone soil. The Bessards lieu-dit has a terroir that is mostly, steep granite hillside soils. They have old vines. On Bessards, the average vine age is 50 years. However, the oldest vines on Bessards are more than 80 years of age. Their parcels located on Les Rocoules and Peleat have vines that are even older at over 85 years of age.

The white wine grapes for Chave are planted in 5 hectares of vines that come from Les Rocoules, L’Hermite, Peleat, Maison Blanches and other vineyards. Les Rocoules has some of the oldest white wine grapes in the Northern Rhone, with vines that are more than 80 years old.

Jean Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge

Since 1991, JL Chave has been using mostly stainless steel, along with 3 wooden open top fermenters for alcoholic fermentation. The fruit is destemmed. Interestingly, this practice took place during the production of wines during the 1800’s, but that fell out of favor late in the 20th century. The fruit from each terroir is vinified separately.

For the red wine of Chave, the grapes are usually partially, but not always fully destemmed. In very ripe years, a portion, up to 50% of the stems might be left on the grapes. It really varies from vintage to vintage. Vinification takes place in a combination of cement vats, stainless steel and old, open, French oak barrels. Each parcel is vinified and aged separately, until the blending takes place.

Depending on the vintage, malolactic fermentation can take place in casks, vats or tank. Once fermentation has been completed, the wine is moved the large 228 liter oak barrels for ageing. The wines of Jean Louis Chave are aged in barrel for about 18 months. The amount of new oak varies from 10-20%, depending on the vintage. The used barrels range in age from 1-5 years which can come from Burgundy. Jean Louis Chave has been reducing the amount of new oak with time. His logic is, with refined tannins, the wine does not need that much new oak. The wine is blended after 18 months in barrel, usually in July. Jean Louis Chave waits for 60-90 days after blending before bottling. The production of Chave Hermitage rouge ranges from 2,000 to 2,500 cases per vintage.

JL Chave Hermitage Blanc

For the white wine of JL Chave, the grapes are vinified in a combination of 33% in French oak casks and 67% in stainless steel tanks. The blend for Chave Hermitage Blanc is almost always 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. Following malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked off its fine lees. The wines are then aged in a combination of mostly new and used, French oak barrels, with a small portion that is also aged in stainless steel tanks for up to 18 months before bottling. For JL Chave Hermitage Blanc, the average production is close to 1,250 cases per year.

Jean Louis Chave Cuvee Cathelin

For this traditional domaine, it’s interesting that they produce a luxury wine, Cuvee Cathelin, which made its debut with the 1990 vintage. The wine is named after their close friend, Bernard Cathelin, who is a well-known French artist. JL Chave Cuvee Cathelin is produced from a different blend of the same fruit that is used for JL Chave. Most of the grapes used to produce Chave Cuvee Cathelin come from the Les Bessards lieu-dit. The wine is intended to have more concentration and finesse. It is also distinguished by the fact that Chave Cuvee Cathelin sees much more new, French oak barrels during its aging period. When the wine is produced, and it is not made in every vintage, in fact, the wine is only made in the best years. The production of Cuvee Cathelin is close to 200 cases. Due to the tiny production of Cuvee Cathelin, the wine sells for a massive premium in the market. It’s not worth the extra money in my opinion, especially as some vintages are close to $5,000 per bottle! In some vintages, I have preferred the regular JL Chave Hermitage.

But I have started rethinking my position on Chave Cuvee Cathelin. A bottle of the 1990, tasted in late 2016, blew me away. It was rich, concentrated, lush and showed an incredible, voluptuous character. It as not light, or as refined, but it offered a stunning, fruit profile, with a finish that did not quit.

JL Chave Vin de Paille

Jean Louis Chave also produces a minuscule amount of Vin de Paille, a dessert wine made from grapes left to dry on straw mats for 3 months. The wine is then vinified and aged in oak barrels. It can take about 24 months, before the fermentation is completed. The wine is then aged for about 48 months before bottling. The blend is on average, 90% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne. Interestingly, JL Chave Vin de Paille is quite high in alcohol, reaching a whopping 16% with the 1990. Yet, there is no sensation of heat. The wine is incredibly unctuous, fresh, intense and sweet, and is far from cloying. JL Chave Vin de Paille is not made in every vintage. In fact, the wine has only been produced in 1952, 1974, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997 and 2000 so far. On average, when it is made, up to 1,000 half bottles are released. Although, in some years, the production can be even less! Due to its extremely low production, coupled with its high quality, JL Chave Vin de Paille is now one of the world’s most expensive sweet, white dessert wines.

They also make a wine from vines they own in the St. Joseph appellation.

The best vintages of JL Chave Hermitage are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1985, 1983, 1982 and 1978. Older vintages of JL Chave Hermitage are close to impossible to find. But with the wines uncanny ability to age and evolve, I imagine they would be great, if you could ever locate a bottle or two. I would guess they would also be quite expensive, but if you have a bottle, and are willing to invite me to taste it with you, I am on my way.

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Serving and Decanting Domaine JL Chave with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Domaine JL Chave is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-4 hours, depending on the character of the vintage. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Domaine JL Chave is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Domaine JL Chave is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

The white wine of Domaine JL Chave is best served with a myriad of different seafood dishes, shellfish, crab, lobster, sushi, sashimi, chicken, pork and veal, as well as Asian cuisine.

JL Chave Hermitage is considered by many people to be the best wine produced in the appellation. In select vintages, they are 100% right. The wine is concentrated, rich, deep, elegant, balanced and has finesse that few other wines offer. The wine is not much fun to drink young. JL Chave Hermitage drinks best with at least 20 years of bottle age.

From the most recent vintages, the wine to own is the other worldly 2003 JL Chave. The wine is so thick, rich and intense, with a tidal wave of perfectly, ripe, dense, pure fruit. It’s not a traditional style of Jean Louis Chave. The wine has not budged an inch since it was bottled. In time, this will offer an unparalleled tasting experience. For a fully mature vintage of JL Chave, 1990 is sublime. It has everything a great wine needs. It comes with a scary high price. But if you want to experience the greatness of Chave and understand why wine lovers have coveted these wines for centuries, this is worth tasting a bottle of.

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Wine Tasting Notes

35 Vintages 256528 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2010Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)95 pts

Still primary, with a boatload of sweet, fresh lemons, hints of pineapple and candied grapefruit. Thick and intense, yet fresh, balanced and long.

95 points - Tasted
2009Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)97 pts

Showing much better than when last tasted a few years ago. The wine is intense, powerful, concentrated, vibrant and fresh, with load of sweet, slightly honeyed lemon, grapefruit, flowers and stone notes. Luscious in texture, the wine leaves a long impression of fruit and freshness.

97 points - Tasted

Deep yellow in color, the wine is rich, full bodied with minerality, citrus, melon, floral, honey, spice and a touch of banana, the 2009 JL Chave Hermitage Blanc is plush, balanced and mouth filling.

95 points - Tasted
2008Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)91 pts

The lightest vintage of JL Chave Hermitage I remember tasting. Elegant, perhaps Burgundian is the best term for this wine. There is personality, along with a very, bright, if not crisp red fruit character, which all adds up to early drinkability, but this is a not a vintage for long term aging.

91 points - Tasted

Clearly, this is the lightest vintage of Chave Hermitage I recall tasting. Medium bodied, not much tannin, soft, easy and elegant in style, the fruit is clean, fresh and pure, but there is not enough of it to make this interesting for long term drinking. This is already fine to drink today.

90 points - Tasted
2007Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)95 pts

Of course this is still young. But for Chave Hermitage, it's one of the few vintages that will offer pleasure early, that is early for Chave. With a good depth of color, the polished textures and mineral driven, spicy cherry griotte filled wine looks, smells and feels great in all the right places. Another 5 years will add a lot of texture and complexity to the wine.

95 points - Tasted
2005Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)97 pts

Power, finesse and a forward style sums things up nicely. From there, the levels of concentrated, dark, red fruits, pepper and earth take over. The tannins feel soft and polished, the finish delivers purity and soft, regal textures. This is a beauty and for Chave, the wine is already fun to drink, making this one of the earlier drinking vintages ever produced from the domaine.

97 points - Tasted

I do not taste young Chave Hermitage often. This bottle reminded me why I usually give the wine at least a decade before popping a bottle. Gobs of pepper, blackberry liqueur, stone, juicy plums and earthy notes catch your attention. Powerful, full bodied, concentrated and tannic, the wine fills your mouth with flavor, freshness and mouth drying tannin. Wines meant to age are interesting to taste young, but most of the time they are not a lot of fun to drink. This needs at least another decade before it becomes civilized. Based on this bottle, it's going to be worth the wait.

96 points - Tasted
2005Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)95 pts

Rich, fat, honeyed, semi sweet, citrus fruits and floral elements are all over the place. The wine is full bodied, long, fresh and plush. This should age well.

95 points - Tasted
2003Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)100pts

The color of black, purple ink, the fragrance explodes with licorice, coffee, jam, prune, black raspberries, plums, black cherry liqueur, truffle and smoke. With its massive levels of concentration, it's hard to understand how everything is kept in perfect balance and harmony. This amazing wine coats your mouth, palate and tongue with intensity of flavor that seems to last for close to 90 seconds! This wine has not budged an inch since the day it was bottled. It is a thoroughly, unique expression of Hermitage that might not please traditionalists. But tasters seeking something out of the ordinary, yet refined, pure and intense will love it!

98 points - Tasted

Inky, black, purple in color, with a nose filled with jammy blackberry, cassis, oak, plum liqueur, licorice and black cherry. Thick, rich, intense, powerful, juicy and concentrated with multiple layers of fat, sexy fruit. The seamless finish remains on your palate for over 90 seconds! This is not a typical Chave. But who cares? It's an amazing wine! Drink now, or hold for decades. This is a serious wine that deserves to be experienced by wine lovers.

100 points - Tasted

Completely opaque. The perfume explodes from the glass grabbing control of your senses. But, the fruit... "Oh My F-ing God!" This wine is liquefied essence of Hermitage. It's as if you took the soul of the region, concentrated its best essence, liquefied and bottled it. The only wine I tasted young that was this compelling was 03 La Mouline. 03 Chave is so concentrated, it's off the charts! This is so rich, thick and dense, I do not know what to say. It's almost a reduction of Syrah. But, it's also perfectly balanced. Everything is in proportion. There is no heat from these wines.

100 points - Tasted
2003Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)89 pts

Ripe, aromatic and concentrated, but flabby in texture. Needs more acidity to give it life.

89 points - Tasted
2001Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)94 pts

This beautiful, refined Chave offers ripe black raspberry, griotte, blackberries, earth, mineral, kirsch and animalistic aromas. Medium bodied, refined, soft and approachable, this is close to entering its prime time drinking window. It reminds me of a younger version of the 1991 Chave Hermitage.

94 points - Tasted

This early maturing vintage of Chave offers earth, spicy blackberries, cassis and dark cherries. Light in weight for Chave Hermitage, it's refined as well as bright in character. Already starting to drink well, the wine ends with a melange of peppery, red fruits and spice.

93 points - Tasted
2000Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)93 pts

This is produced from a blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. This thick, rich concentrated wine offers grilled nut aromatics with citrus, peaches, flowers, stone and a hint of honey.

93 points - Tasted
2000Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin  (Hermitage)93 pts

Clearly powerful, dense and strong, the wine was quite bright, if not almost too acidic. The fruit ran from sweet to tart, with a focus on the spicy tart side. I could see the quality and style, to a point, but while good, it was far from great.

93 points - Tasted
2000Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)92 pts

The fruit has a nice purity, there is ample body and concentration allowing the wine to take up enough room on your palate But the tannins are dry, which takes away from overall experience and the finish.

92 points - Tasted
1999Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)97 pts

This is a meaty, dense, concentrated, powerful wine that grabs your senses. Layers of fruit pour over your palate while the perfume explodes from your glass! 99 Chave is not shy. It’s a huge wine, but it sports impeccable balance. The finish lasted over :40.

97 points - Tasted

Decanted for several hours offered layers of thick, deep, black fruit with black raspberry and dark cherry flavors. Slightly rustic. Very tannic. 99 Chave will probably flesh out in another 10-15 years. Infanticide to open at this stage

94 points - Tasted

Pitch black color with notes of deep, black, ripe fruit, pepper, spearmint and herbs. Huge wine. Very extracted, rich and complex. The mouthfeel takes over every nook and cranny of your tasting senses. Amazing stuff. Very young, will age for decades.

97 points - Tasted
1999Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)87 pts

99 Chave Blanc was tight. With effort, smoke, citrus, petrol and earth were found on the nose of this thick, oily wine. Young and tight, this will hopefully be better with age.

87 points - Tasted
1998Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)96 pts

Deep ruby in color, with a perfume filled with pepper, stone, black raspberries, kirsch and licorice. Full bodied, powerful, yet elegant, this packed and stacked, graceful Hermitage wine demands at least another 5 or more years before it really begins to show its true colors. This was about $80 on release. Those were the days.

96 points - Tasted
1998Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)94 pts

Yelllow gold in color, the wine needed a lot of coaxing to find the floral, honeysuckle, tapioca, lemon and honeydew aromatics. This rich textured wine finishes with soft, sweet yellow plum and citrus flavors. This seems like it will drink early for a Chave Blanc. These usually need a lot more time.

94 points - Tasted

Extremely viscous, good tears. Honey Suckle, spices and white pepper. Good acid with tropical tones

94 points - Tasted
1997Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)93 pts

Soft, silky, fresh, sweet cherries, earth and stone in personality, this was incredibly easy to drink with pleasure. This is a finesse styled Chave Hermitage with a lot of charm and easy drinkability.

93 points - Tasted

Black cherry, blackberry, pepper, earth, iron and spice notes made up the perfume. Kirsch, crushed rock, green olive tapenade and stemmy flavors were found in the finish, Close to fully mature. This is a forward style of Chave.

92 points - Tasted
1996Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)91 pts

Better on the earthy, red dark berry and spicy nose than on the medium bodied, slightly tart, firm palate. Air might improve this wine, but I doubt it.

90 points - Tasted

This elegantly styled Hermitage is open and ready for business. Soft, medium bodied, mature and delivering all of its fresh, spicy red berries and earth, this is not a Chave for long term aging. I liked the wine, but it clearly lacks the weight and density of the better vintages.

91 points - Tasted
1996Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)91 pts

A deep gold color. Thick texture with a ripe, almost honeyed taste. Good length and palate filling.

91 points - Tasted
1995Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)97 pts

I was surprised by how much fun this was to drink as I expected it be more firm, and in need of time. Happily, this was rocking! Concentrated, with freshness, as with most 1995 wines, there is a masculine edge to the wines character, but with air, the wine really starting showing its elegant side. Great textures, intriguing aromatics and loads of perfectly ripe fruit, all in balance and working together, this is a really nice vintage for Chave.

97 points - Tasted

Ruby with hints of light brick in the color, the perfume reeks of truffles, earth, forest floor, fresh cracked black pepper, rocks, herbs and griotte. Lush and powerful, with sweet black cherries, kirsch, strawberry jam and spice flavors, the wine feels great on your palate where it delivers an array of spice, cherries and plums. Decanted about 90 minutes, this sublime Chave Hermitage is drinking perfectly today. There is still some tannin to resolve. This will improve over the next several years.

96 points - Tasted
1995Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)95 pts

Lemon wax, honeysuckle, slate, petrol, vanilla, butterscotch and citrus scents are evident with little effort. Full bodied, concentrated and rich, with round, thick, oily textures, this powerful Hermitage wine ends with long, spicy, fresh lemon sensation.

93 points - Tasted

Honeyed fruit and flower made for an enjoyable perfume. Full bodied, balanced but slightly tight finish. Needs several more years before reaching maturity.

92 points - Tasted

Deep color. Flowers, fresh cut grass, honey and tropical fruits on the nose. Very thick and concentrated on the palate. Well balanced. The finish was high pitched

95 points - Tasted
1994Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)93 pts

Strawberry, dark cherry, spice and rocks in the nose. This medium bodied wine improved in the glass over 2 hours finishing in waves of soft, silky ripe cherry tones.

93 points - Tasted

Medium, purple, ruby color. Spicy, cinnamon, cherries, blackberry, pepper and minerals on the nose. Full bodied. Surprisingly accessible for such a young Chave. Very elegant and balanced wine.

93 points - Tasted
1991Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)95 pts

What a nice surprise! I've always liked this wine, but this bottle rocked it! Licorice, blackberry, cherry, iron, earth, citrus peel, pepper, minerality and earthy scents paired perfectly with the powerful, concentrated, full bodied personality of the wine. Refined, elegant and intense, this sublime Hermitage wine ends with a long, fresh, spicy, black cherry filled finish. Still young, this will age and improve for decades.

95 points - Tasted

The nose offered minerals, herbs, coffee, spicy fruit, fresh pepper and earthy scents reip black & red fruits. The palate enjoyed lush, deep, opulent fruit filled flavors ending in waves of rich, spicy, ripe black rapsberry.

93 points - Tasted
1991Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)94 pts

With its rich color and honeyed, floral fragrance, this was a stellar example of an aging Hermitage. Still young and fresh, this will continue improving and offering pleasure for a long time.

94 points - Tasted

Good weight, viscous and balanced. Earthy, spicy, caramel nose with hints of honeysuckle. Tropical fruits on the palate. Still youthful with a good finish.

93 points - Tasted
1990Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)100pts

Spicy, fresh, pure, full bodied, rich, long and pure. The wine is decadent, yet intellectual. Powerful, regal, long and character driven, this is really in a great place for current drinking.

98 points - Tasted

This specific bottle was mind boggling. With about an hour of air, the wine kicked off with a fresh, kirsch, tobacco personality. Full, deep and concentrated, with a few hours in the glass, the wine moved to a primal, beef blood, garrigue, cherry griotte and iron character, that really lingered on your palate. With 5 hours of air, the last sip kept it all together. Drink now, or wait a decade. What a wine!

100 points - Tasted

A breathtaking nose packed with a cornucopia of spices, leather, earth, kirsch, cherry, black raspberry, truffle, tobacco and minerality led to a perfectly balanced mouth full of sweet, ripe and almost underripe melange of red and dark berries. Long, fresh, clean and with intense purity of fruit, the wine expands in the mouth whle the nose gains in complexity. 1990 JL Chave Hermitage is about as good as Northern Rhone gets and it's starting to drink perfectly. Age it longer if you want, or pop a bottle today. Either way, you're in for a special treat. This bottle was popped and poured after a quick splash decanting.

99 points - Tasted

This is serious wine! What more could you want? The striking perfume with its array of red fruits, spice, iron, crushed stone, flowers and earthy scents grabs your attention. On the palate, it's rich, intense, refined, elegant and sensuous. The finish is packed with seamless layers of sweet, ripe, polished red fruit, that builds with each sip. This beautiful expression of Hermitage is close to mature.

99 points - Tasted

Crushed stone, earth, kirsch, fresh strawberry, red plum forest floor, spice and blackberry aromas make up the complex perfume. The wine is powerful, refined and balanced with an intensity of flavor ending in ripe cassis and cherry sensations. This is edging closer to maturity and merits being tasted today.

97 points - Tasted

Concentration with cherries, black fruit, minerals, iron and spices give this wine a stellar personality. This Hermitage is drinking great today. But, with time, I expect this will continue improving.

98 points - Tasted

This deep, ruby colored wine offers a melange of dark black and red fruits with an array of herbs and spices. The fruit had a roasted quality similar to 90 Bordeaux. Concentrated and long, this pakced and stacked wine is elegant in style. Still young and tannic, consumers with patience will be amply rewarded.

96 points - Tasted

Explosive perfume filled with ripe black fruit, spice, earth, dark cherry and minerality. Intense, rich, concentrated and full bodied. Still young. Round tannins. Long deep, black plummy finish that really fills your palate. This wine perfectly marries elegance, power and depth.

98 points - Tasted
1990Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin  (Hermitage)100pts

Mind blowing juice! I've had this wine a few times, and was never really impressed, in part, because of the oak treatment. Obviously, the secret was not waiting 27 years because I could not believe how great this was! Truffle, wet forest floor, black cherries, earth, spice, pepper and herbs only gets the party started! There is an insane opulent texture, tremendous concentration and a finish that does not quit. Voluptuous in nature, yet, pure, sexy and regal, this stunner is off the charts.

100 points - Tasted

I never run across bottles of this rarity, so it was with excitement that I raised the glass to my nose for my first swirl, sniff and taste. Coffee, chocolate, licorice, black cherry and blackberry aromas were easy to find. This full bodied, concentrated wine did not seem as rich or complex as the normal Chave, which seems to express more minerality. Still young, I hope I get another chance to try it again as I know this wine is an incredible rarity.

96 points - Tasted
1990Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Vin de Paille  (Hermitage)98 pts

Now, here's a wine I thought I'd never see, let alone taste. Copper/orange in hue, the orange theme carries through with its focus on orange, apricot, tangerine, flowers and honeysuckle. At 16% alcohol, there was no touch of heat. The wine was sweet, not not overly sugary. Rich, unctuous, fleshy and silky, the wine improved in the glass for more than an hour. My instincts say, another decade of bottle age will make this stunner even better!

98 points - Tasted
1989Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)97 pts

Showing better than ever. Purity of fruit, iron, tobacco and sweet red fruits are all over the place. The wine feels silky, soft and polished. There is a great richness and purity of fruit in the fresh, red berry finish.

97 points - Tasted

Sometime's you get lucky with older bottles. This was probably the best example of 1989 Chave I have ever tasted. With about 90 minutes of decanting, the perfume exploded with earth, wild cherries, spice, pepper, herbs, pepper and stone. Full bodied rich, intense, fresh, balanced and long, everything was exacatly where it was supposed to be. Clearly, this was in the perfect place.

97 points - Tasted

This is not the majestic 1990 Chave. But at half the price, and considering it's almost as good, if you're seeking a Chave with bottle age, this is wine to buy. With its sauvage, blackberry, cherry, earthy, leafy, peppery, fresh herb filled nose, each sip of this concentrated wine gets better and better in the glass. Combining power and grace, this is still young and fresh, but there is no reason not to pull a cork at this stage.

96 points - Tasted

With effort and patience, notes of black fruit, iron and earth could be found. Huge, full-bodied. Structured, tannic wine. Better in 10 years.

93 points - Tasted

Black fruit, herbs, spices and cassis make a beautiful aromatic profile. This is a huge, concentrated wine. Very powerful. This takes over your palate with thick, rich, dense black fruit and spices.

94 points - Tasted

Dark color. Tannic, herbs, spices and jammy fruits on the nose. Full bodied. Concentrated and complex. Needs time

94 points - Tasted

Multiple layers of thick, rich, ripe fruit, balance, complex aromatics and a lengthy, seamless finish. Another 5 years will open this wine out and flesh it out.

96 points - Tasted

This was packed with jammy, black fruit and spices. Very thick and concentrated. Dense, full-bodied wine. Great palate presence and a long, black, ripe, fruit filled finish. More bottle age will help, but this is beginning to show its charms.

95 points - Tasted
1988Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)94 pts

A treat indeed. Splash decanted, the wine was perched between, rustic charm and refinement. Sweet, red fruits, iron, earth and stone notes were all over the place. Not as concentrated or lush as the top years, but quite complex, charming and fully mature.

94 points - Tasted

Dark colored wine with a smoky, spicy quality to the ripe black fruit aromas. This reminds me of how the 83 tasted a few years ago.

93 points - Tasted

This potent perfume greets you with aromatics of baked cherries, fresh leaves, truffles, spice, iron, earth and black pepper. Big, juicy and powerful, this mouth filling wine ends with sweet and sour cherry and strawberry filled finish. While drinking well now, a few more years will soften the wine and add complexity.

94 points - Tasted

Deep colored with a perfume reminiscent of spicy, black fruit and cherries blended with minerals. The powerful, palate presence mixed black and red fruits with a great cherry core. Full bodied and close to full maturity, the wine continued improving in the glass over a few hours.

94 points - Tasted

Deep ruby color. Red and black fruits, sandalwood, earth and cassis on the nose. Very lush texture and already close to mature.

92 points - Tasted
1988Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)90 pts

Peaches, toast, pears and floral aromas on the nose. Big, full-bodied wine. Nice weighty mouth feel.

90 points - Tasted
1985Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)93 pts

The core of iron wrapped, ripe, pure cherry and cassis fruit popped from the glass. Full bodied, rich and close to fully evolved. This is drinking great today and while it will age effortlessly for several years, there is no reason to hold off from enjoying its charms.

93 points - Tasted

Pale ruby in color, with baked cherries, incense, smoke, wet earth, garrigue and spearmint aromas. Soft and supple in texture with strawberry, tart cherries, iron, tapenade and red plums in the finish. This is fully mature and not quite as fresh as I remember it. Based on this bottle, I'm going to drink my few remaining bottles over the next couple of years.

91 points - Tasted

85 Chave smells like fresh baked cherry pie, tobacco, barnyard, herbs, cassis, earth and spice. This mature Hermitage finishes with a blend of dried, spicy cherries.

93 points - Tasted
1983Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)96 pts

Fully mature, with a beautiful, fresh, ripe, stony, spicy, rocky, red berry essence that pairs acidity and sweetness to perfection. Splash decanted and poured, the wine shows more elegance and complexity that power at this stage. The tannins are fully integrated. There is no reason to age this any longer, it is at peak today.

95 points - Tasted

Still delivering the goods, the wine is stony, earthy, rustic and packed with kirsch and cherry griotte. There is a nice depth of flavor, complexity and character here. But there is probably no upside to further aging.

93 points - Tasted

This was love at first sight. Or was it at the first sniff, swirl or sip? Either way, the beautiful bouquet of earth, cherries, spice and stone was a treat. On the palate, picture, supple, extremely ripe, melted cherries with a beautiful sensation of sweetness, freshness and purity of fruit. At close to 30 years of age, this is drinking in the perfect spot. If you have a bottle, try it.

96 points - Tasted

With a beguiling nose of blackberry, earth, fresh herbs, tobacco and strawberry, this balanced, charming and elegant wine ends with spicy black and red fruits. Fully mature, there is no reason to wait.

94 points - Tasted

Aromatically, this wine offers ripe red fruits, minerality, spice and dark berries. Bright in profile, this spicy wine seems mature.

92 points - Tasted

Pale ruby color. Herbs, black & red fruit, licorice, coffee, cigar ash, wet forest aromas. Good verve. Better on the nose than the palate. Cherries and high toned red fruits in the mouth. I've had better bottles.

92 points - Tasted
1982Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)95 pts

Drinking perfectly today, the wine is full bodied, rich, spicy and packed with lusty, earthy, sweet, red fruits that show the right amount of of patina to its age. There is no reason to age this further, but there is no hurry to drink it either. This is really a stellar example of older Chave Hermitage.

95 points - Tasted

Grab a handful of ripe, semi ripe, and a few over ripe cherries, add fresh earth and stones, toss in a bit of barnyard scents, silky textures, refreshing acidity and some cherry stems for good measure, blend well, and you have an idea of what 1982 Chave is like. Interestingly, while this is a wine I would not decant, it improved after a few hours in the glass.

93 points - Tasted

Bricky, ruby colored throwing a lot of sediment. The nose was filled with jammy strawberries, herbs and notes of brown sugar. The palate had a sexy, rich, mouth feel that slid over your tongue and excited your palate. Full bodied and fully mature, this is a very, hedonistic bottle of wine. Better on the nose than the palate, but who cares? I loved it! This is very sensuous juice. It evolved in the glass for 3 hours

95 points - Tasted

Mountains of ripe fruit, great aromatics, a long finish. Clearly all the elements have come together making this an outstanding Hermitage. A good descriptor is, the 82 combines the best attributes of the 88 and 90 vintages. While the 89/90 are much better wines, I prefer tasting the 82 today

95 points - Tasted

The texture and aromatics, as well as the palate presence was sublime. The seldom tasted 82 is well worth seeking out. It’s a great style of Chave filled with ripe red and black fruit, minerality and spice.

95 points - Tasted
1982Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Blanc  (Hermitage)92 pts

This is deep, gold in color. Full of minerals, flowers and sweet, ripe fruit, with great body, concentration and an exotic texture, this wine gives a lot of pleasure.

92 points - Tasted
1978Domaine Jean-Louis Chave  (Hermitage)96 pts

With 30 minutes of decanting, floral, cherries, tobacco, menthol and fresh herbs for days crop up in the nose. Pure silk, soft textured, medium bodied, fresh, lively, spicy, sweet, cherries keep on going on the palate and in the finish. Fully mature, this was a particularly strong bottle of this increasingly hard to find wine.

96 points - Tasted

Light ruby in color, with a nose filled with earth, stone, spice, fresh cherries, smoke, black raspberry and peppery scents. Medium bodied, with soft, refined textures, the wine ends with ripe, lush, spicy, red fruits. This wine is more about the nose than the palate. This is fully mature. If I owned any, I'd drink it sooner than later.

94 points - Tasted