Closing out the 28th virtual tasting session was this stunning Syrah from the Northern Rhone. Opaque- deep purple in color it revealed a rich nose of game, licorice, iodine, anise, blood/iron, boysenberry, very dark fruit compote with a medicinal note as well as an image of really black blackberries. The palate was smooth. Dry with low acidity and fine-grained medium (+) tannins that led to flavors of meat, cinnamon, caramel, blackberry coulis, iodine, charred oak and iron. This full bodied wine finished with a medium length burst of delicious, complex flavors. It tied at 19 points on our scale as my WOTN and garners 94 points. For $60 this stunner is a 5 star treat wine to be drunk till 2039. I would pair it with grilled Hangar steak slathered in a Roquefort sauce. Salut….
An iconic wine from a crappy year. Yup, I bought a wine that I knew was not very good. The pro’s originally gave it high 80’s scores. It was priced at $120 per but I picked up a case at $70 a bottle, probably because nobody was buying this vintage. La Chapelle is a huge name in the wine world, some vintages are worth thousands, yes $1000’s of US dollars. It is a world class Syrah, from the famed Hermitage appellation in the Rhone Valley. Buying this wine was a once in a lifetime look into something amazing, with a storied and solid history- albeit in a mediocre year. I cellared the case for a decade before I tried the first bottle. I was hugely disappointed, it was crap. I couldn’t believe it, I had wasted nearly $850 on a whim. I tried several bottles and gave one away. The rest just sat there, forlorn in their OWC (Original Wood Case). Until Thanksgiving, when I cellar-dove to pull out some gems for the holiday season. I found the case of Hermitage and decided to empty it out and get ready to either drink or pour the last 5 bottles.
Glad I resisted the urge to dump, this wine has turned around and offers a modest drinking experience and may even be on an upswing. Vintages of this wine have been known to age gracefully for nearly a century. It is a huge wine.
Inky purple glass which is a good sign. The bottle had large deposits of sediment on the sides but there were none in the glass. Nose of garigue, violets, game and dark fruits. Mellow and smooth opening with bright fruit flavors of ripe plum, blueberry and cassis, not what I was expecting considering my previous experiences with this wine. An earthy component on the mid palate which melded well with some acidity. The tannins are fully integrated and this wine is at peak. 88/89 points were my initial and final impressions. The pro’s have since upgraded their scores to reflect the wine’s true personality. It is drinking at its best now and will go for another 5 years. If you like finesse this is a wine for you, but at this price point I think there are far better wines to search out. 2 Stars unfortunately for this rather expensive yet average drinking wine. Salut…
Syrah is synonymous with Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage. This is land where the French have perfected fine Syrah for hundreds of years. Made in a traditional style, respecting the grape, the soil and the palate. These wines are about complexity and balance, leaving the extraction and over-the-topness to New World producers who refer to it as Shiraz. This wine has started to evolve and is now taking on what I yearn for in aged wines- funk.
Purple in color, the nose had a definite pepper note mixed with some blue fruit and dirt. Sounds funny, I know, but when a wine matures and picks up barnyard, earth or other non-fruity attributes, it excites me. This wine came through with earth meets blackberry on the palate. Very smooth tannins are almost imperceptable and the acidity was in check. For an 8 year old wine, it has certainly evolved, yet I fear it will only last a few more years. It is at peak right now and would accompany a Filet perfectly. A gift from a friend that in my opinion should be a 91 pointer and worthy of 4 stars. I decanted the bottle and let it open for about an hour as it had some sediment and I figured it would benefit from ‘opening up’.
Iconic, pricey, and not so good. The label states that this wine will mature for 30 years, in Great Vintages. 1999 was not. It doesn’t help that the quality of this Domaine has declined since then either. Often seen on the auction circuit, the reputation of this wine is fearsome, but in 1999 something went amiss. I bought a case on discount, hoping for the critics to be wrong, they averaged 90 points, agreed.
Tonight, the nose is almost cooked, the wine highly alcoholic in taste even though it’s only 13.5%. The fruit is non-existent and the tertiary flavors have not evolved. The producers of Hermitage won a law suit against Penfolds in Australia preventing them from using the name Hermitage on their Grange bottlings. Perhaps they should have spent more time making it than defending its name.
I bought these bottles in 2002, and the decline started happening in 2006. I thought is was passing a “dumb” period- wrong. This stuff is over the hill and I’m assigning it to the “hurry up and drink the rest” bin, giving it 2 stars. Don’t bother looking for it, waste of cash and cellar space.