Great HERMITAGE tasting in Graz
Last weekend we gathered in the fine restaurant LAUFKE in Graz (new 2nd toque by Gault& Millau) to taste 24 Hermitages, accompanied by a stunning four course menu.
All wines were from my cellar (with 1 additional bottle by a friend), 3 dessert wines have been brought by participants. All bottles (except one) stood up for weeks and were opened 5-6 h in advance – then decanted app. 10-15 min. before serving. It proved to be spot on, not even the youngest wines were closed … and the old ones really sang.
The group voted for the best … and the 2nd best wine of each flight. (The points are mine).
1st flight - WHITE:
1) 2017 CHAPOUTIER „Chante Alouette“: bright yellow, fragrant, flowery, a hint of meadow honey, nice structure, potential (89p)
2) 2000 JABOULET „Chevalier de Sterimberg“: fuller yellow, interesting minerality, chewy on the palate, balanced and enjoyable (90p)
3) 2001 Jean-Louis CHAVE Hermitage blanc: full brighter yellow, minerally with exotic components, but also a slight dryness which unfortunalely later proved to be slightly TCA-infected, a pity, would have been the best wine by far, still got 9 points from the group (NR)
4) 1980 Domaine de VALLOUIT Hermitage blanc: darker yellow, but fully sound, lively acidity, butter flowers, haselnuts and almonds, only medium weight and length (this has never been a great, but a good wine), interesting to drink (88p).
Group: 1) – then 2) only one point behind
1st course: pickled cucumber, carrots, chervil, walnut
2nd flight - RED:
5) 2000 Domaine du COLOMBIER Hermitage: full dark berry fruit, quite soft, very satisfying, good length (92p)
6) 2004 Domaine des REMIZIÈRES Hermitage „Patience“: this rare wine is the only vintage of this selection, dark ruby, lots of cherries, spicy, good grip, a bit smoky, still structured (93p)
7) 2001 Eric TEXIER Hermitage: by far the brightest red, orange zests, tangerine, bright acidity, a bit austere finish, not my favorite, some liked it (89p)
8) 2001 Cave de TAIN Hermitage „Gambert de Loche“: The top wine of the Tain L´Hermitage cooperative from the original Gambert-vineyards, quite dark, still a tannic bite, a bit harsh, lacking sweetness, but long on the palate (91p)
Group: 8) – 6) only one point behind
2nd course: scalope, mushrooms (porcini), celery, mustard
9) 2006 TARDIEU-LAURENT Hermitage: full strong ruby, a bit plummy nose, hints of oak, will still improve, but slightly „simple“ for me (91p)
10) 2006 FERRATON „Les Diognières“: dense purple, smoky with a bit of oak, meaty with good inner core, modern style, potential for 10+ years, (94p)
11) 2010 Romain DUVERNAY Hermitage: quite full and dark red, very accessible and elegant, but slightly lacking mid palate, but a very nice drink (the cheapest wine of the evening at 35 €), the group liked it (88p)
12) 2003 CHAPOUTIER „Les Greffieux“: very full colour, sweet berry/cherry-fruit, initially hints of cooked chestnuts, a bit licorice, soft but enough structure, good potential (93p)
The group loved this flight: 10), then 11), with 12) only one point behind
13) 1997 DELAS Freres „Les Bessards“: full but mature looking red, spicy and minerally nose still with perceptable tannins (slightly dry), for me a bit rustic, but really impressive (94p)
14) 1994 CHAPOUTIER „Le Pavillon“: full orange red, deep and full, rich and complex, fully mature, soft but with good grip, long (95p)
15) 1996 JABOULET „La Chapelle“: medium deep red with hints of orange, fine elegant fruit with spices and underwood, perceptible acidity and quite resolved tannins, for me the best La Chapelle between 1990 and 2003, but still lacking greatness (94p)
16) 1999 Jean-Louis CHAVE Hermitage: slightly brighter (full) red than 13) and 15), very elegant and complex nose to die for, still good structure but beginning maturity, no blockbuster but perfectly balanced (97p)
The group also loved this flight very much: 13) then 16) … but we had a slight confusion with the numbers of the caraffes, so voting not completely taken for granted.
3rd course: beef fillet, truffles, cherries, black salsify (genial combination)
(to be continued)