Last TN: Great HERMITAGE tasting

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

3rd flight:
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

4th flight:
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)

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Very cool! My only hermitage bottles are quite young still, so fun to see notes on a bunch of mature ones at once!

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Nice! Thank you for the notes. Very helpful. Looks like fun.

PART 2:

5th flight:
17) 2014 Domaine BELLE Hermitage: medium purple red, plummy dark red fruits, good structure with freshness, balance and elegance, accessable, almost silky, but better in 6-8 years (92p)

18) 2006 GUIGAL „Ex Voto“: made from the 2001 purchase of the domaines Grippat and Vallouit, however so far I was rarely impressed with the Ex Voto (I still think they do better in Cote-Rotie), but this bottle was the best so far and really fine, red-berried, only hints of new oak, well integrated, full and quite long and satisfying, nevertheless I missed any „wow.factor“ … (94+p)

19) 2012 Domaine des REMIZIÈRES Hermitage „Cuvée Emilie“: almost brighter than the 2004 „Patience“, hints of vanilla, smoky olives, also red fruits, mingled together with elegance, very nice (93p)

20) 2012 JABLOULET „La Chapelle“: I wanted to have also a „modern“ La Chapelle in the tasting, very dark colour, very heavily corked !!! (NR)

Group: 18) … with 17) and 19) in clear distance

6th flight:
21) 1983 GUIGAL Hermitage: granted this was probably better 5-10 years ago, but still impressive, full mature colour, cherries and red berries, leather, spices, lively acidity, satisfying finish (89p)

22) 1991 Marc SORREL Hermitage: The 1st bottle was heavly corked when opening at home, so I went to my cellar to get another (my last) one (which was stood up only then) … clearly better than the corked bottle, still „old fashioned“ cellar nose, quite bright (up to 10% white grapes), a bit rustic, but long round finish (92p)

23) 1990 JABOULET Crozes-Hermitage „Domaine de Thalabert“: The ringer in the tasting, which was not on the list … nobody guessed that it was no Hermitage, very impressive dark colour – almost still purple, nose of black fruits, olives, meat, tar, spices, wet moss (corrected), indeed the „humble man´s La Chapelle“ in this vintage, a treat, almost my favorite in the tasting (95p)

24) 1990 Domaine de VALLOUIT „Les Greffières“: full mature ruby red with hints of bricking, forthcoming nose of red berries and cherries, blood sausage, mushrooms, forest floor, very elegant, sweet and smooth on the palate, I had to give it the edge over the Thalabert due to the great elegance, but I enjoyed both immensly (96p)

Group: 23) far ahead, then 24)

Dessert wines:
25) 2008 Riesling Auslese „Kallstadter Saumagen“/Koehler-Ruprecht (Pfalz): still quite bright, medium sweet, typical fine German Auslese

26) 1989 Riesling Auslese „Johannisberger Klaus“/G.H.v.Mumm (Rheingau):
darker, hints of petrol, but nice balance with the sweetness, complex, satisfying

27) 2007 Traminer Beerenauslese/Weingut Scheucher 0.375 (Styria/Austria): the wine-maker was present in the tasting, quite sweet, deep, mouthfilling, excellent

28) 1979 Sauternes/Château Rieussec 0.375: perfect colour, would have been a fine mature Sauternes, alas heavily corked

All three (sound) sweet wines were fine on their own …

4th course/dessert: Valrhona chocolate with peach and malaba pepper

Whenever you see Vallouit/Greffieres 1990 or Thalabert 1990 at affordable prices: BUY! This was by far the best vintage for these two wines …
Chave needs no recommendation, but some more really outstanding wines in this quite comprehensive tasting.

For Hermitage I would say: 15+ years of cellaring in most cases …

Sorry - to busy to shoot the food courses …

3 Likes

This was certainly my last TN (tasting report), at least in such a comprehensive way.
Seems to be not of really great interest to the board and a waste of my time …

  • but thanks to the (two) posters anyway -

You can do this, which is a nice resource for people but may not get a ton of response. And there are probably a ton of people who read and will read these notes.

Alternatively you could post about exorbitantly priced cherries and get a lot of likes… or post some rash assholish diatribe and get a ton of rage replies. Anyway, don’t stop!

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Agreed. I enjoyed these notes Gerhard. Keep it up!

Yes, Gerhard, wonderful notes on a wide variety of producers. Very helpful. I’ve only had Belle in 2006 and it’s been a “eh” wine, nice but Hermitage?

Thanks again.

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Hi Gerhard,

I did read your note before you amended it to say it was your last note. I’ve had the Ferraton but not the other wines and I didn’t have much to contribute but I did enjoy reading.

Keep in mind to in the US it’s Thanksgiving so people may not be interacting here on the board quite as much.

Blame the software to some degree - used to be I’d comment with a “thanks” for the notes, instead (my fault for conforming) I gave you a hearty thumbs up when you initially posted.
The younger wines that are under 25 for the most part, aren’t the vintages I have or look for notes of.

Good point about technology

Gerhard,

I’m reading with keen interest and added the “like” as appreciation.

As I have none to very limited experience (only had a couple of St Joseph & Cornas wines) with any of the wines I keep cannot add much to the discussion.

Hope to read/learn more from your future postings and if you start posting more about wines I have more experience with myself then I’d be more than happy to contribute to the conversation!

There is enough “traffic” around here even during Thanksgiving … actually I´m exspecting a certain mimimum of participation for a comprehensive thread like this … for the amount of time I have to spend typing all the TN (translated into English, i´m no native speaker) incl. photos etc. (I don´t need superficial praise nor thumbs up …)

I know that there are quite a few people here who have enough knowledge about Hermitage, also with H-bottles in their cellar to participate … but when I read the often silly bla-blah back and forth in a lot of threads about almost nothing … and on the other hand a comprehensive tasting about one of the greatest French Appellations is almost ignored - then something is going seriously wrong here …

Maybe not enough “baller-baller” wines - conservative points from 88 to “only” 97 … too many “modern” producers like Chapoutier or Guigal … a silent “boycott” … or whatever …
:man_shrugging:

(lesson learned…)

¯_(ツ)_/¯

My $0.02

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Gerhard, I appreciate the notes. I appreciate that someone has the cellar breadth in Hermitage to do an event like this. (It also makes me wish there was a group of folks where I am that would enjoy an event like this now and then.) I enjoyed reading notes for producers like Ferraton and Colombier and Texier whose “lesser” appelations I’ve had but not Hermitage. I also believe these notes will be a welcome resource years from now for the community, since even if you did have them in cellartracker, they will not have the same context and surrounding discussion.

Fwiw my thoughts were:

  1. Wow, about the Thalabert! My experience with that wine is limited to other vintages, and limited generally.

  2. What made the Patience a distinct cuvée?

The 1990 is indeed the best and most impressive Thalabert vintage … no comparison with other vintages by far …

The 2004 Patience was kind of a cellar selection … (the 2003 L´Essentiel might have been a predessesor with a different name) -
from 2005 onwards they made a cuvee “Autremont” which is more of a vineyard selection from old vines … (all afaic)

This is objectively correct.

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Gerhard,

A bunch of people expressed their appreciation to your effort, the contribution and interest to learn from your experience. And you more or less mock them/us?

Sorry we couldn’t engage more with you about the awesome event with wines some of us never experienced, plus that you didn’t get anything out of it yourself incl. feedback from those you admire and wished to engage with.

And you more or less mock them/us?<

No, I never did that …

But it’s another example that more often is written here about the behavior of people… than about wines, which is a pity.