TN: 1978 Hermitage

1978 Delas: Hermitage - Cuvée Marquise de la Tourette

Dinner was one of my favourite dishes. Home made Greek Cypriot stuffed vine leaves. I wanted a worthy wine on this chilly London evening so I chose this bottle. The label stars the alcohol as 12.5% - how reassuringly moderate. The cork came out almost in one piece. The colour is a clear deep red cherry with a light red rim. The dark brooding nose is a blend of cooked plums with a hint of old wine barrel. The mouthfeel is a fresh injection of savoury red and dark forest fruits, with a slightly tannic streak providing the backbone. Medium bodied and fully mature, there is no immediate hurry to drink this wine, but now is a good time for my tastes. It paired excellently with the dish. Will a 2015 Hermitage age this well?

In a dinner with three different beefs, a German a Normandy and a Wagyu Ozaki we drink two Hermitages.

The pieces of beef are absolutely delicious and very different, the German beef being the most racy and the Wagyu melting like a sweet. If the oxen are dissimilar, the same is true for the two hermitages.

The Grand Hermitage Chapoutier 1953 is all smooth. It is suave while having a beautiful vibration. It is rich and comfortable. It is so much so that it will be designated first by the consensus of the votes.

The Hermitage Cuvée Marquise de la Tourette Delas 1978 is much more lively, sharp, permeating. The Chapoutier is more suitable for Wagyu and the Delas is better suited to Norman beef and German beef. What is amusing is that at least one hermitage will be first or second in the votes of each. And two guests put the two hermitages in their votes. They trust the first two places.

As an indication here are the votes of the dinner, the consensus one and my vote :

Consensus vote : 1 - Grand Hermitage Chapoutier 1953, 2 - Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette Delas 1978, 3 - Château d’Arlay Côtes du Jura 1969, 4 - Château d’Yquem 1935, 5 - Champagne Salon 1990, 6 - Château Lynch Bages Pauillac 1955.

My vote : 1 - Château d’Yquem 1935, 2 - Hermitage Marquise de la Tourette Delas 1978, 3 - Château Lynch Bages Pauillac 1955, 4 - Champagne Salon 1990.

So I preferred the Delas 1978 contrarily to the average of the table.

rather same fill as your bottle

a rather bad cork but no influence on the wine

Francois, thank you for your notes and photos. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed this wine as much as I did.

wow and wow. two positive notes on an almost 50 year old Hermitage.

Nice note Nicos, funny thing is I think many here might pass on this bottle in an auction setting due to the relatively low fill.

Yummy Nicos. Great producer. Looks wonderful.

My experience with low fills is that they can sometimes be the best bottles you have ever tasted. Actually more often than not. The best bottle I have ever tasted of 89 Beaucastel was a low fill bottle from Bob Fleming. Thanks for this note.

Nicos, François,

I had this 1978 Hermitage at least five times, from two different lots, both purchased at auction … one in GB, the other in France.
I agree mostly with your discription, but would like to add that I always noted - no matter from which lot - a certain dry astringent component in the finish that detracted a bit from my otherwise positive drinking pleasure … it´s not only that there is still a tannic bite to it, but the tannins are (too) dry - making the finish a bit short …
Didn´t you notice that?

All fills were (more or less) better than your two bottles … so definitely not a matter of bottle condition …
(still one bottle remaining …)

Never had the 1953 Hermitage … but several Chapoutier Grand Cuvées (without vintage) from the (possibly) 50ies to 60ies and 70ies …

I had no idea the Marquise de la Tourette bottlings went back this far. Thanks for the note Nicos ( & Francois for yours).

Nice. I believe I may have a bottle or two of 78 Hermitage. I even think I may have a half bottle. I need to open it soon.

Your description is accurate and I noticed the dry element and accepted it due to ripe tannins. The finish was quite pleasant for me.

Your comment does not make a click in my memory. I cannot remember a dry component.
And as I have ranked this wine above Salon 1990 it seems to indicate that my pleasure made me forget any dry aspect in this wine.
Anyway I can accept your point, not obvious for me.

Note : I find the level of the 1978 that I had absolutely normal. It is the cork which appears older than what it should.

50 is the new 40.

Thank you Don. It would have been good to share this bottle with you. Please give my good wishes to Bob Fleming.

that too. oops

Well done, sir, well done.

this wine is usually produced in high quantity, so we cannot exclude different bottlings …

Yes, your and Nicos fill levels are absolutely normal, but mine were definitely better, so the dry component should not be due to a bad fill. However the cork quality was also quite soaked and fragile …