TN - '88 Chave Hermitage

'88 and '91 Chave are some of my all time favorite Syrahs. Still my last '88 seemed to have been poorly stored as it showed too much band-aid Brett. This bottle was back on form and spectacular.

’88 Chave Hermitage (Rouge)-
Starts off closed and sulking with slight band-aid but with an hour of air, this explodes with amazing complexity and nuance. This is a nose that makes drinking an afterthought - earth, raisin, rocks, smoke, xmas cake - every time I stick my nose in the glass I get something new. The palate impression is like a Pinot lovers Cabernet. This is easily as complex and nuanced as Burg’s best but the fruit is more intense and rich. It is a (mostly resolved) structured middleweight with all of the complexity and distinction that makes Hermitage great. Awesome stuff.

1991 Chave is unreal. Really stellar. I have had less consistency (several corkers) with the 1988. But like any good Chave it can sing as well. Do you agree with the statement that Chave is a Rhone for Burgundy lovers?

I certainly think so, but many of my burg loving friends don’t seem to like any Syrah. My theory is that few Burglovers have tried the right vintages (the most detailed rather than the biggest) of Chave with enough age on them. 20 years later this Chave is one elegant, complex and detailed wine that I think competes well with Burgundy on the dimensions that Burglovers appreciate.

People always talk about the 1983 as a good acid example. The 1991 is still quite meaty, beaty, big and bouncy in that Syrah way.