Turkey Day wines: 97 Chave and 89 Beaucastel

Dinner at our good friend’s home with a more garrigue- meaty inspired stuffing and turkey dinner, so we went Rhone. Both wines showed extremely well, a great dinner and better company.

Meaty and savory with great texture, richness with outstanding balance. Secondary for the most part at this point, with an excellent mix of fruit, savory and earth, leather and bloody meat. A complicated, dense yet not heavy, layered wine drinking at peak. I’ve had mixed bottle of this, but this was a great showing. 96pts (96 pts.)

  • 1997 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage (11/22/2012)
    An intoxicating nose with a beautiful mix of savory, bloody meat, herbs, blood orange, and more on the red fruit side of Hermitage. The acid that was prevalent several years ago has mellowed and the wine has fleshed out beautifully, gaining depth and structure. Great mouthfeel, outstanding balance, and almost burgundian sap to its texture. The best showing of this wine I have had. A beautiful wine drinking at absolute peak. (94 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Absolute peak on 97 Chave?? I’m in!

I love that 97 Chave, but I’m not buying the absolute peak notion, at least for me. Possibly my best Chave experience ever was a “lowly” 86 this year. There is a fascinating evolution beyond where the 97 is.

Never had any great 97 reds from Chave. They’ve always been lean and mean. 97 white though… That’s another story

Thanks for the input Todd. I’ve got one bottle of the 97 remaining and always difficult to know when to pull the cork.

Thanks for the replies everyone. It was a good evening.

Todd, do you like Chave? newhere

Roger, I am sure it will hold, but man is it in a good place now. Happy Bday- are you in Beaune yet?

Craig, I agree that aged Chave is one of life’s great pleasures. I said this is at peak because it is in a great place, and while I am sure it will go the distance, I don’t see getting a ton better, different and maybe more interesting yes, but I am not certain about better. I drink a fair amount of Chave and like my wine on the older side, but this bottle is hitting everything that at least for me I can ask of it. It is not a profound year, but I love where it sits in its development and especially for its vintage nature. I am sure it will last some time from now, and still have over half of the original case (sadly with already two corked blles FWIW) and am not afraid of where it is going, but I see no reason to wait to start drinking them. I guess we will see what happens. Lovely stuff for sure though.

This may come down to the difference in what people feel is a wine’s ‘peak’. For Barolo, as an example, I know many people who absolutely adore Barolo and drink a ton of it, like Ken V and Greg Del Piaz, but they enjoy really mature Barolo, fully in what I guess would be its tertiary phase. I don’t like that phase - I prefer the fruit to still be bright and fresh to some degree, but also take on some of the secondary characteristics like the tannins fleshing out and complexity in the finish that is not just huge tannic grip and bright fruit. I’m guessing you are in this camp, too, while Craig is more of a tertiary fan??

Todd F, I think you are correct. I like older wines and I take some risks with age (more actual risk with whites than reds, I think). I haven’t had many disappointments for myself but I’ve had people taste some of them and remark that they felt they were too old - once even with a 1982 Chave, about 5 years ago. If you’ve had that wine I suspect you’ll agree with me that it was worth the wait and not over the hill. If you’ve not had it (or whatever), let’s all get together and drink my last bottle.

I had the 97 two years ago and I think it’s squarely in the second phase. My 86 was fully transformed to Burgundy except for the Chave-ness of the nose.

I bought four bottles of 97 and that was the first I drank. I’m fairly slow to drink my Chave because unfortunately I have a lifetime supply. :frowning: