Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2004
The granite hills of Hermitage rise above the Rhone at Tain l'Hermitage where the river bends sharply to the east before resuming a southward flow. This gives the vineyards a direct southern exposure. Vines have been grown here since Roman times, and Pliney wrote favorably about the wines of the region.
Very rich, but cuts like a knife, with dried apricot, marzipan and wet stone notes leading the way for richer flavors of candle wax, heather, honey and white peach on the back end. The long, extremely taut finish seems almost tannic; this is built for a long life. Try now, or forget it in the cellar. Best after 2017.
Score: 97, James Molesworth, September 30, 2007
Chave's white Hermitage is even better than his acclaimed red in 2004. It's wonderfully toasty upfront, backed by layer upon layer of honeyed fruit that simply defies description. Yet despite the incredible richness, there's also tremendous focus and minerality, so that the wine never seems overly weighty, and it finishes with great length and intensity. Drink it now, or try it in 15 years; the 1991 is singing now at age 16.
Score: 96, Joe Czerwinski, September 1, 2007
The 2004 Hermitage blanc, which hit 15% natural alcohol, is another superb effort, continuing a succession of totally profound white Hermitages from 2003, 2004, and 2005. As many readers know, this small family producer has been making wine in Hermitage since 1481! The 2004 (about 1000 cases) reveals a light gold color, terrific finesse and elegance in spite of its enormous power, unctuosity, and richness. Of course, it is not as honeyed as the otherworldly 2003 (which hit 16% natural alcohol) but it is an amazingly full-bodied, powerful wine with pervasive honeysuckle, peach liqueur, and nectarine notes intermixed with licorice, quince, and acacia flowers. This is gorgeous wine which should evolve for 20-25 years.
Score: 95, Robert Parker, April 2007
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