1999 Chapoutier Ermitage L'Ermite 75CL
The 1999 Ermitage l'Ermite is a wine that borders on perfection compared to its backward performance last year from the barrel. Sadly, there are usually 500-600 cases of the Cuvee, but in 1999 only 400 were produced. It comes from Chapoutier's oldest vines (most over 100 years of age) and represents the essence of both Hermitage and Syrah.
From the bottle, the 1999 l'Ermite reveals an old style Lafleur character in its kirsch liqueur intermixed with raspberries, blackberries, and striking minerality. It has put on considerable weight since last year, but is essentially an elegant, ethereal effort with incredible intensity as well as amazing lightness. It is a phenomenal expression of terroir. However, be forewarned, anyone expecting to derive a lot of pleasure from this before another fifteen years elapse will be disappointed. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2060.
Unlike Burgundy and Bordeaux, the Rhône does not have an official cru (vineyard) classification system. There are, however, lieux-dits, “named places” or place names that denote vineyard sites and plots within each appellation. Chapoutier owns some of the most famous plots in the Rhône, including 34 hectares within the tiny Hermitage appellation. This collection of highly sought after wines is coined “Selections Parcellaires”. These exceptional wines are created organically and biodynamically and imported to the United States once per year.
Ermitage L’Ermite is the most individual statement in the Hermitage appellation, and the most prized for followers of M. Chapoutier’s grandest of crus.
L’Ermite Rouge, a very rare wine (approximately 375 cases annually) produced from a 9.5 acre site at the top of Hermitage hill, is an intense Syrah with massive tannins. The vineyard’s elevated position, over 200 meters, allows long ripening at the end of the growing season, and its loess soils provide excellent drainage for rainwater. The age of the vines averages over 80 years, and the vines are pruned to very low yield levels.
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