While Hermitage has historically been a wine blended from different vineyards and plots scattered throughout the appellation (Ermitage), Michel Chapoutier took the initiative to try a Burgundian approach by making wine from individual small parcel, which he calls “selections parcellaires“.
Although plural in their expressions, these single parcel wines like La Maison dont le Pavillon (Hermitage red), Chante-Alouette (Hermitage white), La Mordorée (Côte-Rôtie) or Barbe-Rac (Châteauneuf-du-Pape) share one overarching commonality: they are wines exuding finesse, minerality and length in the mouth. The resulting wines meet the goal of Chapoutier: to transcribe the unique combination of the soil’s personality and grape variety in each bottle.
Today, his 2010 vintage “sélections parcellaires” are elaborated according to the principals of biodynamics and are widely recognized by wine’s biggest critics, Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, who give them excellent ratings, not without merit.
* RP = Robert Parker
* JR = Jancis Robinson
Hermit Chapoutier Ermitage Rouge 2010 – RP 100/JR 18.5
Robert Parker had no other choice but to call this wine “perfect” in light of its rating. He justifies this notation, however, by the rarity of the soil (sandy soil and granite at the top of the hill of Hermitage) and the tiny area of the plot (7.5 ha). Both critics agree that this wine will be at its peak in the next four decades. Both spicy and rich, it is also sweet but taut. This wine is dominated by notes of black and blue fruits while a touch of charcoal iron adds an unexpected floral note. The exceptional purity of the wine’s finish is expressed though it’s tannic character.
Chapoutier Ermitage Pavillon 2010 – RP 100/JR 17.5
Jancis Robinson trembles at the deep crimson of this wine, with its soft yet dense finish marked by a distinct minerality. Robert Parker found aromas of crème de cassis, camphor, ink pen, white flower and spices (characteristics of its terroir). Consume ideally from 2030…
Chapoutier Ermitage Meal 2010 – RP 99 / JR 17.5
With an intensely dark violet robe, this full-bodied wine has a mouth that spreads across the palate with an opulence and leatheriness that rings true to the wines of its terroir. According to Parker, this wine possesses aromas of steak tartare, cassis, blackberries, acacia flowers and scorched earth and can compete with the famous Hermitage La Chapelle from Jaboulet (from the same plot) Parker. Its texture is creamy, full-bodied but very refined and lingers on the palate for minutes.
Chapoutier St Joseph Blanc 2010 Granite – RP 96 / JR 16.5
Aromas of mandarin oil, orange marmalade, stone, flint, and substantial gun powder is all crowned by a hint acidity tinged with smoke. This warm and powerful wine is very structured and elegant and is positioned as a full and rich wine that’s merits a masterful tour de force.
Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc 2010 Meal – RP 97/JR 17
The 2010 vintage of this wine reveals aromas of tropical fruit with notes of red currants blended with mango, orange marmalade on a backdrop of Asian aromas. This wine is dense, full-bodied, intense and rich. What then? This is the most voluptuous and opulent white of the “séletions parcellaires” in 2010. Jancis Robinson adds that there is more tension in the cuvee de l’Orée. Will be ideal for drinking in 30 years …
Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac 2010 – RP 96/JR 17.5
A magnificent effort in Robert Parker’s opinion, Jancis Robinson found it to be a “quite charming” wine with a dense and structured body and a highly developed nose and palate. This wine possesses concentrated aromas of kirsch, exotic herbs, lavender, cedar, fig, licorice, black cherry and grilled meat. This Châteauneuf-du-Pape warrants 20 years of aging.