Don’t Miss This: Jean-Louis Chave. Hermitage. Well Under $100. For real.

Posted on: 10/25/18 12:01 PM


If you’d like to just cut to the chase, here it is: we have Chave Sélection Hermitage Rouge “Farconnet” available for only $72. Think about that for a second. For the same money you could but 26% of a bottle of the Domaine Hermitage. And it’s Chave. And it’s Hermitage. And it’s 80% Domaine fruit. And it’s got 93 pts. … I could go on.


2012 Jean-Louis Chave Sélection Hermitage Rouge “Farconnet”

Josh Raynolds: “Brilliant ruby. Smoke- and spice-accented dark berries, olive and licorice on the pungent nose. Subtly sweet blackberry and cherry flavors show excellent clarity and energy and pick up a sexy floral quality with aeration. Displays excellent delineation, a gracefully light touch and powerful mineral lift on the persistent, gently tannic finish, which features lingering notes of bitter cherry pit and candied violet.” – 93 pts. Vinous

More about the Wine:

Certain things are just better together – peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, oysters and champagne. But nothing in all of nature was more destined to go together than Chave and Syrah, specifically Syrah from the remarkable hill of Hermitage.

To call Chave’s Hermitage monumental is an understatement. This single wine defines both an entire appellation and a grape in a way that nearly no other wine can claim to do. For many, Chave’s Hermitage stands alongside a small number of the world’s elite wines every as bit their equal – Pétrus, Latour, DRC, et al. However, what is remarkable about the Chave wines are the scale. For such an outsized reputation, the Domaine is, all things being equal, tiny. And everything is a family run.

And everything has been family run for centuries now. With a legacy stretching back to 1481, the Chaves have coexisted with their cherished Hermitage now for almost 20 generations now. The holdings, discipline and knowledge have been handed down from father to son since before the founding of our own nation.

Today, the footprint is still small and the entire family is enlisted in doing the work of the Domaine. There is no marketing budget or marketing department; there is no back office support or distribution management. Rather, Jean-Louis’ wife, Erin, runs the company the two established to sell the family’s wines, and Jean-Louis manages the vineyards and the cellars. When I visited a few years ago, Jean-Louis’ son – who couldn’t be any older than 5 or 6 – was already being trained to recognize the subtle differences between Méal and Bessards, because in 20 years’ time, it is he who will likely be making the final blends.

Jean-Louis, however, cannot make the investments and changes he would like, or pay the inevitable and onerous inheritance taxes his children will face when he hands the Domaine onto them, without raising more capital. And seeing that he has so little to begin with – only 14 hA – Jean-Louis had to look outside his own Domaine for another source of revenue.

The solution was a négociant firm that focused on appellations that Jean-Louis did not have where he felt he could produce sufficiently high quality wines, wines befitting the name Chave. The most well known of these is the Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhône, but there is also a fantastic Crozes-Hermtiage in both rouge and blanc. Additionally, Jean-Louis has produced négociant bottlings of St. Joseph and Hermitage as supplements to his Domaine production. In fact, a good deal of Domaine wine goes into the Jean-Louis Chave Sélection Hermitage Rouge “Farconnet” – 80%, in fact.

No, that’s not a typo, 80% of Chave’s négociant Hermitage Rouge is from Chave’s Domaine fruit. And it’s $72. A Chave Hermitage for $72? Yes, really.

I really should not have written so much to sell something that should sell itself. But, well, there it is. All you have to do now is hit reply.

Posted in Daily Flash By Ian Halbert