M. Chapoutier Ermitage L'Ermite Rouge 2018
A very deep garnet red, almost black color. Aromas of black fruits with spices and ink overtones. Tannins are in the same time powerful and velvety. Smoky and pepper overtones express wonderfully the Syrah variety on granitic soil. According to the vintage, the wine can be kept from 30 to 60 years, indeed from 50 to 75 years.
Shallow, sandy, leached, brown soils, from Tournon granite, situated at the top of the Hermitage hill, near the chapel, in a locality known as l’Ermite. The characteristics of Tournon granite are: A texture referred to as “à dentsde cheval” (horse toothed) or porphyroid (i.e. with coarse-grained inclusions in the middle of minerals of smaller size). The composition’s special characteristics: These same coarse grains are orthoclase macrocrystals, K-feldspar the abundance of which means that this granite is classed as “alkaline granite”. 120 year old vines on very poor granite soils (with the exception of vines planted to replace dead vine plants). A large part of the vineyard is pre-phylloxera or consisting of vines replaced by “marcotting” (layering) (non-grafted, without rootstock). This vineyard has been biodynamically grown since 1991.
As usual, Chapoutier's 2018 Ermitage l'Ermite is a standout among standouts. Crushed stone, blueberries, even a touch of herb feature on the nose, while the full-bodied palate is cool and crunchy but also ripe and generous. It's rich and long, with a firm, granitic structure that should enable two-plus decades of aging. This has it all.
Similar to the Le Pavillon with its liquid rock minerality, the 2018 Ermitage L’Ermite's inky purple/blue color is followed a gorgeous nose of blueberries, spring flowers, incense, cracked pepper, and spice. This flows to a more opulent, full-bodied, massively concentrated wine that has ripe, sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a huge finish. While the Pavillon has a more l'Ermite-like character in this vintage, the L'Ermite is more Pavillon-like with its beautiful opulence and decadence. I’ve no doubt both wines will show more classic characters this time next year from bottle.
This is really packed, with dark currant, blackberry and black cherry paste flavors that sail through, carried by racy and well-embedded acidity and flanked by an iron note, showing mineral, tobacco and singed alder hints through the finish. This has power in reserve, with the mouthwatering cut to carry it for two decades. Best from 2035 through 2040.