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February 2006100 The perfect 2003 Hermitage has acquired extraordinary minerality as well as definition since I first tasted it 12 months earlier. Its inky/purple color is accompanied by glorious aromas of creme de cassis, black cherries, licorice, crushed rocks, and flowers. Prodigiously rich and full-bodied yet elegant and fresh, this is a tour de force in winemaking. There are no overripe, scorched, pruny, fig-like notes in this extraordinary Hermitage. It will be drinkable young, yet evolve for 35-40+ years.
International Wine Cellar
January 200698 "Now we take the monster out of his cage," Jean-Louis warned me before pouring this. Inky, almost black in color. Elemental, hugely concentrated and powerful on the nose, which slowly unveils aromas of dark cherry liqueur, blackberry, cassis, espresso and a deep note of sweet tobacco. Impossibly rich and dense on the palate (the yields in 2003 were off by two-thirds), showing myriad dark fruit and bitter chocolate flavors, with a suggestion of tapenade and an intense licorice quality. Remarkably, this takes on a mineral tone on the finish, which has the effect of further drawing out the amazingly powerful finish.
Web Only - 201298 This shows the extreme plum, blackberry and raspberry confiture notes of this very hot year, stuffed with extra blood orange, singed clove, saddle leather and freshly plowed humus. The tannins offer a lightly firm cedar edge, but are well-melded into the core. Will likely always be controversial because of the exotic profile, but this is a wine that completely captures the essence of the vintage without sacrificing a sense of terroir. And isn't that what we look for?—Non-blind Chave vertical (June 2012). Drink now through 2030. 750 cases made.