WBW 19: When in Rhone …

At the moment it would be just wrong to complain about anything! I finally found the time to be more involved in my wine passion, and things have been looking up ever since. On the one side I spent the end of February in Florence, trying Italian wine and visiting almost every wine bar available. Then I started collaborating on a Belgian website on wine.This of course led to more involvement in the wine world. So the past weekend was spent between a Bulgarian wine tasting (more about that one later) and a private tasting of what I can only call AMAZING wines. I am still recovering from the shock, the greatness and well, the quantity. But moving on.

I will eventually write about all the wines tasted, but for this particular Wine Blogging Wednesday, hosted by Wine Expression, I will focus on the first two wines we tried: a 1994 Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree and a 1994 Chave Hermitage Blanc. Both Cotes du Rhône.

I am not even sure where to start. Who knows me has figured out I am a new World wines lover, I love powerful reds and till last weekend nothing could have ever changed my mind. And then I started a mainly French wine tasting with these two wines. Where the names alone say great wines. On top of this 1994 was what wine experts call an exceptional year.

Let’s start with the 1994 Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree. Marsanne Variety. The wine has a beautiful colour of gold and of incredibly clarity. The nose is all about complexity, I could find fruit, honey, overall rich aromas. When first tasting it, you are literally hit by an incredible balance between minerals, an acidity to it and freshness. As I am not usually a white wine lover, I was surprised at the freshness and the pleasant as well as incredibly smooth taste of this wine.

According to Robert Parker, the wine rates at 99 points and is drinkable between 1996-2046. He describes the wine as ‘extremely powerful, full-bodied and unctuously textured’. And you know what? It was all of that and more. Price: +/- 100euro per bottle.

The 1994 J.L. Chave Hermitage Blanc. For one reason or another this one sticks to mind. I found this wine to be richer and deeper than the first one. Could also be that this time around it was easier to compare. The white Hermitage produced by Chave is 85% Marsanne and 15% Roussanne. The Chave estate is being run by the family since the 1481, which is proudly written on the top label on the bottles as well ‘Vignerons de Père en Fils Depuis 1481’. The 1994 wine is deep and rich wine, which Robert Parker describes as ‘one of the most seductive, perfumed, multilayered and profoundly textured white Hermitages’. The wine scores 94 points, and is drinkable for 4-5 years, or to be kept for the next 20-30 years. Price: +/- 100euro per bottle.

I am not a personal advocate of Parker, however the reviews of these two wines could only be found on his website. Or for sale on the different specialised websites.

The wines impressed. I loved the balance both had, the beauty they presented to the nose and then mouth, the slight sensation of acidity, which just rightly established the taste of the wine.

These are my two Rhônes for today. As I am new to the whole wine-review, I hope the above gives you an idea of what I tasted. And next time around I will write on the other three wines we tested last weekend.

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