In the September 30th issue of Wine Spectator, M. Chapoutier La Bernardine 2012 and M. Chapoutier Petite Ruche Blanc 2013 both scored 90-point ratings:
90 points: M. Chapoutier Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine 2012
“Focused, with a solid core of red currant and raspberry fruit lined with brambly tannins and backed by dried anise and lavender notes. A light echo of warm stone runs through the finish, adding length. Drink now through 2022.” –James Molesworth.
90 points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage White Petite Ruche 2013
“Offers a nice, racy feel, with yellow apple skin and dried pineapple notes moving along, backed by honeysuckle and star fruit hints. Bright and energetic. Drink now.” –James Molesworth.
Shivani Vora, “In Transit” writer for the Times, highlights M. Chapoutier in today’s paper in “Tuesday’s Travel News”.
A NEW RETREAT IN THE RHONE VALLEY
M. Chapoutier, the renowned winery in the Rhone Valley of France, has welcomed visitors for tastings and tours for more than two decades. Now, for the first time, it’s offering them a place to spend the night with three new guesthouses, called gîtes. The winemaker Michel Chapoutier and his wife, Corinne, designed the homes, which have simple, contemporary furnishings and full kitchens. They’re in the midst of the vineyards and feature views of the Rhone Valley and the Rhone River. Two also have pools. Two-night stays start at $214.—SHIVANI VORA
To read the full article click here.
Shivani Vora, who also contributes to the New York Times, chose five bottles of ‘secret’ wine that are produced on the same estates as high-end wines but at a more affordable price point. Among them is Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier:
These hidden gems are sometimes produced on the same estates using the same grapes as the super stars, but the fruit for them usually comes from younger vines and isn’t considered to be up to snuff for the top-end wine. In other instances, they’re made in a different region altogether.—SHIVANI VORA
“A family-run enterprise based out of France’s Rhone region and dating back to the late 19th century, Chapoutier is a hero for the $420 hot ticket Ermitage l’Ermite. Always in search of a new adventure, however, head winemaker Michel Chapoutier decided to try his hand at producing in other countries and brought his vision to fruition at the Malakoff estate in Central Victoria with this Shiraz. The medium-bodied varietal is a collaboration with well-known wine importer Anthony Terlato and has a distinct cherry aroma with hints of dark chocolate and a black plum aftertaste. Unlike most Shiraz’s from this part of the world where the alcohol content can run 15 percent or more, the Terlato and Chapoutier is a gentler 13 percent.”
To read the full article click here.
A few weeks ago Jim Seder of Wine Inquirer posted an article highlighting the renowned producers of Hermitage Hill with M. Chapoutier at the top of the list. Below is the 2nd part of his article that speaks to Le Meal which Jim refers to as “one of the best values for a single vineyard Ermitage Chapoutier wine in the portfolio.”
To read the first post click here.
Le Meal: From one of the warmer sites on Hermitage Hill, Le Meal is from the lieu-dit plot down from the top of the hill. With vines around 50 years old and soils of shingles (derived from shale and sandstone or alluvium from mudstone) and clay. Harvesting & fermentation is similar to L’Ermite with aging for 14-18 months, using free run juice only. The color is dark with red currant, blackberry fruit and a muscular frame of charcoal, tar, and an iron cut; notes of mesquite, scorched earth, roast meats, garrigue, and firm tannins round out a long finish. As with the L’Ermite, this is a superbly structured wine with long life ahead, likely a half century or more.
Le Meal Blanc:
The 100% Marsanne Le Meal blanc, as with the Le Meal rouge, is from the namesake plot. After pressing the grapes, the must cold settles for 24-48 hours. Around 50% is vinified in large new wood barrels (600L) with the remainder fermented in vats. The wine is aged in casks on the lees with frequent stirring & tastings with bottling, on average, 10-12 months post-harvest. Resourced from soils of shingles and clay translates into a wine with slightly different character than the L’Ermite blanc, but none short of the intensity and unctuousness. Stunning aromatics that vary from vintage to vintage include ultra ripe peach, pineapple, brioche, caramelized white fruits, and crushed rocks. As with the L’Ermite, there’s a laser focused purity that cuts through the stunning richness and fantastic length. And all the terroir driven minerality is present along with an extroverted air of sexiness and richness.
— JIM SEDER
To read the full article on Jim’s site, click here.
Michel Chapoutier is highlighted in this recent article by Jim Seder as one of the small handful of renown producers that make incredible wine from Hermitage Hill.
“I’ve often heard Michele Chapoutier pay homage to the role that geology plays in the character of wine from Hermitage Hill in the Northern Rhone Valley of France. With intense pride and conviction, he boasts that it contains four key geological eras and thus a potpourri of soil ranging from granite, schist, clay, sandstone and alluvial.
From a family of winemakers since the early 1800’s, Michele took the reins over in 1990 and today, along with his team, crafts out what some say are the very finest old world Syrah, Marsanne & Roussanne in the world. I think it’s fair to say that his wines reflect a focus, intensity, and terroir driven biodynamic approach that is rarely equaled.” –JIM SEDER
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be posting reviews from this great feature article on our site. Stay tuned for more ratings and tasting notes on Michel Chapoutier’s wines from Hermitage to come!
L’Ermite rouge: is resourced from the top of the Hill in a plot called L’Hermite (L’Ermite) around the famed Chapel from 80 year old vines planted in nutrient poor granitic soils. This site, along with Les Bessards, is often considered the prime vineyard property of Hermitage Hill. Grapes are hand harvested, destemmed (this approach varies vintner to vintner as well as the ripeness of the vintage), and fermented in concrete tanks for around four weeks at temperatures less than 32C, using only free run juice. The wine is then transferred to one year old casks where it ages for 18-20 months. The wine is usually very inky dark, reflecting a Syrah persona with lots of red currant & blackberry fruit along with classic notes of spice, smoke, pepper and an iron cut. While tannins are big, they are often simultaneously quite round and smooth, framing a long finish. The marriage of luscious dark fruit, fantastic structure and acidity lend the wine the balance to age effortlessly, in some vintages a half century.
L’Ermite blanc: WI Score: 100
is a 100% Marsanne wine that I can only describe as a hedonistic, luscious, concentrated bomb of rich and ripe flavors that rivals any white, including Burgundy! An insane bouquet of aromatics from almond paste, bitter almond, tropical white fruits, ripe apricot, orange rind, caramelized peach & tangerine, wet stone & honeysuckle tease the nose alongside a minerality that just defies expression in its youth and middle age! As the wine becomes mature, the color darkens to a nutty honeyed gold, with aromas of crème brulee, honey, spice, nuts and hints of white pepper. Some argue, and I’m one of them, that the Ermitage whites often portray as big as Syrah, tannins and all.
The purity and precision of expression is so linear and focused and the finish just won’t quit! One of the defining palate characteristics of top Marsanne is a sense of unctuousness, of oiliness and butter yielding an intense richness. While the elements vary in intensity from vintage to vintage, this is a wine that has to be tasted to be believed. From the same plot as the rouge, the wine is fermented between 18 & 20C and aged in up to 80% new oak. After a long period of fermentation, the wine remains on the lees for 10-12 months with regular stirrings. These wines often go through what’s referred to as a “dumb” period early on or as Michele says, “a crises of adolescence” where the complete aromatic profile is a bit disjointed until the final bouquet weaves its magic in the bottle (and trust me, it does). For his wines, this period occurs between three and six years post harvest, emerging slowly over the next few to yield one of the world’s finest white wines. As you might expect, nearly all of Michele’s white hermitage are ageworthy for at least 30 years and likely far beyond.
To read more from Jim Seder, please click here.
Chapoutier 2014 Belleruche Rosé Côtes-du-Rhône
“very good and fairly easy to find”–DARYNA TOBEY, Wine Writer for Fortune
Rich and minerally, layered with stone, slate and moss overtones, this offers a sleek core of black cherry and floral flavors. Features great presence, along with ample density without excess weight, finishing with intensity. Best from 2017 through 2022.