Wine writer Roger Morris interviewed Michel Chapoutier before a press conference wrapping up the 8th Edition of the Découvertes en Vallée du Rhone in Avignon and discovered some interesting tidbits about the legendary winemaker’s views on entry-level wines in the Rhone:
“The Rhone’s new customers are people who are young, and people who are American,” he said, explaining that he believes Rhone winemakers can no longer rely on the reputations of just their legendary wines, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu.
Chapoutier would like to see more vineyards in areas near Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph making such entry level wines as part of the Côtes-du-Rhone system that currently is almost exclusively a southern Rhone brand. That said, he welcomes the experimentation that comes with the non-appellation wines such as the IGP’s, Vins de Pays and the new Vins de France being made in the Rhone Valley, even though they are not part of the Inter Rhone umbrella.
Click here to read the full article.
Jeb Dunnuck of The Wine Advocate recently took another look at the 2005 vintage of Chateauneuf du Pape, now 10 years old. M. Chapoutier’s Croix de Bois scored 95 points, a second time:
95 pts – 2005 Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois
Chapoutier’s 2005 Châteauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois is gorgeous, and while I’ve always preferred the Barbe Rac to this cuvee, I think the quality between the two is neck and neck. A blend of 100% Grenache that was vinified and aged all in concrete, this naked, raw expression of the variety gives up classic jammy dark fruits, toasted bread, garrigue, red licorice and sweet spice on the nose. Silky, refined and elegant, yet with full-bodied richness and tons of character, it’s a knockout bottle of Grenache to drink anytime over the coming 5-7 years. (Feb 2015)
95 pts – 2005 Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois
The 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape Croix de Bois is brilliant. Notes of licorice, seaweed, cedar, and copious black currant and sweet cherry notes are present in the provocative aromatics. Ripe, full-bodied, and dense, with moderately high tannin, terrific concentration, and a deep ruby color, this is a brilliant wine that tips the scales at 16.5% natural alcohol, whereas the 2006 was at 15.3%. Look for the 2005 to hit its peak in 2-3 years and last for 15 or more years. (Oct 2007)
In honor of Australian #ShirazWeek, Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier Shiraz Viognier 2013 is featured on the popular online wine, food, travel and entertainment magazine The Amateur Gastronomer. Click here to read the full article.
And click here to learn more about #ShirazWeek.
Click here to access a video of the helicopters rebuilding the infamous stone walls at Hermitage on the M. Chapoutier property.
98 points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage White L’Ermite 2012
Features a weighty core of honey-edged melon, yellow apple, jasmine and white peach flavors, but this is racy and vibrant overall, with dried chamomile, quinine and fleur de sel notes running from start to finish. The finish ripples with energy and minerality, while the fruit courses on. Drink now through 2025. From France.—J.M.
97 points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage White de l’Orée 2012
Densely layered, with ginger geleé, creamed pineapple, heather honey and lemon shortbread notes, all offset by a racy salted butter spine. Bright honeysuckle and chamomile accents dapple the finish, which shows terrific length and definition. Drink now through 2022. From France.—J.M.
96 points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage White Le Méal 2012
This rolls along, featuring a honeyed edge and straw, heather and creamed apple notes, all gilded with pineapple, papaya and Cavaillon melon accents. Long and luxurious, with an echo of dried chamomile lending just the right amount of spine for balance. Drink now through 2020. From France.—J.M.
M. Chapoutier’s 2013 Marius White is recommended as a ‘Best Value’ in the March 31 issue of Wine Spectator. Best Value wines are defined as wines with solid scores, modest prices, and wide distribution in the U.S.
95 Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal 2012
Dark purple. A highly perfumed, complex bouquet evokes ripe cherry and raspberry, along with complicating notes of candied flowers, incense and Indian spices. Sappy and expressive, with intense black raspberry and floral pastille flavors underscored by juicy acidity. Shows superb focus and lift on the finish, which lingers with outstanding tenacity; suave, supple tannins barely peak through the wine’s vibrant fruit. – J.R.
95 Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite 2012
Vivid yellow-gold. Explosive, exotically perfumed orchard fruit, honey, iodine and mineral aromas pick up hints of quinine and jasmine with air. Bitter pear skin and Meyer lemon flavors gain weight as the wine opens up, with juicy acidity adding lift and focus. Closes on a ripe tangerine note, with serious mineral-driven persistence and lingering floral character. The combination of power and finesse here is striking. – J.R.
94+? Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage L’Ermite 2012
Opaque purple. Powerful, deeply pitched aromas of cassis, candied plum, licorice and violet oil, with suggestions of olive and smoky minerals adding complexity. Weighty and broad in the mouth, offering bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors and a strong note of dark chocolate. Becomes spicier and livelier with air and finishes very long and broad, with chewy tannins adding grip. This is a real baby. The vines at this site are reportedly over 100 years old now. – J.R.
94 Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc de L’Orée 2012
Limpid gold. A bright, intensely perfumed bouquet displays fresh pit fruits, tangerine, pungent flowers and Thai basil, with a zesty mineral nuance building quickly. Rich yet energetic, showing excellent focus and depth to its juicy peach and orange flavors. Becomes spicier on the finish, which features chalky tannins and a touch of floral honey. Manages to be both rich and lithe, and has the capacity to reward extended cellaring. – J.R.
94 Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc Le Méal 2012
Light gold. Poached pear, peach pit, honey and blond tobacco on the intensely perfumed, mineral-driven nose. Pliant, deeply concentrated pit fruit and melon flavors are complemented by succulent herbs and orange pith, with a stony element adding back-end cut. The mineral note reminds me a lot of Chablis, as strange as that may sound for an all-Marsanne wine. Suavely melds weight and vivacity, finishing with excellent clarity and length and a clinging note of candied orange. – J.R.
94 Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Les Greffieux 2012
Inky purple. Intense smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berries, cherry liqueur and fresh flowers. Spicy and taut on entry, then fleshier and sweeter in the mid-palate, offering spicy black raspberry and violet pastille flavors and a jolt of tangy acidity on the back half. Puts on weight with air while maintaining striking energy and sharp focus. Finishes bright, silky and extremely long, with excellent clarity, harmonious tannins and lingering spiciness. – J.R.
94 Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon 2012
Saturated purple. Pungent smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of dark berry preserves, dried cherry, pipe tobacco, licorice and incense. Stains the palate with intense blackcurrant and bitter cherry flavors, becoming deeper, sweeter and spicier with air. Packs a very serious punch but comes off as lithe and precise, finishing with excellent length and silky, slowly emerging tannins. – J.R.
94 Points: M. Chapoutier Côte-Rôtie La Mordorée 2012
Bright purple. Potent mineral- and spice-accented cherry and blackberry scents are complicated by notes of mocha, pipe tobacco and fresh flowers. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors that gain energy and spiciness with aeration. Powerful yet lithe and sharply focused, finishing very long, with strong cut and dusty tannins that sneak in late. – J.R.
93 Points: M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Les Granits 2012
Brilliant ruby. Heady, intensely perfumed aromas of red and dark fruit preserves, smoky minerals and Asian spices, with a zesty mineral overtone gaining power with air. Rich, dense and focused, offering intense black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that are lifted and sharpened by juicy acidity. Finishes with excellent power and persistence, the sweet and harmonious tannins folding smoothly into the wine’s juicy, pure fruit. This is yet another example of a Saint-Joseph that compares favorably to many, if not most, examples of Hermitage. – J.R.
93 Points: M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Le Clos 2012
Saturated ruby. Strongly perfumed aromas of blackberry, blueberry, violet, black cardamom and minerals. Seamless, expansive and sweet on the palate, offering deeply concentrated dark berry compote and cola flavors and a hint of star anise on the back half. Gains richness with air and finishes extremely long, with building tannins and clinging mineral and floral notes. Here’s a Saint-Joseph that can stand up to plenty of Hermitages. – J.R.
92 Points: M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Blanc Les Granits 2012
Bright gold. White peach, poached pear, honey and smoky minerals on the deeply perfumed nose. Round and supple on the palate, with very good depth and clarity to the flavors of peach nectar, Meyer lemon, flowers and sweet butter. A leesy nuance builds with air and carries through a long, broad finish that repeats the floral and mineral notes. The blend of power and vivacity here is quite suave. -J.R.
92 Points: M. Chapoutier Hermitage La Monier de la Sizeranne 2012
Opaque ruby. Intense, mineral-driven aromas of ripe blackberry, smoked meat and incense. Pliant, supple and sweet, with a distinct smokiness to its dark berry and spicecake flavors. Finishes with slow-building tannins, repeating smokiness and strong floral persistence. A very strong showing for this bottling. – J.R.
92 Points: M. Chapoutier Hermitage Blanch Chante Alouette 2012
Vivid gold. Aromas of ripe peach, melon and honey are lifted by zesty mineral and lemon pith notes. Fleshy, broad and dry, offering intense orchard and pit fruit flavors complicated by suggestions of iodine and smoky minerals. A floral note appears on the very long, sappy finish, which also features a sneaky note of bitter orange pith. – J.R.
92 Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonnières 2012
Vivid ruby. Highly aromatic cherry and red berry scents are complicated by licorice, Indian spices and cola. Deeply concentrated dark fruit flavors show a suave blend of sweet and tangy, with a mineral nuance adding lift. Gains weight and sweetness on the clinging finish, which features a cherry-cola quality and fine-grained tannins that come on late. – J.R.
91 Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Blanc Les Meysonniers 2013
Bright yellow. Fresh pear and orange pith aromas show very good power, with a smoky mineral nuance adding energy. Incisive and refreshingly dry on the palate, offering broad, sappy flavors of ripe citrus fruits, bitter pear skin and honeysuckle. Finishes smoky and quite long, leaving candied ginger and honey flavors behind. Definitely give this youthful wine some air. – J.R.
91 Points: M. Chapoutier Cornas Les Arènes 2012
Inky ruby. Fresh blueberry, mulberry and cassis on the perfumed nose, along with a smoky topnote and a hint of vanilla. Broad, sappy and concentrated, with dark fruit flavors complemented by peppery spices, anise and bitter chocolate. Finishes spicy and very long, with a kick of cracked pepper and soft tannins coming in slowly. Most of the fruit here came from Reynard, with some from Patou and Eygats. -J.R.
90+? Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers 2012
Vivid ruby. Peppery, spice-accented aromas of musky dark berries, smoky bacon and violet oil. Chewy, focused and gently sweet on the palate, displaying nervy bitter cherry, blackberry and white pepper flavors and a hint of candied flowers. Shows good tension and grip on the long, incisive, youthfully tannic finish. This is showing extremely young right now. – J.R.
90 Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage La Petite Ruche 2012
Brilliant ruby. High-pitched aromas of black raspberry, fresh flowers and white pepper. Seamless and focused in the mouth, offering lively, spice-accented red berry, cherry and spicecake flavors that stretch out slowly with air. Shows the energy of the vintage, finishing with strong cut and spiciness and supple tannins that emerge slowly. – J.R.
90 Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Blanc La Petite Ruche 2013
Bright gold. Ripe tangerine, melon and peach on the fragrant nose. Fleshy and supple in texture, offering fresh citrus and pit fruit flavors lifted by a jolt of chalky minerals. Floral and honey notes build with air and carry through the smooth, spicy finish. At once rich and lively, making this wine a high adaptable player at the table. – J.R.
88 Points: M. Chapoutier Côtes-du-Rhône Belleruche 2013
Bright ruby-red. Lively aromas of dark berries, candied flowers and peppery spices, with a complicating jolt of licorice. Smooth and open-knit, showing good lift to the warm flavors of blackberry and fruitcake. Finishes supple and broad, with repeating spiciness and gentle, harmonious tannins. – J.R.
88 Points: M. Chapoutier Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc Belleruche 2013
Light yellow. Musky, mineral-accented orchard and citrus fruit aromas are complemented by hints of honeysuckle, green tea and quinine. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering bitter pear skin and Meyer lemon flavors that put on weight with air. Closes smooth and broad, with supple pear and melon qualities and good clarity. – J.R.
87 Points: M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Louberon 2013
Vivid ruby-red. Powerful red and dark berry aromas show a slight jamminess and pick up a peppery quality with air. Fleshy and open-knit, offering gently sweet black raspberry and plum flavors and a touch of succulent herbs. Closes on a warm note, with good cling and no obvious tannins. I was reminded of a Garnacha from southern Spain here. – J.R.
87 Points: M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Blanc Louberon 2013
Bright straw. Lively citrus and pit fruit aromas show good clarity and a hint of fennel. Sappy and round, offering juicy if slightly warm melon and peach flavors. Finishes smooth and broad, with good cling and gentle spiciness. – J.R.
(94 – 96) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc Le Méal 2013
Yellow-gold. Smoke- and mineral-tinged citrus and orchard fruit aromas start off spicy and reductive, with a sexy floral element emerging slowly; smells a lot like a wine from Coche-Dury. Sappy, palate-staining pear and tangerine flavors reach every corner of the mouth and are complicated by notes of fennel, iodine and honeysuckle. Fleshes out and becomes spicier on the finish, which hangs on with outstanding tenacity and a lingering floral quality. I’d love to match this stunner up against some grand cru white Burgundies. – J.R.
(93 – 95) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite 2013
Bright gold. Fresh tangerine and pear on the highly perfumed nose, with lively floral and mineral qualities adding complexity. Palate-staining orchard and pit fruit flavors show excellent clarity and power, with a salty mineral element emerging on the back half. Lingers with superb energy and focus, the mineral and citrus pith notes carrying through strongly on the finish. This one looks to be a slow ager. – J.R.
(93 – 95) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc de L’Orée 2013
Vivid yellow. Powerful aromas of mineral-laced white peach, green almond, iodine and candied ginger. In a bright, vibrant style, with a solid spine of acidity adding cut and lift to the wine’s intense, deeply concentrated orchard and pit fruit nectar flavors. Tightens up on the back end, finishing dry, minerally and extremely long, with a sexy floral note lingering. – J.R.
(93 – 95) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Les Greffieux 2013
Youthful purple. Explosive black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by suggestions of violet, smoky minerals, pipe tobacco and licorice. Broad, fleshy and concentrated, offering palate-coating blackcurrant and bitter cherry flavors underscored by Indian spices and smoky minerals. Rich and full but showing superb vivacity, with excellent clarity and power and supple, slowly building tannins. – J.R.
(93 – 95) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon 2013
Glass-staining purple. Sexy spice-accented black raspberry and violet candy aromas are complemented by star anise and olive, with suave vanilla and mineral nuances in the background. Shows excellent clarity and energy on the palate, with sappy, densely packed cherry and raspberry flavors becoming sweeter and deeper with air. Lithe and penetrating in the style of the best wines of the vintage, finishing with excellent lift and length and smooth, late-arriving tannins that add grip. – J.R.
(93 – 95) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage L’Ermite 2013
Youthful purple. Powerful, deeply pitched cherry pit and blackcurrant aromas open up slowly to reveal complicating suggestions of black cardamom, licorice and black pepper. Sweet and expansive on the palate, with densely packed dark berry liqueur and cola flavors and a touch of smoky minerality adding vibrancy. At once rich and lively, finishing with serious punch and chewy, slow-building tannins. I suspect that this will be a worthy cellar candidate. – J.R.
(92 – 94) Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonnières 2013
Dark purple. An exotically perfumed bouquet evokes vibrant black and blue fruits, incense, potpourri and star anise. Stains the palate with intense blueberry and cherry compote flavors that are given spine and lift by a smoky mineral quality. Densely packed yet lithe, finishing with outstanding thrust and breadth and smooth tannins that build slowly. – J.R.
(92 – 94) Points: M. Chapoutier Côte-Rôtie La Mordorée 2013
Opaque ruby. Spicy cherry and blackcurrant scents show excellent clarity and a smoky mineral nuance. Supple, sweet and focused on the palate, offering intense, deeply concentrated red and dark berry preserve flavors and a sexy hint of vanilla. Very fresh and lithe, conveying a deft blend of richness and finesse. Finishes with excellent clarity and gentle tannic grip, leaving juicy berry notes behind. – J.R.
(92 – 94) Points: M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal 2013
Inky ruby. Powerful, deeply pitched dark fruit liqueur, licorice and espresso aromas open slowly, picking up suggestions of floral oils, incense and Indian spices. Broad, concentrated and smoky on the palate, offering sweet cassis and blueberry flavors lifted by a jolt of black pepper. In a masculine, broad-shouldered style for the vintage, finishing with serious power and chewy tannins that lend grip. – J.R.
(92 – 94) Points: M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Le Clos 2013
Dark purple. Lively, sharply delineated aromas of fresh red and dark berries, Asian spices, potpourri and anise, along with an intense mineral overtone. Juicy and pure, offering palate-staining blueberry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter with air. Fine-grained tannins give shape to the finish, which leaves sexy floral and spicecake notes behind. This wine shows the elegance of a fine Côte-Rôtie. – J.R.
(91 – 93) Points: M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Les Granits 2013
Bright purple. Brooding, slow-to-open black and blue fruit aromas, with hints of black pepper and licorice slowly peeking out. Chewy and tightly focused, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors and a touch of candied violet. Weighty and broad on the finish, which is firmed by chewy, building tannins. Not the easiest wine to read right now but there’s clearly serious material here. – J.R.
(91 – 93) Points: M. Chapoutier Saint-Joseph Blanc Les Granits 2013
Full gold. A heady, complex bouquet evokes ripe citrus and pit fruits, along with notes of iodine, chamomile, jasmine and smoky minerals. Juicy, focused and pure, offering intense tangerine and pear flavors that deepen and spread out with air. The mineral and floral notes dominate the long, incisive finish. – J.R.
(91 – 93) Points: M. CHapoutier Hermitage La Monier de la Sizeranne 2013
Bright purple. Sexy, perfumed aromas of fresh dark berries, violet, white pepper and Asian spices. Lively and seamless on the palate, offering gently sweet black raspberry and cherry compote flavors and a bracing mineral jolt. The berry and floral notes linger on the finish, which is framed by smooth tannins. – J.R.
(90 – 92) Points: M. Chapoutier Cornas Les Arènes 2013
Deep ruby. Fragrant black and blue fruit aromas are complemented by cola, roasted coffee and violet. Stains the palate with ripe boysenberry, floral pastille and vanilla flavors, with a spine of tangy acidity adding lift and focus. Supple tannins build slowly on the finish, which lingers with repeating floral character. – J.R.
(90 – 91) Points: M. Chapoutier Condrieu Invitare 2013
Light yellow-gold. High-pitched citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complemented by suggestions of jasmine, chamomile and chalky minerals. The mineral note carries onto the palate, adding lift and bite to ripe white peach and pear flavors. Gains flesh with air but finishes stony and precise, with very good persistence and lingering floral and spice flourishes. – J.R.
(89 – 91) Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers 2013
Opaque ruby. Pungent, tightly wound aromas of cherry pit, blackberry, smoky herbs and black pepper. Smooth and focused on the palate, showing very good lift and thrust to its dark fruit, violet pastille and peppery spice flavors. Unfolds slowly, picking up notes of bitter chocolate and licorice that carry through a spicy, gently tannic finish. – J.R.
(89 – 91) Points: M. Chapoutier Crozes-Hermitage La Petite Ruche 2013
Inky ruby. Intense cassis and violet scents are complemented by smoky minerals, Indian spices and cracked pepper. Fresh and expansive on the palate, offering warm dark berry and bitter cherry flavors that become sweeter with air. The smoky note recurs on the finish, which is framed by slow-building tannins that merge smoothly with the wine’s dark fruit. – J.R.