Chapoutier’s winemaker Clément Bärtschi, who guided the usual marathon tasting for me here, said that one thing he’d like to see change is that “people drink these wines, especially the top white ones, so young.” The problem, as he sees it, is that “when you open them before they’ve had at least a year in the bottle, and even more for the reds, what you see is the variety, not the place.” So a newly released Condrieu “tastes like Viognier more than where it’s from, which is what people are paying for, hopefully.” The converse is true as well, he continued, “because old wines can start to merge together stylistically. The challenge is how to catch the wine at the ideal point of freshness and maturity.”
96 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage Le Pavillon
Saturated ruby. Pungent, spice- and mineral-accented aromas of dark fruits, candied violet and licorice pick up a peppery topnote in the glass. Sappy, incisive and pure, offering vivacious, deeply concentrated black raspberry and boysenberry flavors and a spicy topnote. The endless finish shows superb clarity and power, harmonious tannins and a strong mineral quality.
95 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage L’Ermite
Bright purple. An impressively complex, expressive nose displays intense aromas of fresh dark berries, cherry cola, incense, allspice and smoky minerals. Spicy, deeply concentrated black and blue fruit flavors show superb focus and energy, and a suave floral pastille quality emerges as the wine opens up. Shows a compelling blend of richness and vivacity, finishing with superb lift, harmonious tannins and outstanding persistence.
95 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage Le Méal
Vivid purple. Deep-pitched, smoke- and spice-accented aromas of blueberry and cherry compote, violet and incense take on a hint of olive. Lush and expansive, offering palate-staining black and blue fruit liqueur and spicecake flavors sharpened by a bright mineral element. Becomes sweeter and deeper with air and finishes extremely long, with velvety tannins and lingering spiciness.
95 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite
Limpid gold. A highly perfumed and complex nose evokes mineral-accented orchard fruits and melon, backed by hints of smoke, iodine and vanilla. Densely packed pear, honeydew and tangerine flavors are energized by a zesty ginger quality and a repeating mineral note. Closes with superb thrust and persistence, leaving behind notes of pear skin and chalky minerals.
95 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage Blanc De L’Orée
Light yellow-gold. An impressively complex bouquet evokes ripe citrus and orchard fruits, iodine and white flowers, and a hint of smoky minerals emerges with air. Sappy, penetrating and focused on the palate, offering intense Meyer lemon, quince, ginger and sweet butter flavors that deepen and spread out on the back half. Powerful and deeply concentrated yet graceful, finishing with superb energy and lingering floral and mineral notes. The vines from which this wine is sourced are in the Les Murets lieu-dit.
94 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage Blanc Le Méal
Pale gold. Vibrant, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit aromas, along with suggestions of white flowers, iodine and smoky minerals. Stains the palate with fresh orange, pear and nectarine flavors that are lifted and given bite by a spicy gingery nuance. Concentrated and sharply focused, showing outstanding clarity and persistent mineral and floral notes on the finish.
94 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Ermitage Les Greffieux
Deep ruby. A highly perfumed bouquet evokes fresh red and dark berries, Indian spices, candied violet and incense, lifted by a bright mineral quality. Silky, sweet and energetic on the palate, offering vibrant black raspberry, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that spread out and gain weight with air. Manages to be both powerful and graceful, offering superb back-end punch and velvety tannins that shape the floral finish.
93 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Côte-Rôtie La Mordorée
(half of this fruit came from the Côte Blonde and the other half from the Côte Brune): Brilliant purple. Suave, expansive aromas of fresh blueberry, black raspberry, incense and candied flowers. Sweet, seamless and concentrated, offering intense dark fruit preserve and cola flavors and suggestions of licorice and spicecake that build with air. In a generous, fruit-forward style, but there’s very good structure here as well. Sneaky tannins frame the energetic dark fruit on the very long, juicy finish.
93 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Saint-Joseph Le Clos
Bright violet. A powerful, expressive bouquet evokes fresh dark berries, incense and candied flowers, and an exotic Indian spice nuance builds in the glass. Offers palate-staining boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors that open up and become spicier with air. Lush yet vibrant in character, displaying seamless texture and a sexy, lingering floral note on the impressively long, smoke-accented finish.
93 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Condrieu Côteau de Chery
Light gold. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes fresh citrus and pit fruits, tarragon and violet, complemented by a strong, smoky mineral overtone. Juicy and sharply delineated on the palate, offering intense tangerine, pear and honeysuckle flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. Deftly combines power and vivacity and finishes on a strong mineral note, showing outstanding energy, persistence and a touch of candied ginger.
93 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Saint-Joseph Blanc Les Granits
Bright gold. Ripe citrus and orchard fruits, honey, toasty lees, white flowers and iodine on the intensely perfumed nose. Stains the palate with ripe tangerine, poached pear and sweet butter flavors sharpened by a gingery nuance. Shows excellent clarity, lift and thrust on the smoky, mineral-tinged finish, which lingers with superb tenacity. All of this fruit came from the Saint-Joseph lieu-dit, one of the most prized vineyards in the appellation.
92 pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc Les Meysonniers
Green-tinged yellow. A suave, highly perfumed bouquet evokes tangerine, candied fig, white flowers and iodine, and hints of anise and ginger emerge slowly. Penetrating, concentrated and intensely mineral in character; juicy acidity enlivens the ripe orchard and citrus fruit flavors. Rich but vibrant, displaying impressive finishing energy and mineral-driven persistence. This is easily the best rendition of this bottling that I’ve ever tasted.
92 pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Condrieu Invitare
Very light yellow-gold. Fresh citrus and orchard fruits and violet on the lively, mineral-accented nose. Sappy and broad in the mouth, offering intense orange and pear nectar flavors underscored by a strong suggestion of dusty minerals. Tighter and nervier on the finish, leaving behind orange zest and bitter pear skin notes. I like the mix of richness and energy.
92 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne
Inky ruby. Intensely aromatic cherry and dark berry aromas are complemented by hints of licorice, peppery spices and cola. Deeply concentrated but taut dark fruit flavors show a suave blend of power and vivacity, and a mineral nuance adds lift. Gains heft and sweetness on the clinging finish, which features a smoky mineral quality and fine-grained tannins that come on slowly.
92 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Saint-Joseph Les Granits
Vivid ruby. Intense black currant, cherry cola, violet, licorice and woodsmoke scents, along with suggestions of sandalwood and star anise. Stains the palate with intense, spice-laced dark fruit and spicecake flavors that spread out on the back half. Smooth, seamless and graceful in character; a suave floral nuance lingers on the very long, gently tannic finish.
92 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonniers
Opaque ruby. Deep-pitched aromas of black currant, violet, incense and woodsmoke show a minerally topnote and a hint of olive in the background. Sweet, smoky and seamless on the palate, offering juicy black and blue fruit flavors and a sexy floral pastille flourish that gains strength as the wine opens up. Finishes very long, with excellent clarity and supple, slow-building tannins that lend shape.
92 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Côte-Rôtie Les Bécasses
Brilliant ruby. Smoke- and mineral-accented cherry and black raspberry scents, complicated by licorice and olive nuances. Sweet, penetrating dark berry and floral pastille flavors are enlivened by a zesty mineral element and pick up a peppery spice quality with air. Fleshes out slowly on the clinging, smoke-accented finish, which is framed by harmonious tannins that blend smoothly with the densely packed, energetic dark fruit.
91 pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Saint-Joseph Blanc Deschants
(75% of the wine was aged in used demi-muids and the rest in stainless steel tanks): Limpid yellow. Mineral-accented aromas of pear skin, peach pit, lifted by a gingery nuance. Chewy and tightly focused on the palate, offering underripe pear and lemon pith flavors and a hint of quinine. No excess weight here. Closes with strong, stony persistence, repeating spiciness and a subtle touch of honeysuckle.
91 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Cornas Les Arènes
(aged in 20% new oak): Vivid ruby. Dark berries, licorice, mocha and peppery spices on the perfumed nose. Silky, sweet and seamless on the palate, offering vibrant dark berry and floral pastille flavors given zesty bite by a suggestion of black pepper. Vanilla and olive paste nuances appear on a very long, gently tannic finish that strongly echoes the dark berry note. In an elegant style for Cornas, displaying a fruit-driven personality that should make this wine enjoyable on the relatively young side.
90 pts Maison Chapoutier 2013 Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers
Saturated ruby. Smoke- and spice-accented aromas of fresh black and blue fruits, violet and olive paste and a mineral topnote that builds in the glass. Taut and lively on the palate, offering zesty black currant and bitter cherry flavors sharpened by a peppery nuance. Takes a turn toward brighter red fruit on the persistent, gently tannic finish, which leaves behind a note of mocha.
90 pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc La Petite Ruche
Pale yellow. Tangerine, melon, quince and a smoky nuance on the nose. Spicy and tightly wound, offering dried orchard fruit and citrus pith flavors that flesh out slowly and become more succulent with aeration. Picks up a hint of fennel on the finish, which lingers with very good persistence.
88 pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 La Ciboise Luberon
(raised in concrete and stainless steel tanks): Ruby-red. Fresh black raspberry, blueberry and a hint of smokiness on the nose. Bright and lively on the palate, offering gently sweet dark fruit and peppery spice flavors that tighten up with air. The blue fruit and smoke notes carry through the finish, which is shaped by gentle tannins.
88 pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 La Ciboise Luberon Blanc
(raised entirely in stainless steel): Light yellow. Lively and sharply focused on the nose, displaying zesty lemon and green apple aromas and a suggestion of white pepper. Dry and tightly wound, offering nervy citrus fruit and quince flavors that loosen up slowly with air. Closes clean and spicy, displaying good lift and zesty bite.
(93-95) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage L’Ermite
Inky ruby. Bright, intensely perfumed aromas of red and dark berry preserves, smoky Indian spices and potpourri are given vivacity by a vibrant mineral nuance. Fresh and pure, displaying deeply concentrated boysenberry and bitter cherry flavors along with suggestions of candied flowers and star anise. Strongly repeats the floral and mineral qualities on the long, penetrating finish, which features sneaky tannins and a sweet touch of cola.
(94-96) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage Le Pavillon
Opaque ruby. A deeply perfumed bouquet evokes candied dark berries, cherry cola, incense and violet, and a smoky mineral nuance builds in the glass. Intense, mineral-laced black and blue fruit and floral pastille flavors are given focus and spine by juicy acidity. Closes sweet, seamless and extremely long; peppery spices and smoky minerals add vivacity. This wine’s blend of power and finesse is extremely impressive.
(94-96) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage Le Méal
Bright purple. Intensely perfumed blackberry and cherry liqueur aromas are complicated by suggestions of Asian spices, fennel and incense. Juicy, expansive black and blue fruit flavors show excellent clarity and gain weight and flesh with air, while a vibrant mineral element adds lift and focus. Fine-grained tannins add grip to the spicy, floral finish, which leaves a smoky mineral note behind.
(94-96) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage Les Greffieux
Dark purple. A highly perfumed, complex bouquet evokes dark fruit liqueur, smoky minerals and pungent flowers, complemented by notes of olive and anise. Stains the palate with juicy black and blue fruit flavors given bite by zesty acidity and a peppery element. Clings with fantastic tenacity on the sweet, dark fruit-dominated finish, which is framed by velvety, slow-building tannins.
(92-94) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne
Vivid purple. Sexy, highly perfumed aromas of dark fruit liqueur, smoky minerals and licorice pastille. Silky and sweet on entry, then deeper in the mid-palate, offering intense blackberry, bitter cherry and anise flavors enlivened by zesty minerality. Shows excellent clarity and lift on the seamless, strikingly persistent finish, which leaves a cherry liqueur note behind.
(93-95) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Côte-Rôtie La Mordorée
Brilliant ruby-red. A complex, expansive bouquet evokes fresh dark berries, cherry pit, incense and pungent flowers, and a smoky bacon nuance builds in the glass. Concentrated but lively and precise, offering energetic blackberry and bitter cherry flavors and an undercurrent of vibrant minerality. Clings with outstanding tenacity on the youthfully tannic finish, leaving behind smoky mineral and floral pastille notes.
(92-94) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Saint-Joseph Le Clos
Inky purple. Highly perfumed, mineral- and spice-accented dark berries and candied violet on the nose. At once rich and lively, offering juicy, deeply concentrated black raspberry and cherry cola flavors plus a hint of smokiness. Turns spicier on the broad, clinging finish, which features building tannins and an emphatic echo of smoky minerals.
(92-94) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Saint-Joseph Les Granits
Bright violet. Explosive, mineral-tinged aromas of blackberry, incense, potpourri, olive and woodsmoke, lent vivacity by a peppery topnote. Shows excellent clarity and thrust on the palate, offering sweet, smoke-tinged black and blue flavors and a strong suggestion of candied violet. The juicy, expansive finish displays velvety tannins and a strong echo of candied flowers.
(92-94) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonniers
Deep ruby. Vibrant aromas of black raspberry, cherry cola and violet, developing olive and cured tobacco nuances with air. Juicy, focused and subtly sweet, offering taut red and dark berry flavors that become deeper and spicier with air. The floral note comes back strongly on the finish, which features slow-building tannins and a touch of succulent herbs.
(90-92) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Côte-Rôtie Les Bécasses
(aged in 20% new oak): Dark purple. Musky dark berry skin, cherry pit and licorice aromas are sharpened by cracked pepper and mineral nuance. Juicy and focused in the mouth, offering spice-accented bitter cherry and black currant flavors that deepen and spread out slowly. Rich yet lively, with strong closing punch; dusty tannins add shape and grip.
(91-93) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Cornas Les Arènes
(aged in large oak barrels, 25% of them new): Inky ruby. Ripe, oak-spiced cherry and blueberry aromas are lifted by a floral note and smoky minerality. Fleshy and seamless in texture, offering sweet dark berry flavors and a suave floral pastille quality. Emphatically fruity and expansive, closing with impressive cling, repeating spiciness and subtle tannins adding shape.
(90-92) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Saint-Joseph Deschants
(aged entirely in concrete tanks): Glass-staining ruby. Powerful, smoke- and spice-accented blueberry and cherry compote scents show good focus and pick up a peppery nuance as the wine opens up. Smooth, sweet and expansive on the palate, offering juicy cherry cola and licorice pastille flavors and a hint of espresso. The smoky note comes back on a long, youthfully tannic finish, which leaves behind a subtly sweet dark fruit liqueur note.
(90-92) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers
Inky ruby. Vibrant cherry and red currant scents are complemented by suggestions of black pepper, licorice and olive. Taut and structured on entry, then more open in the mid-palate, offering red berry and bitter cherry flavors sweetened by a floral pastille nuance. Fine-grained tannins build steadily on the finish, which lingers with very good, smoky persistence.
(90-92) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Crozes-Hermitage La Petite Ruche
Bright violet. Ripe blackberry and candied licorice on the pungent, smoke-tinged nose. Chewy and focused, showing a peppery bite to the deep dark fruit and floral pastille flavors. Becomes more lively with air, picking up a subtle mineral note that carries through the long, youthfully tannic finish.
(92-94) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Condrieu Côteau de Chery
Green-tinged yellow. Expansive aromas of nectarine, ripe citrus fruits, honey and white flowers, backed by a hint of smoky minerals. Broad, fleshy tangerine and white peach flavors become spicier and more lively with air, picking up notes of ginger and fennel on the back half . The floral quality repeats emphatically on the mineral-accented finish, which shows a suave blend of power and finesse.
(93-95) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage Blanc L’Ermite
Brilliant gold. Fresh, mineral-accented pear and Meyer lemon on the nose, developing hints of toasty lees, iodine and fennel with air. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering concentrated orchard and pit fruit flavors sharpened and lifted by zesty acidity. Finishes sappy, stony and very long, the echo of citrus zest adding bite and focus. There’s a Chablis-like quality to this wine that I find fascinating.
(93-95) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage Blanc Le Méal
Pale gold. Vibrant, minerally and sharply focused on the highly perfumed nose, displaying an array of ripe citrus and orchard fruit aromas and deeper fig and honey qualities. Sappy and incisive on the palate; a vibrant mineral quality gives lift to the flavors of bitter pear skin, tangerine and honeysuckle. Deftly melds power and finesse, the mineral and floral component dominating the very long, seamless finish.
(94-96) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Ermitage Blanc De L’Orée
Bright yellow-gold. Powerful scents of white peach, pear skin and Meyer lemon, picking up floral, honey and mineral nuances with air. Broad and fleshy but sharply focused on the plate, offering intense, mineral-laced orchard and pit fruit flavors and a refreshingly bitter suggestion of citrus pith. Minerally and nervy on the penetrating, seamless and extremely persistent finish, which leaves behind honeysuckle and pear skin notes.
(92-94) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Saint-Joseph Blanc Les Granits
Limpid gold. A wild, intensely perfumed bouquet evokes fresh orchard and pit fruits, orange zest and iodine, complemented by a chalky mineral overtone and a hint of jasmine. Sappy, incisive and pure on the palate, offering concentrated pear and nectarine flavors underscored by a smoky quality. Shows outstanding energy and focus on the finish, which lingers with serious, minerally tenacity. (Incidentally, the 2005, which I drank in early March, was wonderful, offering excellent depth and ripe pit fruit, honey and toasted nut qualities.)
(91-93) pts Maison Chapoutier 2014 Hermitage Blanc Chante-Alouette
Brilliant yellow. Intensely perfumed aromas of poached pear, orange, candied fig and jasmine take on a hint of dusty minerality. Smooth, concentrated and expansive on the palate, offering intense, mineral-tinged orchard and pit fruit flavors and a refreshing touch of bitter quinine. Finishes very long and supple, with impressive clarity and building spiciness.