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Wine Spectator: ‘Michel Chapoutier’s Next Great Vintage’

stirring-the-leesJames Molesworth is in the Northern Rhone, filing reports for his “Stirring the Lees” blog, and he’s got a great series of posts up on his tastings with Michael Chapoutier.

In the latest post, they taste the 2015 M. Chapoutier reds. “Michel himself seems as enthused as ever with this vintage,” Molesworth writes. “And that’s saying a lot for a man who has a high energy level to begin with.”

Some highlights from Molesworth’s report:

The 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Les Meysonniers is a supple, enticing wine with sensual plum and blackberry preserve note underscored by a light graphite edge. It has sneaky acidity that really kicks in at the very end, adding length.

The 2015 St.-Joseph Deschants, shows a sleek, racy feel, relying more on violet and lavender notes along with a core of cassis flavor.

The 2015 Côte-Rôtie Les Bécasses is very refined, with mouthwatering tobacco and bay leaf notes around the core of supple cherry and blackberry fruit. The long finish knits the herb and fruit sides together beautifully.

The 2015 Crozes-Ermitage Les Varonniers is packed with tar, black currant paste and fig bread notes along with a cocoa powder edge on the finish. It’s a wine built on bass, but stays balanced.

The 2015 St.-Joseph Les Granits is tightly wound, with a strong iron note holding the core of blackberry and raspberry at bay, but there’s terrific depth and drive here.

The 2015 Côte-Rôtie La Mordorée is packed with dark currant and fig fruit, underscored by bramble-edged tannins that bristle with energy, while the finish pulls in copious sweet tobacco and tapenade notes. Almost gutsy in feel, this will easily soak up an extended élevage.

The 2015 Hermitage Monier de la Sizeranne is very expressive, with loganberry and açai berry fruit bursting forth, backed by light brambly grip that gains depth and a tarry hint as it moves through the finish.

The 2015 Ermitage Le Méal is ablaze with cassis and raspberry pate de fruit flavors that stream from start to finish, letting light anise, floral and iron notes peek in here and there. It has terrific cut through the finish with a long echo of warm stone.

The 2015 Ermitage Le Pavillon as usual brims with zesty raspberry, loganberry and blackberry fruit, though it’s more typical brambly structure is particularly sweet and round in this vintage, while light bergamot and iron notes fill in on the finish. It’s very refined for a Pavillon, with its energy more in reserve here than up front.

Finally, the 2015 Ermitage L’Ermite provides the distilled essence of cassis and raspberry fruit with flickers of anise and black tea along the edges before its riveting minerality strides in on the finish. This is long, lean muscle at its best.

Subscribers can see the full report and all of Moleworth’s post on Chapoutier by visiting his blog on the Spectator site.

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