2005 M. Chapoutier - Ermitage L'Ermite
Wine Advocate: 95 Points
At the very top of the appellation?s dome of decomposed granite is l?Ermite. This wine is the equivalent of drinking liquified rocks.The 2005 Ermitage l?Ermite blanc has that multi-layered mouthfeel, an extraordinary nose of intense minerality, quince, and white fruits. Some of the vines in this parcel are 130 years old, and the wine has over-the-top richness yet amazing acidity, depth, and a freshness that is hard to believe given its power and intensity.
With twenty vintages under his belt, Michel Chapoutier and his impressive winemaking staff go from strength to strength. These are among the world?s greatest wines, especially the single vineyard wines, many of which will last 50 or more years. Chapoutier thinks 2006 is one of the very finest vintages in the northern Rhone for white wines (and I don?t see any reason to disagree). The naturally high acidity and a summer season with no brutal heat waves allowed the wines to maintain their acidity while at the same time gaining flavor intensity. I have always had the feeling that despite his prodigious ability to make profound red wines, Michel Chapoutier gets a greater thrill from his white wine portfolio than from his impressive reds. . The single vineyard wines from Chapoutier are wines of super concentration, and are made from what are historically tiny yields. Along with Chaves? white Hermitage and a handful of other Rhone whites, these are potentially the longest-lived and most profound whites being produced there. From the granite hillsides of St.-Joseph, Michel Chapoutier makes by far the appellation?s finest white, and one might argue, red as well. -- Robert Parker