x
  • Country ranking ?

    263
  • Producer ranking ?

    2
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Rib Eye Steaks with Demi-Glace and White Bean Purée

The Story

Jean-Louis Chave Chave is known for opting for blending Syrah from their 15 ha vineyards on the Hermitage hill. Their philosophy is against single vineyard wines since blending guarantees more complexity in the wine. In this superb wine this is clearly indicated by the tremendous complexity. Syrah from Bessards is giving rich fruit intensity and concentration to the wine while Méal more depth in flavours and bouquet. Rocoules adds finesse in structure and length along the floral tones. L’Hermite contributes peppery earthy tones and colour. Péléat gives wildness and firmness in structure whereas Diognières provides colour and the savoury tastiness.

 

Vineyard Location: Bessards: The backbone of Chave’s Hermitage year in and out. One of the most famous vineyards in the AOC, Bessards is based on steep, granite hillside soils and provides a strong mineral note to the wine.

Beaumes: A long, narrow vineyard running north to south on the midpoint of the hill, Beaumes tends to produce lighter, more fruit-forward Syrah.

Hermite: This vineyard is located at the very top of the hill of Hermitage and surrounds the Chapel located there. It has a range of soil types, including granite and loess. Chave often vini es different lots from with in Hermite separately.

Péléat: A monopole, with stony, sandy soil, Péléat provides wines that are rmer and more complex.

Méal: A fairly large vineyard just to the east of Bessards. Méal is based on looser, alluvial soils and produces richer, riper wines with plenty of structure.

Vini cation: Generally 100% destemmed, as the Hermitage is meant to be about the expression of the individual vineyards and soils and Jean-Louis believes that stems have a tendency to level out the differences. Fermentation in wood tonneaux and stainless steel tanks. Aged in barriques for 30 months. 

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Vintage 1990

Parker 98 points: Gerard Chave has made many great wines, but his 1990s are extra special. Now that the 1990 Hermitage (except for Chave's new luxury cuvee) has been bottled, Chave, not one to extol the virtues of his wines, claims that it must be considered to be among his greatest. Keep in mind that the Chave family has been making Hermitage since 1481. Gerard Chave claims that the only other vintages to possess such extraordinary concentration and raw material were the 1952 and 1961.

The 1990 boasts an opaque dark ruby/purple-color. Since bottling the nose has closed, but super-sweet, over-ripe aromas of cassis and minerals emerge with swirling. In the mouth, the wine is massive, with an animal-like, peppery, powerful Syrah character brilliantly displayed in a multidimensional, multilayered fashion. The tannin level is high and the finish is exquisite. While not as flashy or as flamboyant as Jaboulet's 1990 Hermitage-La Chapelle, this wine will need 10-15 years of cellaring, which suggests to me that readers who can already claim 50 or more years of longevity may want to carefully consider the wisdom of purchasing this wine. It will prove to be a monumental Hermitage, but certainly over the next 15-20 years the 1989 (because of less tannin and more opulent richness) will probably outshine it. Nevertheless, if you are young, have a good cellar, and adore the taste and personality of Syrah, these two vintages are reference points for not only the Syrah grape, but for the wines of Hermitage. I tasted both the 1990 and 1989 (readers may remember I rated this wine 96) several times in September, and my best guess on anticipated maturity for the 1989 would be between 1998-2030 and for the 1990, between 2005-2040+.

Long-time Chave enthusiasts will probably be astonished to learn that a tiny quantity of a luxury cuvee of 1990 red Hermitage has been produced. It is still aging in small new oak casks waiting for Chave to decide what to call it and when to bottle it. I cannot say it is better than his 1990 red Hermitage, but it will be different since it has been aged in new oak. This has given it a slightly different aromatic and flavor profile than Chave's normal cuvee of Hermitage.

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Average Bottle Price

2015 2014 2012 2010 2005
689€ +5.4% 654€ +11.0% 589€ +4.6% 563€ +71.1% 329€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

11 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Brick red and Healthy

ending

Medium, Pure and Vibrant

flavors

Pepper, Violet, Cigar-box, Leather, Tobacco and Spice

nose

Youthful, Opulent, Ripe and Rich

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, High tannin, Multi-dimensional, Concentrated, Balanced, Medium-bodied, Fragrant, Rich, Vigor and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and Exotic

Written Notes

The night was coming to a close, and so were my note-taking skills.  “Bacon, blood, pig, beef, smoke” summed up the 1990 Chave Hermitage.  And notes of Viognier, even though I am not sure any is in it lol.  It was damn good (96).

  • 96p

A local group of wine mates meet once a month for a themed lunch – I only made three this year but all three provided a wine for this list (the others being the Rousseau and the Conterno). The most recent was one where there were only about nine of us but, as they say in the classics, the boat was pushed out. Way out! Second place shared by two extraordinarily good wines, the 2001 Rayas and the 1990 Lafite. First across the line was this truly monumental wine, and in magnum! A wine with a legendary reputation and it more than lived up to it.

Served blind, this was wonderfully expressive, elegant, complex and mature. Red fruits here. Leather, spices and mushroom/truffly notes. So supple and seamless and so very long. This felt like the hordes of heaven had arrived. If any one wine went close to bringing me to tears this year, this was it.

100

  • 100p
Good looking normal size bottle, in an perfect condition and has by the neck level. Colour is brick red, deep and full. On the nose it is wide, youthful, opulent, generous and rich. The taste is rich, vigor, fragrant, refined, with silky tannins, full-bodied, with multi-dimensional, balanced, well-integrated and concentrated structure. On the palate it is layered and has pepper, earthy, dried-fruit, blackberry, spice, steely, mushrooms, tropical fruits, tobacco, leather, cigar-box and violet flavours. The finish is endless, extensive, flavorful, pure and vibrant. This wine is transparent, exotic and masterpiece. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 20-30 years and decant at least 2h before tasting. Good value for money.
  • 98p

Information

Origin

Hermitage, Rhône

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Average

Fake factory

None

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

96p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Hermitage 1990  ( Domaine Jean-Louis Chave )

The night was coming to a close, and so were my note-taking skills.  “Bacon, blood, pig, beef, smoke” summed up the 1990 Chave Hermitage.  And notes of Viognier, even though I am not sure any is in it lol.  It was damn good (96).

2m 2d ago

100p
 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  Hermitage 1990  ( Domaine Jean-Louis Chave )

A local group of wine mates meet once a month for a themed lunch – I only made three this year but all three provided a wine for this list (the others being the Rousseau and the Conterno). The most recent was one where there were only about nine of us but, as they say in the classics, the boat was pushed out. Way out! Second place shared by two extraordinarily good wines, the 2001 Rayas and the 1990 Lafite. First across the line was this truly monumental wine, and in magnum! A wine with a legendary reputation and it more than lived up to it.

Served blind, this was wonderfully expressive, elegant, complex and mature. Red fruits here. Leather, spices and mushroom/truffly notes. So supple and seamless and so very long. This felt like the hordes of heaven had arrived. If any one wine went close to bringing me to tears this year, this was it.

100

9m 25d ago

97p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Hermitage 1990  ( Domaine Jean-Louis Chave )

"A true masterpiece by Gérard Chave. Chave is known for opting for blending Syrah from their 15 ha vineyards on the Hermitage hill. Their philosophy is against single vineyard wines since blending guarantees more complexity in the wine. In this superb wine this is clearly indicated by the tremendous complexity. Syrah from Bessards is giving rich fruit intensity and concentration to the wine while Méal more depth in flavours and bouquet. Rocoules adds finesse in structure and length along the floral tones. L’Hermite contributes peppery earthy tones and colour. Péléat gives wildness and firmness in structure whereas Diognières provides colour and the savoury tastiness. Gérard Chave himself has compared this top vintage to 1952 and 1961.
Fine looking bottle. Decanted for two hours. This beautiful Hermitage has a deep, dark and seductive colour. On the nose amazing aromas of blackberry, vanilla, herbs and refreshing minerals. The palate was remarkably rich and long and less tannic than expected. The finish was super-long and pure with pleasant sweetness and rich, earthy flavours. This is the essence of Syrah with a long life span ahead.
"

1y 8m ago

96p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Hermitage 1990  ( Domaine Jean-Louis Chave )

"While most of our group was understandably bewitched by the prior flight, my wife Leslie was captivated by these two, and I can’t disagree. This is a wine of considerable majesty, with a soaring nose of cassis, olives, mint, spices and some Bordeaux-esque Graves-like notes almost. Black raspberries, a certain early smokiness, pure and concentrated tannins, full bodied depth on the mid palate, exceptional balance, some mushrooms, violets and cloves assert themselves in this marvelous mélange of flavors and textures, wonderfully balanced throughout. Some Asian notes and plums are vibrantly evident on the powerful, palate enticing finish. This wine is a real classic, a profound example of the joys of mature Hermitage. 96 Points."

2y 8m ago

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Hermitage 1990  ( Domaine Jean-Louis Chave )

"The 1990 Chave Hermitage took no prisoners, as always. It is tough to think of a greater vintage for this great wine. The nose has everything and then some – the animal, meat, game, honey, all perfectly roasted in an open campfire meets spitfire, good way. The palate was the tightest so far despite being the oldest, and its acid lingered like great memories. I need a whole bottle of this to myself some time soon (97)."

4y 5m ago

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