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News

M. CHAPOUTIER IS THE WORLD’S MOST ADMIRED FRENCH WINE BRAND IN 2016 

The annual rankings of the world’s most admired wine brands by the magazine Drinks International* have just been published and the prestigious wine estate M. Chapoutier is the world’s most admired French wine brand. This annual list is drawn up by a panel of experts (over 200 of the world’s best Masters of Wine, sommeliers, teachers and well known journalists) who select the brands from all regions, styles and quality from all over the world according to very precise criteria: continuous improvement of quality, the reflection of the terroir of the region of origin, the ability to meet the demands and tastes of the target consumers, the marketing and packaging, and finally the brand’s strong global appeal.

 

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History

Michel Chapoutier is one of the most highly regarded winemakers in France. Since taking over his family firm in 1990 at age 26, Michel Chapoutier has transformed the winery into the leading Rhône Valley producer. He combines the modern and the traditional: crusading for biodynamic winemaking, while expanding operations around the globe and experimenting with cutting edge winemaking techniques.

 

This restless energy and unconditional commitment to quality has produced tremendous success. In 2003 alone, Maison M. Chapoutier's wines garnered no less than 88 ratings of 90+ points as well as broad acclaim from the most widely regarded publications including The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, International Wine Cellar, Wine & Spirits, and Wine Enthusiast. In the last three years, Robert Parker has awarded five of Michel Chapoutier's wines perfect 100 point scores.

"Michel Chapoutier's enthusiasm and commitment to exceptional, naturally made wines is a winemaking triumph, as well as a clear victory for all who care about the quality of wine"
~ Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate

 

M. Chapoutier's roots in the Rhône date back to 1808, when the family first settled in Tain l'Hermitage from the Ardèche Mountains.

The family purchased a winery owned by Comte Monier de la Sizeranne and over time, acquired a number of excellent vineyards - including some of the oldest in France. M. Chapoutier became one of the most important names in the prestigious Hermitage, Côte Rôtie and Châteuneuf-du-Pape appellations.

 


It was Michel Chapoutier's grandfather who ignited a passion for winemaking and a commitment to quality in his young grandson, inspiring Michel to leave Tain to study oenology at one of France's best winemaking schools, subsequently landing him winemaking internships in California. In 1987, Michel returned to Tain l'Hermitage and discovered that the family's winery was languishing - his father's wines weren't selling and the family firm was in danger of bankruptcy.

 

In 1989, a close mutual friend of Anthony Terlato, Chairman and CEO of Terlato Wines International, insisted that he visit the M. Chapoutier winery to meet Michel, who was 25 years of age at the time. Although Terlato's schedule was overburdened, he agreed to make the trip because he remembered the quality of the M. Chapoutier wines he had tasted in the 1950s in his father's retail shop. For hours they talked, tasting wines from Michel's grandfather as well as some barrel samples from 1989 the first vintage vinified entirely by Michel.

 

"I met a winemaker who I think is an absolute genius," Terlato told his son by telephone. "He may revolutionize how vineyards are treated with something called biodynamic farming. He's brilliant and only 25 years old. We are going to be selling some great Rhône wines." Upon learning of the firm's tight financial situation, Terlato agreed to pay in advance for the 1989 vintage, permitting Michel to take full control over winemaking and providing him the capital needed to upgrade Michel's winemaking program.

 

Under Michel's leadership, dramatic changes brought world acclaim to his wines. He pruned back the vineyards and boldly reduced yields from 35 or more hectoliters per hectare (2.6 tons per acre) to 25 hectoliters per hectare (1.8 tons per acre) for both red and white wines. Michel went further, launching a crusade against chemicals, fertilizers and sprays. He adopted biodynamic and organic farming techniques in his estate vineyards, harvesting grapes by hand and using only natural yeasts to produce unfiltered wines.

 

Today, M. Chapoutier is the only producer to own vineyards in all of the major Rhône appellations. With Michel's guidance, the family firm has become the benchmark Rhône wine producer.

"In this short period, Michel Chapoutier has amassed a record of unprecedented achievement …he is one of the most influential wine personalities of the last 20 years."
~ Robert Parker Jr.

 

They were appreciated as early on as Roman times when they were enjoyed (as well as Côte Rotie wines) under the name of " Vienne wines "and were later to be called " Saint Christopher's hillside wines " because of a chapel there bearing the saint's name. They were also to be known of as " Tournon wines ". 

The name of Hermitage probably first appeared in the XVIIth Century in memory of Henry Gaspard, a knight from Stérimberg : who having come back from the Crusades (in the XIIIth Century) and tired of waging war, lived as a hermite on a hillside which had been given to him by Anne of Castille,Queen of Spain.

There he planted a vineyard. Alexander Dumas as well as the Tsar Nicholas II are among the many connoisseurs of this particularly highly estimated wine.

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Vineyards

395 acres of the top appellations of the Rhône Valley, including Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Condrieu, Saint Joseph, Côte Rôtie, Cornas, Condrieu, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Gigondas. Chapoutier is the only landowner in the area to own vineyards in all major appellations.

 

Two words adding up to an essential value: bio, as in life, and dynamics, for action.
For its own vines Maison M. Chapoutier has adopted biodynamic farming techniques. This demanding approach is backed by a genuine conviction and a fierce determination to allow the earth to live and express itself. Making AoC wines principally means giving full expression to a terroir (soil, climate, people). This process, transforming mineral potential into plant life, can only occur on a vibrant terroir, capable of transmitting its vitality and energy.

 

“Allowing the terroir to have its say, means letting the soil and especially the vintage express themselves. This integrity must not be corrected.” This sums up the goal pursued by Maison M. Chapoutier. As each vintage reflects the climate over the whole year, Maison M. Chapoutier has deliberately chosen to avoid establishing a house taste, a set style.

 

Its overall approach is subordinated to terroir, and the organoleptic differences between each vintage. On the other hand, there is a constant desire to highlight differences, bringing out specific nuances in the flavour particular to a terroir or a wine.
In keeping with the AoC ethos. The aim is to achieve the greatest refinement, a crescendo effect, from fragrance, through flavour, to lingering aftertaste, exemplified by subtle wines particularly well matched to good food, some simple, others more refined.

 

Since 1996 all Chapoutier labels have been marked in Braille.

This is also a tribute to Maurice Monier of La Sizeranne, a member of the family that previously owned the vines of the same name and who invented the first abbreviated version of Braille. He also founded the Valentin Houï Association.

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Winemaking

The single vineyard wines, or Sélections Parcellaires, of Michel Chapoutier have earned the position of reference points for the Rhône's finest appellations. While no formal hierarchical cru system exists in the Rhône, among producers, one has been in place for several generations. Vineyards names, or lieux-dits (named places) have been established over time, some officially and some through traditional usage. As the great growers have paid more attention to the unique character of their individual vineyard sites, they have been able to elevate a series of unique wines of place. Maison M. Chapoutier has been at the forefront of this movement with its Sélections Parcellaires, rare wines that have become the highest expressions of each its appellations.

 

Michel has elevated these parcels to an unofficial "grand cru" range. The quality of his wines result not only from his vineyard holdings, but also from his dedication to farming them according to a biodynamic viticultural philosophy that emphasizes extremely low yields, resulting in the ideal expression of soil character for each vineyard. The success of his efforts can be found in his offerings from the finest vineyard sites from the Northern and Southern Rhône.

 

 

With only 100 to 700 cases produced annually, these rare wines grown on ancient vines with minuscule yields include wines from the classic Southern Rhône appellation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The sublime Barbe Rac, grown from a vineyard planted in 1901 has an aging potential of over 80 years. In the Northern Rhône, the magnificent Ermite Rouge from ancient vines located at the top of the Hermitage Hill has an aging potential of over 100 years. The Mordorée, from Côte Rôtie, is grown on the oldest vines on the steep terraced vineyard located in Côte Brune and Côte Blonde above Ampuis. Reference point wines for each of their appellations, the Sélections Parcellaires of Maison M. Chapoutier are among the greatest red and white wines produced in the world.

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Inside information

In 1997, true to his pioneering spirit, Michel Chapoutier set out to explore the terroirs of the oldest continent. He wanted to meet people, people like him with a passionate interest in bringing out the true character of vines. A matter of convictions, too, prompting discovery and observation. He found land awaiting its revelation. Michel Chapoutier’s aim is to invent properties, not to follow the example of others. Michel Chapoutier buys land and joins forces with major winemaking families, playing on their complementary know-how and experience The result is exceptional Shiraz wines, displaying great elegance and mineral purity. In 2002 he joined forces with Ron and Elva Laughton (Jasper Hill) in central Victoria, and at Heathcote, north of Melbourne, on a very unusual, early Cambrian soil. He has also worked with Rick Kinzbrunner on the Giaconda vineyard at Beechworth, in northeast Victoria, on a granite soil. After a brief experimental joint venture with his US importer (Terlato & Chapoutier), Maison M. Chapoutier bought two other Australian vineyards (Shays Flat and Landsborough) in the Victorian Pyrenees and set up the fully owned Domaine Tournon.

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30 different wines with 156 vintages

Winemaking since 1808

  • Michel Chapoutier

    Owner
    “Fac et Spera” – do and hope – says it all."

Highlights

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Wine Moments

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

 James Molesworth, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  6 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  6 wines 

M. Chapoutier Ermitage L'Ermite 2010 – Stunning, with a seemingly bottomless well of blackberry confiture, plum sauce and blackberry pâte de fruit flavors allied to an intense wrought-iron spine that lends an authoritative feel through the finish. An intense, strident, supremely confident rendering of terrific terroir in a superb vintage. 

3m 15d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  18 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  18 wines 

M. Chapoutier Ermitage La Pavillon 2014 is very dark indeed. Real lift and twang to this on the nose. Very sophisticated. Surely long lived. Remarkably muscular.

3m 27d ago

 Richard Hemming MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  31 wines 

Penfolds G5, Released on 1 November, final one of the 'g' trio. 2,200 bottles made. 2018 and 2016 (blended out of barrel), plus 2014, 2012 and 2010 (blended out of bottle). 70% Barossa. 97% Shiraz, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Finished in used oak.
Opened ten hours earlier. Intoxicating oak scent – drenched with coconut and vanilla. Lusciously fruited, of course, with a few degrees more subtlety than the Grange 2017. Brambles from start to finish, with not a thorn in sight. It is a marvel of blending, without any peppery character, but all the richness and history of Barossa Shiraz. Finishes with black liquorice.

3m 28d ago

 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Inspired by James Bond – No Time to Die, we included Château Angelus 2003 (96p) in our Tour de France dinner. What a crowd pleaser. Rich and intense. In wonderful condition now but left no  doubt that this wine will evolve beautifully another 5-10 years. The aristocratic La Mission Haut-Brion 1998 (97p) shone on a par with Angelus, with its classic charming style. The joker of the eve, Stag's Leap Artemis 2014 (92p) served with aged hard cheeses was a true charmer with its dense finesse.

6m 4d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  4 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  53 wines 

2017 Opus One / Ruby. Cassis, blueberries, anise, spices, vanilla, liquorice, some coffee, layered nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, juicy, spices, liquorice, detailed and layered, nuanced, intense and superb length. 96

6m 30d ago

 Richard Hemming MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  17 wines 

Penfolds 802-A Superblend 2018 / Not made in 2019 and 2020. Made to celebrate Cabernet/Shiraz blends. Makes use of the A1-grade fruit that isn't suitable for Grange, similarly to Quantum – so that top-end grower fruit has more options. Cabernet and Shiraz matured separately for 18 months, then blended. Matured 22 months in American oak.
Black fruit, lots of floral perfume – really quite different to the 389 style, and perhaps less typically Penfolds. Still delicious with black cherry, rounded tannins, a touch of tarmac – this is almost Piedmont in aromatic profile. A little less integrated than the 802-B. (RH)

7m 21d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  21 wines 

2017 Guigal Côte-Rôtie La Turque / Ruby. Scented, liquorice, spices, blackberries and blueberries, nuanced and deep, rich yet floral high notes nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, red and dark fruits, sweet liquorice and vanilla, layered and deep, long indeed. Stunning wine. 98

8m 13d ago

 Ron Riviere, Sommelier (United States)  tasted  5 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Chapoutier Ermitage De L'Orée 2016 / Intense, golden yellow, with hints of green and gold.Very intense, hot shingles, toffee, and very ripe lemon with floral overtones of 
Well-rounded start, full bodied, very complex with overtones of ripe fruits, spices and roasted flavors. Very long on the palate, with a fresh finish.


De L'Orée is always a critic's favorite with, at best, only 600 cases produced per year. It is Marsanne, so intense due to low yields and high ripeness, that handles barrel fermentation without leaving overt oak tones. The site is the alluvial Coteaux des Murets in the eastern part of the Hermitage hill. It is one of the longest-living dry white wines in France.

8m 16d ago

 Julia Harding MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  2 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  27 wines 

Telmo Rodríguez Lanzaga 2009 / Bushvine Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha from the village of Lanciego. Planted at 500-600 m on a sandstone plateau. Flat shallow soils, stony, calcareous and silty textured. Low fertility and low water retention capacity. Some fruit from own biodynamically farmed vineyard, some bought in. 40,000 bottles. Fermented with native yeasts in cement tanks, matured 14 months in big oak casks and smaller barrels. Bottled June 2012.
Intensely dark crimson with black core. Smells immediately sweeter and riper and more intense than the LZ, with some oak sweetness. Very dark fruited and more spice too. Even with that extra fruit intensity there is still a graphite/mineral dimension. On the palate, the tannins are dense but somehow silky at the same time, giving a wonderfully dry finish, the same effect as 70% dark chocolate but with a different flavour. Still pretty closed up on the palate, dark and savoury and firmly mineral. Super-dry, long finish. So much more to come. Stunning wine. A little more luscious than the 2010 Alto Lanzaga. (JH)

1y 7m ago

 Thomas Girgensohn, Wine Blogger (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Guigal La Mouline is always the more feminine wine of the three, and this is true for the 2015 La Mouline. The grapes come from 100 year old vines with very low yields. This Shiraz includes 10% Viognier, and the wine is matured for two years in new oak. There is no whole bunch included. This wine without doubt was the wine of the night. Fragrant, opulent, fresh, elegant, velvety, pure, silky, spicy; this comes to mind rather than any fruit descriptors. This full-bodied wine has incredible length and stays with you for some time (98 points). 

1y 7m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Cristal 2008 / 16% malo, only on Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. ‘There were lots of similarities with 1996, which gave us the possibility to replay the 1996 vintage! Maybe we picked 1996 a bit early so in 2008 we waited longer, by at least a week, than in 1996. Lots of tasting – far more than in 1996 when Roederer based picking only on analysis – and there was no malo in 1996.’ For the first time ever, they decided to release it later than the younger vintage, 2009 – so 2008 had nine years on lees. The last batch of 2008 will be disgorged in March 2019. (Scan the back label via the Roederer app to get the disgorgement year.) Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon is coy about the assemblage. ‘I’m looking for chalkiness.’ In 2008 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, which reflects perfectly the balance of their plantings. 40% of the estate was biodynamic then.
Really dense nose with lots of evolution but still extreme freshness. Some apple-skin character. Bone dry but wonderful lift and freshness. Long and super-lively. Real undertow, but very racy on the nose. Lots to chew on. Really elegant!

1y 8m ago

 Li Yong Liú, Wine Merchant (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  M. Chapoutier . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 2016/ Very fine, with a loamy frame around a core of fleshy plum, fig and blackberry flavors. A backdrop of licorice root and roasted espresso shows on the finish. Still a little shy on energy, this exhibits a hefty dose of toast, ample depth of fruit and a good tug of terroir.

2y 2m ago

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