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Cuvée Cathelin, named after the artist Bernard Cathelin, a friend of the Chave family who designed the label for this wine which was first released in 1990. When it comes to extremely exclusive wines in extremely limited production, the trip typically goes to Burgundy. But Rhône can also join on the big stage. Domaine Chave's Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin is not only the best and most exclusive wine from the region, but also one of the smallest productions. Domaine Chave produces just 200 cases of Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin a year, which is equivalent to just 2,400 bottles. Overall, this means that just over 20,000 bottles of Cuvée Cathelin have been produced since the first (1990), of a total of nine vintages, was released.
The spring in the Northern Rhône was mild, leading to early flowering. The summer was not as torrid as in 1989, but it was very dry, which in some areas, such as Côte-Rôtie, forced growers to wait well into the autumn before harvesting. However, some rain fell in early September in Hermitage, which speeded the maturation and did not cause much delay in harvesting. Indeed, Chave is always among the last Hermitage growers to pick. Jean-Louise Chave has explained that, despite the renown of the vintage, it was at first difficult to discern the red’s tannic structure, which prompted his father to create a different and more structured blend.
It is difficult to speak of the terroir behind the Chave Hermitage, since the family owns 14 hectares, of which 10ha are Syrah, in seven parcels. They are located in many of the most highly regarded sectors of the hill (such as Le Méal, Les Bessards and L’Hermite) and the wines are always a blend. The 1990 Cathelin came mostly from Les Bessards and was aged in new barrels
After harvest the grapes are partially destemmed, then fermented either in open wood vats or in concrete tanks. The wines, with each parcel kept separately, are aged in casks of different sizes, with a modest proportion of new wood, never exceeding 20%, for up to 18 months. After blending, the wines are fined with egg white and bottled without filtration. The limited-production Cathelin, however, is aged entirely in new barrels.
Average Bottle Price
|4 454€ +5.8%||4 211€ +15.4%||3 650€ +59.0%||2 295€ +4.8%||2 190€ +34.1%||1 633€ +197.4%||549€|