• Country ranking ?

  • Producer ranking ?

  • Decanting time

  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Roast lamb served medium-rare to well-done

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The Story

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.


Wine Information

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

2015 2014 2013 2011 2010 2005 2000
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€

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.

Tasting note


Deep and Dark


Long, Extensive and Spicy


Youthful, Complex and Forward




High in Acidity, Warming, Balanced, Concentrated, Well-structured, Full-bodied, Vigor, Dry and Sweet tannins


Transparent and Outstanding

Written Notes

A spectacular lunch closed out with a 1990 J.L. Chave Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin. I brought it. I mean, a ’71 RC magnum was opened, and I’m a gentleman! I just realize that I may have had this wine in late 2019, but I never released by ‘Best of 2019’ article, so just deal with it lol. As previously indicated, I have been drinking as much Chave as possible; it is generally a good habit. The Cathelin had an amazing nose with an insane blend of menthol, violet and bacon. It was so white smoky and so sexy with enough oil to get a racecar going. The palate was superb; this was another long and sexy wine that left my mouth open and wanting more. Its creamy, honeyed personality and elegant, endless finish had me in the promised land again. Just wow (99).

  • 99p
1990 Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin J.L. Chave This is a controversial wine in Chave’s wine range since Chave’s philosophy is to make one red Hermitage from the best Syrah grapes from various parcels. However, this wine is a special cuvée on top of their regular Hermitage. This is the first vintage of this rare flagship wine. It is named after their family friend and artist, Bernard Cathelin who has designed the label of this lovely wine. Chave has made just over 100 cases of this rich and exclusive wine. Decanted four hours. Inky purple coloured with undertones of magenta. The 1990 Chave’s top cuvée showed aromas of blackberries, smoked liquorice, plum, and fresh vanilla, with hints of spices and black truffles. A giving, almost mind-blowing entry is followed by intense flavours and super concentrated body. Finished with lingering, sweet tannin and pronounced spiciness.
  • 96p
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Mauves, Rhône

Vintage Quality


Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential


Fake factory



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