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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. This wine has a limited production, just over 100 cases in fact, and is essentially a super micro-cuvée. Chave is quick to explain, however, that it is Hermitage in a different style, rather than a wine that should detract from the main cuvée. A vin de paille has also been the subject of critical acclaim. Whatever the style, however, Jean Louis Chave is clearly keeping quality paramount. This remains a source of superb Hermitage, both red and white.
The stupendous 2003 Hermitage Cuvee Cathelin was never racked from barrel to barrel, nor was any SO2 utilized. Readers should think of it as the concentrated essence of a Chave Hermitage. It is a port-like effort that is neither hot, pruny, nor overripe despite what the numbers might suggest. As Chave says, this is a wine that will age many decades on its sheer level of concentration as the acidity is appallingly low, and the pH extraordinarily high, but the level of concentration and essence in the wine is akin to some of the most monumental wines ever to emerge from France. Most of this cuvee comes from Chave's two most renowned vineyard sites, Les Bessards and Le Meal. Its black/purple color is followed by an extraordinary perfume of blackberry liqueur, creme de cassis, melted licorice, a hint of caramel, striking minerality, a viscous/unctuous texture, and a finish that lasts well over a minute. Thicker and richer than the 2003 Hermitage, and nearly one degree higher in alcohol, it is a monumental effort, but production was minuscule.
|Score: 100||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (163), February 2006|
Average Bottle Price
|3 217€ +12.2%||2 866€ +73.8%||1 649€ +40.2%||1 176€|