Just an incredible Hermitage in every sense, the 2017 Hermitage reminds me of the 2016 yet on steroids (or maybe a more finesse-driven example of the 2015?). Revealing a deep, saturated purple color as well as a stunning nose of red and black currants, kirsch, Asian spices, cured meats, ground pepper, and Acacia flowers, it shows more classic Chave minerality with time in the glass, and if this doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. These all carry to a full-bodied, powerful, yet seamless wine that has the sunny, extroverted style of the vintage yet still packs incredible mid-palate depth, ripe, polished tannins, no hard edges, and one hell of an incredible finish. It's going to be relatively accessible by this cuvée’s standards and offer considerable pleasure in its youth, yet also have 30-40 years of longevity.
Jean-Louis Chave had done some preblending of the 2017 Hermitage at the time of my visit, meaning several parcels had already been combined with others, so there were fewer components to taste. A sample that included some L'Ermite, Les Beaumes and Péléat was fragrant, loaded with peppery spice and came across as slightly open-knit (93 - 95). A second component, mostly Le Méal, was richer and riper-tasting, with lush fruit and hints of roasted meat (97 - 99). Finally, a sample Jean-Louis described as "more the core of the blend" (mainly Les Bessards) was simultaneously firm and generous, with notes of crushed stone, cassis and licorice (98 - 100). 2021 - 2040
Not yet bottled, the 2017 Hermitage shows a much sunnier, more exuberant aromatic profile with loads of cassis, kirsch liqueur, toasted spices, cured meats, and dried earth. These give way to a full-bodied Hermitage that has a stacked mid-palate, loads of sweet fruit, and building tannins, all while holding onto the class, elegance, and purity that’s the hallmark of this incredible estate. This is another wine where I question if it will ever shut down, but certainly the safe money is on giving bottle a good decade in a cool cellar.