Much more open and mature, but no more than an adolescent was the 1999 J. L. Chave Hermitage, which seems set for another 20-25 years of life.
More in the style of the '01, the 1999 Hermitage is a serious effort that gives up a mineral-drenched profile of red and blackcurrants, beef blood, iron and dried flowers. More forward on the nose than the palate, with a tight, yet seamless texture that carries ample concentration and length, with bright acidity, it should continue to shine for another decade.
Soft, supple and attractive. Elegant structure to the rich, ripe berry flavours and mocha aromas. Full-bodied. Harmonious finish.
A brilliant effort, the dense saturated purple-colored 1999 Hermitage had been bottled only 24 hours before my visit. It exhibits fabulous texture, purity and sweetness as well as a finish that lasts for nearly a minute. There is high tannin, remarkably rich, concentrated extract and tell-tale Hermitage fruit characteristics (blackberries, cassis), minerals and spice. Representing the essence of Syrah, it is the greatest vintage Chave has produced since 1990. While it requires 7-10 years of cellaring, it will last for 4-5 decades.