Robert Parker 94
Coming all from the Maison Blanche lieu-dit and made from 100% Marsanne, the 2014 Hermitage la Chapelle Blanc is another fabulous white that shines for its purity, freshness, and focus more so than raw power and texture. Offering up classic Marsanne notes of buttered citrus, white flowers, quince and a kiss of lychee, this beauty hits the palate with full-bodied richness, solid mid-palate concentration and a crisp, beautifully defined texture and finish. It will be even better this time next year and have 15-20 years of longevity. Caroline Frey and winemaker Jacques Desvernois continue to make a bevy of high quality wines from throughout the Rhône Valley. Both their 2014s and 2013s show the vintage character nicely, and the wines show fresher, more elegant profiles without sacrificing too much density and depth. I’d like a touch more flesh and texture in a few of these latest releases, but there’s no denying the high quality coming from this estate today. One noteworthy change here is that after decades of working with Frederick Wildman & Sons, Paul Aîné Jaboulet will now be represented in the US by New York based Skurnik Wines. Hopefully this will lead to broader distribution and more access to these wines as there’s tons of value and quality in the lineup.
Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035
(made entirely from fruit grown in the Mayson Blanche lieu-dit and aged in used demi-muids for nine months) Light green-hued yellow. Highly perfumed, incisive aromas of white peach, tangerine and honey pick up suggestions of iodine and chamomile as the wine opens up. Shows superb clarity and thrust on the palate, offering sappy citrus and pit fruit flavors that deepen and spread out slowly with air while maintaining energy. Finishes with excellent focus, mineral lift and persistence, leaving behind hints of candied lemon, pear nectar and oyster shell. The combination of depth and finesse here is pretty stunning, and I’ll bet that this wine will enjoy a very long, smooth aging arc.
Anticipated maturity: 2024-2035