2020 Domaine Jean Louis Chave L'Hermitage
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave represents one of the longest examples of vinous lineage in the world, with the family making wines in the area since 1481. Now under the guidance of Gerard Chave and his son Jean-Louis, the pair draws on five centuries of expertise to craft each of their wines. While known for the enviable collection of prime plots on the hill of Hermitage, their other main skill is in precise blending each year to best express the region and vintage. The backbone of their red Hermitage is sourced from the steep, granite slope of the Les Bessards cru, and is essential for making the finest red each year. Likewise, the base for Chave’s heroic Hermitage Blanc is the plot of century-old Marsanne vines in their Péléat monopole, which provides rich and intense fruit without heaviness.
Readers will note that the score range I've provided for Chave's 2020 Hermitage is much broader than typical. That's because my ratings for the numerous barrel samples tasted varied considerably, with one lot scoring as low as (91 - 93), while others were near-perfect (98 - 100). I should be able to provide a more precise picture following my next visit, but it was clear to me that—even more than usual—much will depend on Jean-Louis's skills at selection and blending. From the soft, elegant and red-fruited Péléat to the commanding, dark-fruited and mineral-laden Bessards—and the silky, finesseful and raspberry-laden Le Méal in between—there's no doubt a fine expression of Hermitage will eventually emerge from Chave's cellars. Drink 2025 - 2040.
Joe Czerwinski - Wine Advocate (Jan 21, 2022)
Tasted in components, before the final blending and rest before bottling, this wine is shaping up to be monumental, and it's from a domaine that has made far more than a few remarkable wines. There's intense dark fruit, suave floral and exotic spice character and a deep, energizing core of minerality, plus hints of olive, botanical herbs, licorice and smoked meat. But ultimately, it mainly focuses on powerful, vibrant fruit and floral qualities, making it a particularly elegant rendition of the appellation. I can't wait to see the bottled result.
Josh Raynolds - Vinous
Tasted out of tank, the 2020 Hermitage ranks with the legendary wines from this address. Reminding me of a slightly more elegant version of the 2010, it's a deep, inky hued effort revealing utterly classic Hermitage aromatics of darker cassis and blue fruits as well as a liquid rock-like sense of minerality. Young and primordial, it still has incredible purity and freshness in its aromatics. Full-bodied and powerful on the palate, this gorgeous wine is going to shine with just 4-6 years of bottle age yet age with the best of them. I would not be surprised to see this beauty have 40, 50, or even 60 years of life.
What you find in the whites, you find in the reds,' says Jean-Louis Chave, alluding to the natural freshness and balance in the 2020 Hermitage lieux-dits. This shows a good sense of finesse, with discreet, elegant tannins and intensity without great power. It is a concentrated but restrained vintage of elegance and great precision. Drink 2030 - 2050.
Matt Walls - Decanter