Chave Selection 2020
I know that it’s fashionable in some Rhône geek circles to gripe that today’s wines at this venerable estate aren’t the same as those made by Jean-Louis’s father, Gérard, and they’re correct. Under Jean-Louis’ watch they have become more consistent and more expressive at an earlier stage than his father’s wines, but with no loss of depth, intensity or age-worthiness. Simply put, these continue to be among France’s vinous gems. JOSH RAYNOLDS, Vinous.com
One of my favorite visits during my trip through the Northern Rhône is with Jean-Louis Chave and Family. This iconic estate continues to produce reference point wines from Hermitage and more and more St Joseph, where Jean-Louis has spent an incredible amount of time and effort over the past decade or more. As to the St Josephs, the quality continues to soar. JEB DUNNUCK
I have had the privilege of tasting at this brilliant family-owned estate for over 30 years. During that time, I have seen first-hand the glory of a true evolution from father Gerard Chave to his son, Jean-Louis, and of course, the Chave family has been doing this since 1472. It is one of those small but world-class wine enterprises that is truly inspiring. ROBERT PARKER
It is a tribute to the immense quality of these wines that on a regular basis when I talk to wine professionals, be it winemakers, retailers or journos, that when asked about their most memorable wine experiences, a bottle of Jean-Louis Chave inevitably is mentioned. Wines that have such a visceral impression that can last decades in the minds of an enthusiastic imbiber are a rare bird indeed.
The highly sought-after flagship wines of the estate arrive in Australia in such small quantities, and at a price that is a significant investment, that many of us will be lucky to experience them even a couple of times in our lives. If you do get the chance to, jump in wholeheartedly. However, Chave’s Selection wines are available in slightly larger quantities and at far more accessible price points. These were originally 100% negociant wines that were made with fruit from growers that Chave trusted and had close relationships with, but in recent years more and more of the fruit for these wines come from vineyards which the Chave family have purchased, developed and now manage entirely themselves. Chave’s legendary detailed, thoughtful and hardworking approach is applied just as keenly to these wines as the flagship releases and perhaps even more so.
Today, we have three of these superb releases to share with you. St Jospeh Offerus, made from 100% estate fruit since 2016, is a stellar rendition from the appellation showing that St Joseph is not merely Hermitage’s second string, but can produce wines of immense depth, finesse and mineral nuance. Jean-Louis Chave has invested heavily in this appellation over the last couple of decades and it is starting to really pay off.
St Joseph Circa, 100% Roussanne grown on the granitic slopes of Clos Floretin, is summed up best by Jancis Robinson who says ‘If you’re as big a fan of white Hermitage as I am, but are looking for something to drink earlier and cheaper, this would be the most brilliant alternative.’ I couldn’t agree more. This is a steal for the money. The final wine is what a first glance might appear to be a humble Cotes-du-Rhone offering, Mon Coeur. However, this is a far more sophisticated wine that you would expect, made from high quality parcels of older vines around Vinsobres and Cairanne.