Reviews & Scores
"Its fruit was again on the black side, with more purple and light ink edges. Smoked meats and fireplace crackles of the God of War mixed with violets and wildflowers from the Goddess of Love. It had a long, sensual finish, unfurling slowly, surely and sexily. It was creamy but not heavy; there was a grace and elegance to the 1991, and it danced like a ballerina on my palate. It also was dripping with diamonds, sparkling in every which (and rich) way. I just realized I totally forgot about this wine in my Top Wines of the Year article in 2017! Those auction tasters are impossible for me to keep track...but I won't forget it again."
Served blind initially. Bright cherry red and extremely aromatic in an almost light strawberry idiom. But this was not served in a burgundy-loving household and it was clearly a northern Rhône Syrah. I was convinced it had to be a Côte Rôtie, so delicate and refined was it. Pale, fresh and really appetising. Long and vibrant. I see from John Livingstone-Learmonth's great book on the northern Rhône that Gérard Chave told him about Cuvée Cathelin (made for the first time in 1990 and only in the best years), ‘I’m not aiming at just more concentration; I’m also after more finesse and a bit more of all its elements’. Ingredients are the same as the main cuvée, just in different proportions. JLL described the 1991 as ‘still solid in 2003’ and suggested drinking it 2015-18, which we did, with great pleasure. We all agreed it was much lighter than stereotypical Hermitage.
Reticent, minerally nose hints at great sweetness and ripeness; notes of blackberry and tar emerge with aeration. Round, rich and layered in the mouth; still quite closed but the wine extraordinary depth of flavor is already apparent. Slight suggestion of peppery austerity. Great intensity with no excess weight. Finishes with explosive length and noble tannins. This is essentially made up of Bessards for its tannic support, Meal for its sheer amplitude, and Peleat to round out the blend. This is likely to be the best Cathelin since the 1990, and is another legend in the making. It will also drive trophy collectors nuts, as there only about 2,500 bottles of this elixir, and a goodly number of them will never leave the Chaves' cave.
I was blown away by Chave’s 1991 Cuvée Cathelin. Still incredibly fresh, this vibrant, opulent wine revealed extraordinary precision and nuance in a full-bodied style. Dark cherries, cassis, earthiness, smoke and graphite all made an appearance in this breathtakingly pure, expressive wine.
The opaque black/purple-colored 1998 Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin (200 cases) offers a huge nose of smoked licorice, blackberry, cassis, new saddle leather, and vanillin. Tasting like liqueur of Syrah, it is extremely full-bodied and awesomely concentrated, with formidable tannin as well as mind-blowing levels of extract and density. The tannin is sweet, and the wine seamless for a young Chave Hermitage.
Beautiful red. Balanced, with a deft dose of mocha, spicy oak, red and black fruit and mineral notes. Its supple tannins fold nicely into the long finish, which tastes of grilled game and red berry jam.