Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, Syrah, Hermitage, Northern Rhône, France 2016
Jean-Louis Chave is one of the most cerebral and hard working winemakers we’ve ever met. He took over his family’s domaine in 1993 but as if that wasn’t enough work, a few years later he began reclaiming his family’s hillside vineyards in St. Joseph. These vineyards were abandoned and required re-terracing and re-planting.
The first vintage of the Jean-Louis Chave Selection label was 1995 and it came entirely from St. Joseph. At first it was fruit purchased from growers Jean-Louis knew well and came from parcels within the historic limits of the St. Joseph appellation. As his own vineyards were replanted and started bearing fruit, Offerus became more estate owned vineyards and less purchased fruit. With time, as more newly planted vineyards came online the scope of Jean-Louis’ project grew. He was able to add other wines to the selection label: a Crozes-Hermitage made partly from young vines planted in 2003 owned by the domaine, a St. Joseph Blanc from a vineyard purchased in 2009, a Hermitage Rouge and Blanc, and a Côtes du Rhône.
Jean-Louis devotes as much time to his wines under the selection label as he does to the domaine wines (if not more) and it shows. Their quality is a testament to his belief in those appellations and the need to champion a wide range of wines from a region.