The Chave family have been the masters of the Hermitage designation since the end of the 15th century, and Jean Louis Chave is therefore the 16th generation of winegrowers of the Chave estate, in the Rhone valley (He took over after Gerard Chave). For wine lovers, Jean Louis Chave estate is the essence of the greatness of the Hermitage wines. The Chave estate's vineyards cover 26 Ha (5 Ha in Rhone white grape varieties), and they produce very ambitious and renowned Rhone red and white wines. The white Hermitage wine is made from different plots (Ermite, Maison-Blanche, Peleat, and Rocoules). It's winemaking process is precise: it’s done in oak barrels with about 20% new barrels. Every wine enthusiast can fall in love with the Marsanne grape variety (the most used variety in this cuvee), which brings impressive power to the wine, with delightful sour flavours on the finish, despite an almost non-existent acidity. This wine can be described as exceptional. The Roussanne grape variety does not exceed 20% in the final blend. The best red Hermitage wines are made from a blend of the following plots: Bessards, Beaume, Dignieres, Ermite, Meal, and Peleat. The red Hermitage wine is excellent, but patience is required so that it can improve over a 10-year period, to enjoy its rare mouth-filling structure and its legendary finesse. In the greatest years, Domaine Chave produces an outstanding cuvee named "Cathelin" (a tribute to painter Bernard Cathelin). The Chave estate also produces a rare Vin de Paille (sweet wine made from grapes dried on straw mats), full of distinguished and refined candied fruit flavours, such as date, raisins and dried apples. Absolutely delicious. This wine's acidity is very high, even though the amount of residual sugar is quite consequent (around 150 gr). As a matter of interest, one of the Chaves' ancestors was granted a plot of Coteau de Bachasson (Today in the St Joseph Protected Designation of Origin) from a local landlord for services rendered. This shows how long the Chave family have been cultivating vines in the area. Twenty years ago, Jean Louis Chave started to replant vines on the steep slopes (125 and 280m) of his vineyards in the Bachasson village, a very time-consuming work, as he has even built low walls and paths to get to it. The estate's vines are soon to be certified organic. Working on these steep plots is a very tedious, hard and therefore praiseworthy task, as the estate's wines are truly at the best level of the local production.
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