A Bargain on the Hill of Hermitage: JL Chave Selection's

A Bargain on the Hill of Hermitage: JL Chave Selection's

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is one of France's most legendary producers. Chave's red and white Hermitage wines are among France's best.

The family has been described as "France’s winemaking royal family" (via Andrew Jeffords in The New France). And, somewhat more literally, called a "soil-to-glass-transfer domaine that produces supremely elegant wines with superb pedigree from the core of the Hermitage hill" (John Livingstone-Learmonth).

Hermitage Blanc may be France's least understood great wine.
There's very little of it. Hermitage is just one hill of about 330 acres and only around 20% of the production is white. What little Hermitage Blanc there is is usually frighteningly expensive for anyone who isn't already a convert.
Lots of wine lovers might never even try it. 
And if you do try a bottle, it can be hard to wrap your head around at first. It has more body even than most white Burgundies but is beautifully fresh all the same, with an incredibly complex range of flavors.
If you have the patience to age a bottle (it can age for decades) it will develop more and more complexity.

But what if we told you that Chave makes a second Hermitage blanc, from the family's own vines, bottled under the name of his négociant business, J.L. Chave Selection? And what is even more shocking is that not only can we buy by the case, but we can also offer it today for less than $70.

In that context, the J.L. Chave Selection Hermitage Blanc "Blanche" is nearly a miracle. It's a legit Hermitage, mostly from old vines in a parcel at the top of the hill called Maison Blanche. And the Chave genius for terroir expression is on full display: the wine has all the classic Hermitage complexity, the range of flavors, the freshness and the weight.

Best of all, despite Hermitage's incredible age-worthiness, this is a wine that is already drop-dead gorgeous. Buy enough to lay a bunch down, for sure. But don't feel like you need to wait to discover the joys of Hermitage Blanc — pull a cork and find out this weekend! Just make sure you buy enough to last because it's just that good.

J.L. Chave Selection Hermitage Blanc "Blanche," 2016
"Limpid yellow-gold. Fresh pit fruits, lemon curd, jasmine and a frisson of chamomile on the deeply perfumed nose, along with suggestions of honey and succulent herbs. Pliant and energetic on the palate, offering intense peach, pear nectar and Meyer lemon flavors that become livelier as the wine stretches out. A smoky mineral note emerges on the impressively long, energetic finish, which leaves a hint of bitter pear skin behind." — Josh Raynolds, Vinous