The Chaves have been growing vines on the famous Hermitage hill for over 500 years. The Domaine produces a red St Joseph ‘Offerus’ (made in equal proportions from senior vines in Mauves and St –Jean-de Muzols), an acclaimed Vin de Paille, but their reputation is built on their superb red Hermitage (Syrah with the addition of 15% white grapes) and white Hermitage (85% Marsanne and 15% Roussanne). The Chaves own 15 hectares of vines on the Hermitage and crucially their Hermitage holding is spread across 9 of the 18 climates on the hill. The grapes are partially de-stemmed and then fermented in a combination of open wooden vats and cement cuves. The wine is matured in a combination of large wooden foudres and small wooden casks (a proportion of which will be new) for 12-18 months. All Chave wines are bottled unfiltered.
The vineyards for Silène are hillside vineyards located in Larnage and Gervans. 50% of the Crozes comes from a parcel of young vines planted in 2003 and owned by Domaine Jean Louis Chave. The parcel is on the rear east-facing flank of the Hermitage hill. It is rare for Crozes to come from hillside granitic soil as most Crozes are situated on the alluvial valley floor.
The grapes are vinified at the Domaine using indigenous yeasts and aged for 18 months in 600-litre oak casks.
Translucent yellow. An intensely perfumed bouquet evokes ripe pear, yellow plum, orange zest, smoky minerals and jasmine, and a deeper suggestion of honey. Honeysuckle, energetic, sharply delineated citrus, and orchard fruit flavours stain the palate and become weightier with aeration. The mineral note expands as the wine opens up and drives an impressively long, chewy finish that features lingering floral, brioche and saffron notes. [96 Points, Josh Raynolds – October 2018, vinous.com]