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The 1998 Chapoutier, Hermitage La Sizeranne will be long lived


There has been no shortage of interesting wines to taste lately.  Most recently, the 1998 Chapoutier, Hermitage La Sizeranne brought back memories of attending a tasting tutored by Michel Chapoutier that was held in conjunction with Bacchus Importers. The care of his vineyard soils is of utmost importance and caused him to work all of his vineyards biodynamically since 1995.  This particular bottle includes fruit sourced from a vineyard once owned by Maurice Monier de la Sizeranne.  According to John Livingstone-Learmonth this is the “workhorse wine” of Michel Chapoutier with a comparatively large production.  The fruit is sourced from estate vineyards including mostly Bessards followed by Greffieux and Meal.

Michel Chapoutier’s soils are teaming with life and so was this bottle of wine.  There is no question in my mind that this wine is only entering its second phase of development.  It lives up to the workhorse name in the sense that it has confident strength and longevity.  I will admit that I found the smoke and roast notes almost monolithic and overwhelming at first.  It was on the second night that the wine became balanced.  Though quite enjoyable, this really is a bottle that should be left to develop further.  I would recommend you check back in five years.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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1998 Chapoutier, Hermitage Monier de La Sizeranne – $80
Imported by Terlato Imports.  This wine is 100% Syrah that was fermented with indigenous yeasts in open top wood vats then aged for 18-20 months in one-third new oak.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was immediately aromatic with notes of roast and smoke.  The wine began with flavors of roast-infused black fruit, salivating acidity, and a firm, black and mineral finish.  With air, mature flavors with cherry fruit developed then took on some roundness.  The wine eventually showed deep, plummy fruit, fine wood, and persistent smoke.  This wine will develop and live for quite some time. ***(*) Now-2030.

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