The 1997 Hermitage La Chapelle has begun to completely close down, which is surprising in view of how sweet, seductive, and precocious this vintage can be. However, the colour seems to get deeper with exposure to air (the wine was far more drinkable after 24 hours of aeration than it was upon opening). The moderately intense bouquet exhibits plenty of ripe blackberry and cherry fruit, in addition to spicy, mineral characteristics. There is considerable weight and volume, but the wine is tight, and nearly impenetrable, leaving an impression of a large, deep, four-square monolith in need of 7-10 years of cellaring - minimum. Jaboulet suggested this wine would end up in the same hallowed class as the 1990, 1978 and 1961. Having had it 3 times since bottling, I do not agree. Nevertheless, this is an outstanding Hermitage La Chapelle that will have at lest 3 decades of positive evolution. For readers intent on committing infanticide, open and decant it 12-24 hours in advance. The improvement is dramatic. Perhaps Jacques Jaboulet's prefernce to bottle with very high levels of CO2 makes this wine so difficult to taste in its youth.