The 2003 Hermitage la Chapelle is a stunner! From a scorching-hot year that may never be repeated, this behemoth took two months to ferment dry and hit 14.1% natural alcohol. In addition, while in a big year they can produce 80,000 to 90,000 bottles (or more in the case of the 2000), they only made 50,000 bottles of the '03. Locked and loaded with notions of plums, Asian spice, olive tapenade and sweet cassis, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a massive mid-palate and layers of sweet tannin. This blockbuster is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and will drink beautifully for another 15-20 years.
The finest example of this cuvee since 1990, the 2003 Hermitage La Chapelle (50,000 bottles rather than the normal 96,000+ were produced) possesses an inky/purple color as well as a tremendous bouquet of creme de cassis, crushed flowers, truffles, and licorice. Full-bodied and powerful (15% natural alcohol) with good freshness and definition, this big, rich, dense, reassuringly great La Chapelle should be cellared for 5-8 years, and drunk over the following 20-25.
Deceptively graceful at first with a Burgundian-like perfume, this quickly delivers a torrent of fruit - blackberry, boysenberry and black currant - that cascades over itself, pushed from behind by flavors of mocha, mineral, tar and violets. Long, sweet and pure through a densely structured finish. Best from 2008 through 2030.