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Average critic rating : 93.0 points
Chapoutier's Cote Rotie Cuvee Mordoree is made from a small parcel of 75-80 year old vines adjacent to Guigal's famed single vineyard, La Turque. The classic 1994 is one of the stars of the vintage. It offers up a gorgeous, black-raspberry, cassis, olive, violet-scented nose. Amazingly complex (as are all great Cote Roties), the wine hits the palate with copious amounts of fat, smoky, cassis-like fruit, medium body, sweet tannin, and a long, rich finish. While it is already stunningly aromatic, the flavors have yet to catch up with the wines super bouquet. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 10-15 years.|Chapoutier's top cuvees are consistently among the world's greatest wines. Unfortunately, they are made in extremely small quantities, ranging from 250 cases of the St.-Joseph Les Granites, to 600 cases of the Hermitage La Pavillon. They are also expensive, but no one can argue the fact that consumers are getting some of the world's greatest, most natural expressions of terroir, varietal character, and vintage personality. Moreover, these special cuvees have been remarkably brilliant in such difficult vintages as 1992 and 1993, where the finest Rhone wines were produced by Chapoutier. If my tasting notes read like a promotional campaign for this estate, it is because these are among the greatest wines I have ever tasted.||Michel Chapoutier is quick to say that 1995 is one of the all-time great vintages for the northern Rhone, and in particular for Chapoutier. He compares it with 1990, 1961, and 1947. He is also quick to see the problems that 1995 presented, and the fact that too many Rhone Valley producers followed the same pattern as in 1994. In the latter vintage, it was essential to harvest early, but in 1995 harvesting early only produced wines that were made from physiologically unripe fruit, with extremely high acidity. Chapoutier's top vineyards in Crozes-Hermitage, St.-Joseph, Cote Rotie, and Hermitage were harvested very late - in early October. He claims that in the five years that have passed since the great 1990 vintage, he is a far more talented winemaker as he "knew how to make noise in 1990, but now I know how to make music." Yields were tiny throughout all the estate vineyards, with most of the vineyards coming in under 20 hectoliters per hectare, and some of the top vineyards harvesting under a ton of fruit per acre. All in all, 1995 looks to be a sensational vintage for Chapoutier, with a number of extremely long-lived wines. Moreover, now that the 1994s have had some time in bottle, it can be said that 1994 is also a great vintage for this firm. Wine Advocate.October, 1996
CHAPOUTIER: THE IMPORTANCE
Chapoutier has received more perfect 100 point scores from Robert Parker than any other winery, leading to Robert Parker saying that: “Michel Chapoutier's enthusiasm and commitment to exceptional, naturally made wines is a winemaking triumph, as well as a clear victory for all who care about the quality of wine.” Parker has also described Michel Chapoutier as “the world’s leading irreverent genius in winemaking and winemaking philosophy.” This has made Maison M. Chapoutier’s wines, alongside those of Etienne Guigal, some of the, if not the, most sought after wines from the Rhône Valley.
In 2016, Chapoutier was named the most admired French wine brand by Drinks International. Topping this annual list, put together by over 200 Masters of Wine, sommeliers, teachers and journalists, demonstrates the continuous improvement of quality, reflection of terroir and global appeal attained by this winery.
CHAPOUTIER: THE INSIGHT
Although they produce a large range of classic wines that are perfect for immediate drinking, it is their finest wines, the téte de cuvées, also known as Sélections Parcellaires or Single Vineyard Selections, which should be on every collector’s radars. These terroir-driven wines have the ability to age for several decades and hail from single plots of 50-100 year old vines in Côte-Rôtie (La Mordorée), Crozes-Hermitage (Les Varonniers), Hermitage or Ermitage as they call it (De l’Orée, L’Ermite, Le Méal, Le Pavillon, Les Greffieux and a sweet wine called Vin de Paille), Saint-Joseph (Le Clos and Les Granits) and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Barbe Rac and Croix de Bois). These always high-scoring wines are the embodiment of terroir and are only produced in the hundreds of cases. So high is the demand for them that Chapoutier have started to release them En Primeur.
Due to Chapoutier’s attention to detail, the quality of their wine is extremely high even in lesser vintages. However, in exceptional vintages they truly excel. 2015, 2013 and 2010 were strong in both Northern and Southern Rhône, 2009, 2003 and 1999 offer excellent quality in the North as do 2007, 2001, 2000 and 1998 in the South. 1990, 1961 and 1947 have been described as legendary.
For those looking for something off-the-beaten-track, the hotly-tipped Bila-Haut wines from Roussillon demonstrate what a master of finding and exploiting terroir Michel Chapoutier is.
CHAPOUTIER: THE BACKGROUND
Maison M. Chapoutier is one of the undisputed elite of Rhône wine, if not the world. Based in Tain l’Hermitage, this winery and négociant business produces over seven million bottles of wine a year from the very southern extent of the Rhône Valley, through Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and Vacqueyras and up to the major appellations of the Northern Rhône. And it is here in the Northern Rhone that it makes its most famous wines; Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie.
Although this is a family-owned winery that is able to trace its roots within the region back through seven generations to 1808, it is not stuck in the mire of tradition and history. As its motto: “fac et spera” - which translates as do and hope - suggests, the focus is very much on innovation, modernity and the unorthodox.
Michel Chapoutier took control of the family business in 1988 and the quality of the wines produced skyrocketed. He has pushed his preference for single varietal wines, championed Rhône whites, introduced complete destemming before fermentation, converted all of the estate’s vineyards to biodynamic farming, reduced manipulation in the winery by avoiding acidification, filtration, fining and over-oaking and introduced braille labelling.
Not satisfied with that, Michel’s penchant for Champagne has driven him to produce one in collaboration with Devaux. This incredibly prolific man and team also own estates in Alsace, Roussillon, Australia and Portugal, as well as collaborating with French multiple Michelin star chefs Anne-Sophie Pic in Saint-Péray and the surrounding area (see Pic & Chapoutier) and Yannick Alléno in Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage, and Michel has even expressed a desire to make wine in the UK.
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