2007 Ermitage Le Pavillon Chapoutier

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Average critic rating : 93.0 points



Made in a lighter style, but still a full-bodied, powerful wine, the dark purple-hued 2007 Ermitage Le Pavillon reveals aromas of creme de cassis, black truffles, cold steel, and crushed rocks. Dense and tannic, with good acidity, resounding richness, and a substantial finish, it is a top-notch effort that should evolve for three decades. ||(Not yet released)||While Michel Chapoutier produces some of the world’s greatest wines from single parcels of old vines spread throughout the northern and southern Rhone (see my ecstatic reviews of his 2007 and 2006 Chateauneuf du Papes in issue #179), he also has an impressive portfolio of value-priced wines that are often over-looked when this impressive producer is discussed. Following are some top-notch picks that all sell for exceptionally fair prices. Chapoutier has not achieved as great as success in Cornas as he has in the other northern Rhone appellations, although his Cornas wines get better with each vintage. There are four extraordinary single vineyard white wines, all of which are among the greatest dry white wines of the world. While all of them can be drunk young, they are meant for extended cellaring. Made from very small yields, they represent the essence of a varietal as well as a vineyard site. As the following notes demonstrate, 2006 was one of the greatest vintages for white wines at Chapoutier. The single vineyard selection parcellaire red wines range in production from 500 to nearly 1,000 cases. 2007 is a very good vintage for these selections, but 2006 has an edge. It is reminiscent of 1996 because of the wines’ freshness and acid levels, but Chapoutier’s 2006s are even more concentrated than his 1996s. Chapoutier’s four 2006 cuvees of single vineyard Hermitage are exquisite. Most of the yields were between 10 and 20 hectoliters per hectare, and the wines are extravagantly rich. The 2006 and 2007 luxury cuvees of Chateauneuf du Pape Croix des Bois and Chateauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac were reviewed in issue #179. They are all astounding wines, especially in 2007 Wine Advocate.April, 2009


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.



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.



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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