Domaine Jean-Louis Chave

The Chaves have been growing grapes in the Northern Rhône since 1481. Jean-Louis Chave is the 16th generation to head up the family domaine, having taken over from his father in 1992.

Domaine Jean-Louis Chave

About the producer

While the domaine is based in Saint-Joseph, its reputation is intrinsically linked to Hermitage – producing arguably the finest red and white wines from this iconic hillside.

Chave has 13 hectares of vines in Hermitage, all farmed organically. The majority (9.3 hectares) are dedicated to Syrah, with the remaining 4.6 hectares growing Marsanne (80%) and Roussanne (20%).

Chave has 14 different parcels within nine different climats within Hermitage, with the largest holdings in L’Hermite, Rocoules and Les Bessards. The 80-year-old vines on the granite-dominated Les Bessards vineyard are the backbone to Chave’s red Hermitage in terms of style and character.

Each individual plot on the Hermitage hill is picked and vinified separately.

In more recent vintages Chave has increased the level of stems in the red musts to increase freshness in the wines. Once blended, the red Hermitage is matured in French oak barriques, typically 10-20% of which are new. The production of the red Hermitage is around 2,000-2,500 cases each year. 

A third of the white Hermitage is barrel-fermented in French oak, with the rest fermented in stainless steel. The blend is typically 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. 

Chave’s Cuvée Cathelin sees a substantially higher proportion of new oak during élevage. Production is just 200 cases and it remains one of the rarest and most expensive wines in the world. 

For the vin de paille (the sweet, straw wine – only made when vintage conditions are right), the white grapes are air-dried for three months and then barrel-fermented over a 24-month period. The entire élevage lasts 48 months and the production is tiny with around 1,000 half bottles made. It is typically 90% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne. 


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