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The Chave family is nothing short of royalty in the world of wine. The current Jean-Louis is the 16th generation in father-son succession who have tended vines in St. Joseph and the fabled hill of Hermitage, possibly the birthplace and arguably the pinnacle of the Syrah grape. While several producers now separate out their various plots in Hermitage (perhaps a nod to the more marketing-savvy neighbors in Côte-Rôtie), Chave is all about the art of blending together these components into a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. The results is a wine that captures the soul of the Hermitage, structured and full, with hauntingly wild and floral aromas. In a handful of vintages, there is another label, Cuvée Cathelin. It’s not intended to be a prestige-cuvée, but rather a way for Jean-Louis to express a specific nature of a vintage that may not work in the Hermitage. Worthy of special mention is the wines from St. Joseph, not to be looked down upon as secondary. Remember that this is the ancestral home of the family, and Jean-Louis has been dedicating all his resources to re-establishing the terraced vineyards here. We will wish we had held on to more of these wines soon.