M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon 2003
A deep garnet red with purple lights in the glass. Delicious aromas of tar and smoke, raspberry, blackberry, walnut, licorice greet the nose. On the palate, this wine is complex with a strong attack, yet velvety and balanced. The finish is long, with lingering flavors of licorice, tobacco, cocoa. According to the vintage, the wine can be kept from 30 to 60 years, indeed from 50 to 75 years.
RP100: Even better, and topping out on my scale, the 2003 Ermitage le Pavillon comes all from the granite soils of the Les Bessards lieu-dit and was aged 100% in new barrels. Its inky ruby/black color is followed by off the hook aromas and flavors of plum, creme de cassis, licorice, crushed rocks and violet/incense-like qualities. This gives way to a full-bodied, dense, seamless and textured 2003 that has building tannin, awesome concentration and a blockbuster finish. Drink it anytime over the coming two decades, although, as with the Le Meal, it’s gorgeous now.
WS95: Really zesty up front, with lots of wild dark and red berry fruit before giving way to more bass notes of cocoa powder, bacony toast and black truffle on the back end. Big, muscular finish is loaded with latent fruit. Best from 2008 through 2025.