On my eighth day in France's Northern Rhône Valley, I began at one of Hermitage's top domaines. Jean-Louis Chave carries the weight of his family’s generations working the famed hill of Hermitage. He sees his role as caretaker, protector. For Chave, Hermitage is already defined—there is nothing he can do to improve or change it. He can only make sure it expresses itself in his wine, in the best way possible, with each ensuing vintage.
But across the river, in the St.-Joseph appellation, Chave is building, changing, evolving. Following are my notes on his wines from the 2009 and 2010 vintage.
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