The Chave family have been making wine in the Northern Rhone Valley since 1481. First in Saint Joseph, and then adding parcels of Hermitage - the appellation with which they are nearly synonymous. Jean-Louis Chave steers the domain, having taken over from his father the Gerard (one of just a few Chave men not named Jean-Louis in a very long line). Jean-Louis is fanatical about the farming in the vineyards, the preservation of the reputation of Hermitage and Saint Joseph, and the telling of their histories. Jean-Louis knows each parcel of the vineyards intimately and uses the grapes from each like instruments in an orchestra to bring about pure wine magic.
JL Chave Selections is the negotiant project of the Chave family. Much of the wine though is from estate grapes and produced with the same methodology. These are not wines to be skipped, and provide excellent value.
From Shiverick Imports:
"The grapes come from 3 distinctive parts of the Hermitage hill. The majority of the blend comes from Diognières, which is at the base of the hill on alluvial soil with many small pebbles. It lends a note of spice to the wine. The next parcel is Péleat. It sits above Diognières and is composed of more sand and limestone in the clay. It gives finesse to the wine. And finally, Greffieux sits at the base of Le Méal on the hill. Its soil consists of rolled river stones brought by the glaciers. It brings structure to the finished wine. Farconnet was the name of a nobleman back in the time of Jean- Louis Chave’s great grandfather. He was actually the man from whom the great grandfather bought the Bessards parcel."