2012 was a challenging vintage year in the Northern Rhone Valley, as it was in most of France. The winter was harsh with long periods of below freezing cold and windy weather and the spring was wet and rainy. But by July the weather was more typical with dry skies through August, allowing for harvest to start relatively on time by mid-September. It is in years like this that the over 500 year history of the Chave family making wine pays off. Thanks to all that cumulative experience and the tremedously high quality of the family's vineyards, we can trust that Jean-Louis Chave has once again crafted an outstanding bottle of wine in this 2012 Hermitage Rouge. By all accounts, this is another in a long line of full bodied, finely textured, somewhat opulent but always polished, incredibly well structured Syrahs with gorgeous northern Rhone floral, meaty, peppery aromatics, deeply concentrated blackberry, plum and cassis flavors and a long, persistent, focused finish with ample acidity and fetching minerality. A wine to collect and appreciate in twenty years or to enjoy now after decanting and with plenty of time to contemplate over a fine meal.