In 1992, Northern Rhône bellwether Jean-Louis Chave took up his family mantle in earnest, sticking to their credo: 'Vine growers from father to son since 1481.' While he has since eliminated some of the more insidious practices - like helicopter spraying - he has not veered from the deeper traditions in blending the wines of Chave fame. Instead, he has reverted to a more traditional farming regimen (i.e. organics & biodynamics) and continued to vault the Chave name into the stratosphere.
Not only are they leaders in quality, but in method, too. The estate is now practicing an approach to farming that the world is adopting. And Chave brings in upstarting winemakers to teach them how to farm and blend the right way.
We're big fans of the estate wines, obviously, the wines that have made them leaders in the region for hundreds of years, but recently we've gone deep into Jean-Louis's younger, secondary project.
In order to grow into new markets while preserving the integrity of the estate blends, in 1995 Jean-Louis launched J-L Chave Selections, a négociant business, which buys fruit and juice from neighbors and blends accessible representations of the various terroirs of his region without reaching for a pretense of greatness.
Jean-Louis studied oenology at UC-Davis, and knows that his family's illustrious estate wines, from the most prestigious Hermitage and Saint-Joseph vineyard holdings, fetching hundreds of dollars per bottle, would not reach most American wine drinkers. The négociant wines, however, hover in the affordable $30 range, and still manage to capture the special nuance of place.
We're all about it.
current wines from J. L. Chave Selection
2013 Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhône - $22
2012 Silene Crozes-Hermitage - $30
2012 Offerus Saint-Joseph rouge - $33
2012 Celeste Saint-Joseph blanc - $33
2009 Farconnet Hermitage - $65