The 2004 red Hermitage, which was given a much longer time in barrel and small foudre than normal because the Chaves determined the tannins and the acids needed a longer time to integrate, is a beauty. The wine exhibits a dense ruby/purple color, a big, sweet nose of creme de cassis, black cherry, licorice, pepper, and a hint of olive paste. It is a full-bodied wine that tastes atypical for this vintage with its beautifully integrated acidity and sweet tannin. The wine is structured, more masculine and backward than the over-the-top, full-throttle 2003. Readers could probably think of it as an improved, modern-day version of the 1988 or 1998.
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