Category Archives: Hermitage

2004 M. Chapoutier La Sizzerane Hermitage

2004 M Chapoutier La Sizeranne Hermitage

Last week we made our biannual piligrimage to Capital Grille. Their wine list is expansive however you really need to pay attention to avoid over paying. Many of the wines are from good producers however often times they are young (Cabs from 07 or yonger) and marked up 2-3x per bottle. When going to a restaurant with similar wine lists it’s a good idea to take a look online and make smart choices. Capital Grille’s wine list isn’t available on their website but it’s findable with a little effort. With that being said we got a good deal on this 2004 Chapoutier Hermitage. This bottle retails for around $75 per bottle and we got it for $120 at the restaurant which is only a 60% mark up. We took a risk as 2004 Hermitage was not a perfect vintage and has already been declared to be past it’s prime depending on the producer.

cap grille food

We started out with Bluepoint Oysters (my favorite along with Naked Cowboys) and Wagyu Beef Carpacio and a Stoli Doli (pineapple infused vodka). Our main courses were bone in ribeyes medium rare with lobster mac and cheese and sauteed spinach. The oysters were the perfect combination of meat and brine while the Wagyu had fantastic earth flavors. The mac and cheese was uncharacteristcally dry which was a disappointment however the spinach was good with strong garlic flavor and good texture. The steak stole the show as usual with excellent marbling, seasoning, and the flavor concentration you only get with proper dry aging…worth every penny. For desert we had chocolate cake and my favorite: creme brulee which was torched perfectly.

colonelgrape: 83. One of my favorite movies of all time is City Slickers and I’d compare this wine to Curly….a great cowboy out for one last ride. Our gamble paid off and this was a tasty bottle at a decent restaurant price. Tough to tell color with the lighting but it had the nice aged purple/brick red hues. The nose was of extremely ripe black fruit, leather, earth, and definitely a little brett. On the palate is where the bottle fell a little flat for me. It was a little over ripe and had a port/raisin taste and the fruit was definitely past it’s prime but it all still worked. The tannins were gone and the finish was short. If given this bottle blind I would have said old Syrah but it was not as deep or bold as I’d expect from a Hermitage. I would have loved to try it in it’s prime but in the end it was a respectable final showing from the wily cowboy and now it’s time to move on.

MobyGrape: 89. This wine was ready to be put to pasture but it had one last wild ride left in it. It was a great purple color and just looked deliciously thick, probably due to the 8 years it had to build up sediment. It was earthy and had a port-y raisin flavor to it. Had a little tart kick left in it too.  I wouldn’t have wanted to drink this any later than we did, but it was an excellent surprise addition to an excellent meal! Paired wonderfully with steak and chocolate cake, but then again what doesn’t?

1998 Nobles Rives Hermitage


Hermitage is the Rolls-Royce of the Rhone region. It’s made from 100% Syrah and quality examples take decades to mature. Often times other wines in the region are thought of as wines to drink while wines from Hermitage and Cote Rotie mature. Hermitage is actually a very small region as well so coupled with the age needed these wines are very expensive. White wine is also made in the region but  most of the production is red.

This bottle here is not a well known producer so it was relatively inexpensive at $40. Most well known producers are in the hundreds even when they are new and still need 20 years before you can drink them. We enjoyed this wine with rigatoni and meatballs.

colonelgrape: 83. Since this is an older wine we decanted it for a solid 40 minutes before tasting it and the first thing that jumped out at me was the color. This wine was a very distinct brownish/brick red that you only see in older wines. On the nose it smelled leathery and earthy. On the palate I immediately tasted smoked meat, leather, earth, spices, and a background of red fruit. That first sip I literally thought someone dipped a salami in my wine, in a good way. I’d describe it as “gamey” tasting. It went really well with the hearty meatballs. I think we missed the prime of this wine by a few years but this is still a bottle I’d recommend if you’re looking to try a Hermitage red but don’t want to spend $200 for a bottle of Jean Louis Chave. Just make sure you do it soon as this wine is definitely on the back 9 and won’t last much longer in the cellar.

MobyGrape: 85. I didn’t know what to expect from this wine, because even though the colonel has explained to me roughly 4001 times what hermitage wines are, I have yet to pay attention.  It smelled and tasted kind of meaty at first, and there was a lot of sediment, which leads me to the conclusion that someone dropped hamburger in the barrel.  Whatever they did I’m cool with it, because it worked out pretty well.  The meat smell went away shortly and then it smelled a little bit raisiny and tasted like them If you did the weird little slurpy thing to aerate it on your tongue (which I do in a very classless way, so I’ve been told). Regardless, I enjoyed the wine before dinner and also with pasta and meatballs, a nice meaty wine for a nice meaty meal.