The plaudits are endless for this iconic estate, which has been passed down from generation to generation since the 15th century. They are the largest landowner on the Hermitage hill and easily one of the world’s most important vineyards. The current generation, headed by Jean-Louis Chave, is now operating an outstanding négociant operation as well, producing great-value wines with the same perfectionist commitment followed in Hermitage.
Jean-Louis joined his father, Gérard, in the mid-’90s (after college in the U.S. and French military service), and he and his wife, Erin Cannon-Chave, have worked tirelessly to upgrade the vineyards and facilities. This effort has included a massive terracing project near Lemps, in Saint-Joseph; a major renovation of the négociant operation across the road from the family home; the acquisition of Clos de l’Arbalestrier from the Florentin family; and the reclamation of the neighboring vineyards on the Chalaix Hill. In addition, they did more work in Saint- Joseph at Bechasson and created a walled Belle Époque garden. There has also been excavation of the old cellar over the past decade, but if you ask the Chaves, their work is for future generations, not contemporary glory. This forward-looking vision is why they farm with organic and biodynamic practices.