Why buy recent Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage vintages?

I was looking through my cellar list and was pleased to see that I’ve got quite a few bottles of Hermitage. I love Hermitage. I recently got a bottle of 2005 Jean-Louis Chave for the partner; I was very pleased to have snaffled it given its ‘hen’s teeth’ status and generally obscene pricing. Given that I have about a case of mid- and late-nineties Chave I thought I’d see by what obscene amounts these cost now. I was surprised that old Chave is generally cheaper than the most recent vintage. For example, the [link2post id=”1035″]1997[/link2post] is now £97 a bottle. The 1171″]1996 is £76, the 1144″]1995 is £152 and the 1167″]1994 is £87. Only the 1995 is more expensive (by a mere nose) and not only is a vintage at least as good as the 2005 but also it has had ten extra years to mature and reach its peak. You can see by my notes these are serious wines, and with the extra maturity it does raise the question of why one should be buying young Chave.

I should add that even at these prices Hermitage, especially Chave, is a special treat for your humble reporter. I have 1671″]mentioned before that Domaine Du Colombier 2005 is the cost-aware choice for Hermitage from this top vintage. Not quite the fireworks of Chave, I admit, but a serious performer.