Jaboulet: The Renaissance of a Hermitage Icon


A visit to Fine+Rare by  a Hermitage Icon - Jaboulet

With La Chapelle 2009 & 2010 two of our most popular wines of recent years and having just acquired an allocation of their 97+ point Hermitage La Chapelle 2012  - we decided the timing couldn’t be better to dedicate a tasting to one of our favourite producers in Hermitage - Paul Jaboulet.

A historic estate responsible for one of the greatest wines ever made

The name Jaboulet has historically been synonymous with quality in Hermitage. It was for many years run by generations of the Jaboulet family who tirelessly promoted the wines of the region, with their flagship cuvee, the Hermitage La Chapelle helping establish the Rhone Valley as a region for fine wine. The 1961 vintage of La Chapelle is genuinely iconic and even classed among the 12 Mythical Bottles of the 20th Century.

The Jaboulet Renaissance – Inward Investment and Top-Notch Winemaking

After something of a lean period by their own high standards, in 2005 the winery was sold to current owner Jean-Jacques Frey, owner of Champagne Billecart Salmon and Chateau La Lagune in Bordeaux. Much has changed, including considerable investment into the winery for new cellars and vineyards. Frey’s daughter, Caroline, is now at the helm of the winemaking (along with consultant Denis Dubordieu) and has won over wine critics and collectors with textural wines with less oak, more finesse and a return to greatness.

The Tasting at Fine+Rare

The quality of the wines has improved massively and has meant that interest has peaked as collectors and connoisseurs rush back to this grand old house. With such a revitalisation, our team at FINE+RARE were understandably curious to taste the recent vintages.

Here are our highlights:

Le Chevalier de Sterimberg Hermitage 2013

Made from 35 year old Marsanne and Roussanne vines situated on the steep slopes of Hermitage. Hand harvesting is carried out before the grapes are immediately pressed to avoid oxidation. Fermentation occurs in wood with continual lees stirring over a period of 10-12 months.

The resulting wine shows pronounced aromas of lemon-lime, green apple and vanilla. The palate opens with fresh acidity and concentrated pear, apple and honey on toast. Incredible vibrancy and stylistically mindful of Burgundy. Completely delicious to drink now or could hold for the coming decade.

*Release will be in early 2016

Domaine de Thalabert Crozes Hermitage 2005 and 2010

Domaine de Thalabert is widely acknowledged as one of the top wines produced in the Crozes Hermitage appellation. The 40 ha property has been in the Jaboulet family since 1834 and boasts 40-60 year old vines.

Both vintages showed concentrated black fruit with big structure and that unmistakable northern Rhone peppery spice.  The 2010 is brilliant – a perfumed nose with incredible intensity on the palate. Textural with firm tannins and flavours of cassis, cracked pepper, raspberry and wild herbs. This wine will benefit from some time in the bottle and could age up to 10-15 years.

Domaine St Pierre Cornas 2007

This was the surprise showstopper for the F+R team. The aromatic richness and elegance of the 2007 vintage shows itself in this wine, made from 100% Syrah aged for 12 months in wood (20% new).

A perfumed nose of sweet violets, wild herbs and kirsch leads to a soft and supple palate. Fine grained tannins are nicely integrated with pure raspberry, plum and Christmas cake. Length is long and elegant. This Cornas is so beautiful to drink now and comes highly recommended by FINE+RARE.

La Chapelle Hermitage 2012

Finally we tasted two vintages of the flagship – 2003 and 2012. Both lived up to their reputation for being big, concentrated wines with power and complexity. Despite its youth, the more impressive of the two vintages was most definitely the 2012.

On the nose - spiced blackberry, raspberry and black olive. The palate opens with a rush of fresh acidity and powdery tannins. Deep layers of black and red fruit tread on mulling spice, bacon, smoke and white pepper.  Super dense, textural and complex, with a drinking window of 2-3 decades.

If you are interested in learning more about Paul Jaboulet Aîné or the wines included in this tasting please email us. To view our full Jaboulet listings, click here.


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