Paul Jaboulet Hermitage la Chapelle 2007
Four and a half glasses
External Reviews for Paul Jaboulet Hermitage la Chapelle
The most famous wine of the estate, the 2005 Hermitage La Chapelle, looks outstanding. Apparently the new owners eliminated nearly 50% of the production to come up with this cuvee, which looks set to have at least 30 years of longevity. It was aged in all small French barrels, of which about 15-20% are new, so the actual winemaking and elevage haven't changed as of yet, although the famed Bordeaux winemaking guru, Professor Denis Dubourdieu, has been hired, and his expertise tends to be more with white rather than red wines, so we'll see what his talents provide in future vintages. This wine is outstanding, dark ruby/purple-colored with notes of creme de cassis, tobacco leaf, and some melted licorice and gamey animal notes. It is medium to full-bodied, has high tannin, moderate acidity, and admirable purity and depth. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2027.
A saturated purple/plum color is accompanied by gamy, blackberry, and smoked meat aromas. While this wine is rich and full-bodied, the question marks reflects its gritty, astringent tannin and austere personality. At present, it is less of a sure bet than the 1996 or 1997. However, it is a large-scaled, boldly-flavored, but ferociously tannic La Chapelle. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2035.
The finest example of this cuvee since 1990, the 2003 Hermitage La Chapelle (50,000 bottles rather than the normal 96,000+ were produced) possesses an inky/purple color as well as a tremendous bouquet of creme de cassis, crushed flowers, truffles, and licorice. Full-bodied and powerful (15% natural alcohol) with good freshness and definition, this big, rich, dense, reassuringly great La Chapelle should be cellared for 5-8 years, and drunk over the following 20-25.
Deceptively graceful at first, with a Burgundian-like perfume, this quickly delivers a torrent of fruit - blackberry, boysenberry and black currant - that cascades over itself, pushed from behind by flavors of mocha, mineral, tar and violets. Long, sweet and pure through a densely structured finish. Best from 2008 through 2030.
Massively built, this swaggers like a prizefighter, its deep, staining flavors of black fruits and molasses throbbing with raw, smoky power. It's clearly in need of time, but it will always be a wine that thrives on muscularity rather than finesse or complexity. It's impressive for the sheer scale of its fruit and the way that the ripeness is controlled within a structured frame. Be prepared for a heady, full-throttled experience.
The '91 La Chapelle has the dense black fruit of other '91 Hermitage wines we tasted, but with a difference: balance. The acidity is far from searing, but it's strong enough to create a lusciousness, a beehive of activity as the wine enters the mouth. That balance helps create a dramatic wine, with some power and intensity (though a shade of the '90 vintage). It has the rugged character that reminds of the steep rock cliffs of the Hermitage vineyard.
The 1997 Hermitage La Chapelle has begun to completely close down, which is surprising in view of how sweet, seductive, and precocious this vintage can be. However, the color seems to get deeper with exposure to air (the wine was far more drinkable after 24 hours of aeration than it was upon opening). The moderately intense bouquet exhibits plenty of ripe blackberry and cherry fruit, in addition to spicy, mineral characteristics. There is considerable weight and volume, but the wine is tight, and nearly impenetrable, leaving an impression of a large, deep, four-square monolith in need of 7-10 years of cellaring - at the minimum. This is an outstanding Hermitage La Chapelle that will have at least three decades of positive evolution. For readers intent on committing infanticide, open and decant it 12-24 hours in advance. The improvement is dramatic. Perhaps it is Jacques Jaboulet's preference to bottle with very high levels of CO2 (1200 ppm) that makes this wine so difficult to taste in its youth. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2025.
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