Wine Talk

Snooth User: panoskakaviatos

Perfection in bottle? Paul Jaboulet Hermitage 1978

Posted by panoskakaviatos, Jul 14, 2013.

During Vinexpo 2013 last month – the world’s largest wine fair held once every two years in Merignac just outside Bordeaux – I tasted a fine lineup of Paul Jaboulet wines at the La Lagune stand. The Frey Family, which also owns Chateau La Lagune in the Medoc, acquired Paul Jaboulet Aîné in 2006 and Caroline Frey – whom I interviewed recently – spends about three weeks per month in Tain l’Hermitage and one week in Bordeaux.

I last visited the steep terraced vineyards of Hermitage in 2005, thanks to another top producer in the northern Rhone, Chapoutier, and was totally impressed by just how steep and narrow they are. What hard work goes into taking care of these vineyards, I thought. Time to return and soon... 

In any case, over dinner at La Lagune, I enjoyed perhaps my favorite wine over the entire Vinexpo week (including some tough competition, such as magnums of Lafite Rothschild 1990 and Paul Jaboulet Hermitage 1990, also from magnum) in the 1978. That dinner, video report below (a bit shaky), included a delectable La Lagune 2004. If you have any La Lagune 2004s, crack one open for a summer steak on the grill: you will be very happy. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWtr...

Replies

20
2477
Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 15, 2013.

I won't deny it:  I envy you. 

Just spent a bunch of time emailing with JonDerry about N. Rhones, and how tiny the production is.  These great top-end wines are not just expensive, but incredibly hard to find compared to other red wine regions--there's less red planted in the whole N. Rhone than Chateauneuf alone.  The quality is, to my thinking, consistently much higher than Bordeaux, of which there is a vast lake of product.  Sadly, even the most basic Hermitages continue to escalate in price--the basic Colombier bottles are $70, while I was paying under $50 for them a few years ago.  On the other hand, most everything you get your hands on from C-R, Hermitage, Cornas is pretty incredible.  But it'll be a long time before I get to drink a bottle as special as those.

The good news is that there is lots of great California Syrah coming on, from small producers like Arnot-Roberts, Copain, Jemrose, and Halcon--and thanks to Outthere, I manage to get my hands on a few.  Halcon, for one, uses cuttings brought directly from Cotes-Rotie and Hermitage and the wines are built to last.  And there are the old stalwarts, like Alban.  I could go on listing good Cali producers of Syrah, but it's safe to say that there's more acreage being devoted to cool weather Syrah and an emphasis on N. Rhone structure over Aussie fruit.  Maybe in twenty or thirty years, some wine writer will crow about getting the chance to drink one of those.  Meanwhile, I thinks it's almost time for a "Tasting of Tain," pitting some California Syrahs against the "first growths" of the N. Rhone.

237
452
Reply by duncan 906, Jul 15, 2013.

I agree with Foxall in that some of the northern Rhones are a little bit special.I have had,and reviewed on Snooth,a Jaboulet Cornas and a Marc Sorrel Hermitage.They are a bit expensive however although Croze-Hermitage and St Joseph offer better value for money.I must confess that I have recently splashed out and bought;

www.bidforwine.co.uk/auctions/show/46059

www.bidforwine.co.uk/auctions/show/44411

When I drink them I will also write a review on Snooth.On the bidforwine site there is an auction currently running for three bottles of Jaboulet Hermitage La Chappelle which I reckon is going to get well into three figures but I doubt that I will bid

 

 

20
2477
Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 16, 2013.

Duncan, you stole those at the prices you paid! Esp love the C-R horizontal. That's going to  be an interesting experiment, tasting those.  I think you should do it blind and throw in a Cornas or something to see if the winemaking made a difference larger than the terroir.  Or another vintage by one of these makers.  And you need to wait till I'm over on your side of the pond before you do anything. ;-)

I am going to follow those auctions--there are two of them, one for three bottles and one for two--because one set got 92 RP points and the other 89.  Tempting to see if I can grab the lower rated at a huge discount by comparison.  But then I have to deal with getting it here, so... not going to happen.  Still, it will be interesting to follow them.

I think of St. Joseph and C-H as really different beasts from Cornas, Hermitage and C-R, so, although the prices are much lower, I don't think of them as "better value for the money."  I think of St. Joseph as an earlier drinking wine, lighter and less complex.  It's a good food pairer, but I wouldn't spend the same kind of money as I would on Hermitage.  That's probably oversimplifying because St. Joseph and C-H are both much bigger areas than the other three N. Rhone red AOCs, so there's more variability.  (Even at this larger size, they are small compared to many AOCs.)  C-H occasionally wows me, and there are vineyards right on the edge of Hermitage proper that are more H-like, but a lot of it barely rises above CdR-level.  For the same price and quite a bit less (C-H is usually around $25 at the lower end in my neck of the woods), I can buy California and Aussie Shiraz for glugging that's comparable.

Lately I have made a foray into Cornas, which is also different from C-R and Hermitage--for one thing, only Syrah is allowed, and it's the warmest and often most rustic.  Waiting for those to come around--by the time they do, the value window will probably have passed and I will wish I bought more. 

 

75
2242
Reply by JonDerry, Jul 16, 2013.

Fox threw out the vineyard acreage of a bunch of different regions, which deserves a post of it's own.

But 2010's are pretty high in price...thinking 2011's must offer better value? 

At least I noticed quite a sharp drop off in the south. i.e. Pegau CdP Reservee is $79.99 for 2010, and $44.99 for 2011

From what I hear the '12 and '13 vintages seem to project to be a little suspect in Europe, though not sure about the Rhone specifically.

20
2477
Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 16, 2013.

Cornas is the smallest at 90 hectares, about 240 acres vine plantings.  Hermitage is about 140 hectares (345 acres), Cote Rotie 224 hectares or 550 acres, C-H a massive (tongue in cheek) 1238 hectares (3000-ish acres), and St. Joseph 920 hectares (2275 or so acres). 

For reference, CdP alone has 3200 hectares under vine.  All the N. Rhone together is under 3000!  Bordeaux has 50,000 hectares of red wine vines alone (about 125,000 acres).  Napa has about 17,000 hectares or 43,000 acres  under all its vines (including Carneros, I believe). 

No wonder N. Rhones are hard to come by and pricey. 

JD, I guess you can follow the old rule that you buy the region in a good vintage and the maker in a tough one.  That would make the Pegau a good deal at a reduced price assuming they declassified things that weren't up to their standards and sold it off as CdR.  (De-classifying, for anyone new to the term, is taking wine or grapes entitled to a higher classification, like a grand cru Burgundy vineyard, and labeling it as a lower grade, like a villages Burgundy (your Iles-de-Vergelesses becomes just regular Pernand-Vergelesses) because the grapes/wine don't meet your standards or you have too much to sell at your exalted price point.  A few years back, Clos de Caillou was rumored to be selling a CdR that was largely, if not wholly, CdP.  Could have been wine store hype.) 

BTW, JD, I acquired another 2010 CdP (Christia, I think) for our massive horizontal. We just have to decide on 2015 or 2016.  Cambria sound like a good half-way point for a long weekend? And my Vieux Donjons finally arrived--gotta pick them up soon.

75
2242
Reply by JonDerry, Jul 16, 2013.

I have my top 4 for 2010: Beaucastel, Charvin, Pegau, and some Donjon but we ought to use yours. I don't think I have anything else.

If not midway, we can do either of our places and just alternate years.

2015 for the '09 vintage, and 2016 for the '10 vintage?

 

237
452
Reply by duncan 906, Jul 16, 2013.

Foxall.I use the bidforwine site a lot because there is always something interesting on there,somebody else has done the cellaring/aging,auctions are fun, and you can get a bargain although a lot on there is expensive.It is a little dificult to compare prices with you because French wine is always going to be more expensive in North America if only because of the higher transport costs over a much greater distance.Is there not a site similar to bidforwine in the United States? 

20
2477
Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 16, 2013.

JD, yours are more prestigious, but I covered the waterfront:

That omits the Christia, which I haven't entered yet.  Then there's the question of doing verts of '09 and '10 VT La Crau (don't you have the '10?) and Saint Siffrein--does vintage matter more in a "lesser" wine like St. Siffrein? 

So maybe we have some more planning to do.

20
2477
Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 16, 2013.

Dunc:  There are a few sites that auction wine online, and K&L has an auction portion.  Not finding a lot of N. Rhones in a range I'm able to handle.  I also look for stuff bought from cellars on HartDavisHart and BPWine, mostly.  Benchmark is supposed to be good, too, but I haven't had much luck myself so I stopped checking there. 

75
2242
Reply by JonDerry, Jul 16, 2013.

Forgot about Vieux Telegraphe...already sampled and love it.

1
107
Reply by edwilley3, Jul 18, 2013.

You all are making me salivate with these delicious Rhone wines.

103
458
Reply by Lucha Vino, Jul 20, 2013.

I just spent an afternoon in Chateauneuf du Pape tasting and exploring the famed village of Southern France.  According to the people I talked with, 2007 and 2010 are the best two recent vintages.

I will taunt you a second time with more details when I return from my vacation.

Cheers!

20
2477
Reply by Richard Foxall, Jul 20, 2013.

LV, can't wait to be taunted.  And if your flight back from France stops over in SF, give a holler.


Back to Categories

Top Contributors This Month

324443 Snooth User: outthere
324443outthere
156 posts
125836 Snooth User: dmcker
125836dmcker
108 posts
680446 Snooth User: JonDerry
680446JonDerry
91 posts

Categories

View All





Snooth Media Network