Paul Jaboulet Ané Hermitage la Chapelle 2003
The wine world was stunned and saddened by the loss of Gerard Jaboulet this year, and this wine, the estatersquo;s jewel in the crown, is a fitting tribute. Itrsquo;s vivid, lush, international-style Hermitage, polished and lavishly oaked, stuffed with ripe flavors of plums, prunes, chocolate and toast. The firm tannins dominate now, but it should smooth out and gain in complexity with age.Add winemaker's notes
External Reviews for Paul Jaboulet Ané Hermitage la Chapelle
The wine world was stunned and saddened by the loss of Gerard Jaboulet this year, and this wine, the estatersquo;s jewel in the crown, is a fitting tribute. Itrsquo;s vivid, lush, international-style Hermitage, polished and lavishly oaked, stuffed with ripe flavors of plums, prunes, chocolate and toast. The firm tannins dominate now, but it should smooth out and gain in complexity with age.
This ripe, vivid and lush Rhocirc;ne is made in an international-style, lavishly oaked, with seductive plum, prune, chocolate and toast flavors. Known to improve with age, so hold until 1999 or so, until the firm tannins have smoothed out.
Very good ruby-red color. Perfumed nose of black- and redcurrants, grilled meat and chocolate. Large-scaled, layered and superripe, with strong inner-mouth flavor. Yet rather closed today. Young La Chapelle often shows a resiny, damp earth, ever raisiny oxidative aspect when tasted early, but therersquo;s no sign of this today. Thicker, more powerful and longer than the rsquo;96: the yield here was just 30 hectoliters per hectare, compared to 38 in rsquo;96.
The rsquo;91 La Chapelle has the dense black fruit of other rsquo;91 Hermitage wines we tasted, but with a difference: balance. The acidity is far from searing, but itrsquo;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 rsquo;90 vintage). It has the rugged character that reminds of the steep rock cliffs of the Hermitage vineyard.
Smell this wine and you're smelling Hermitage, from the warm granite baking in the sun at the top of the hill to the ripeness of the fruit hanging on the vines to the garrigue that surrounds them. Those scents continue into the taste, carried on sandy, firm tannins, dense yet fragrant. It's powerful wine, the alcohol extra fuel to the roasted cherry flavors, yet it somehow remains elegant, streamlined, all of a piece. It's a bit shut down right now, so leave it in the cellar for another few years.
This well-known Rhone négociant, owned by the Jaboulet family since 1834, was sold earlier this year to Jean-Jacques Frey, owner of Château La Lagune and part-owner of Billecart-Salmon. Heat and drought in 2003 resulted in dramatically lower yields than normal for this estate red. The Syrah grapes were fermented in glass-lined concrete vats for three weeks and spent 18 months aging in barrel (less than 50 percent new oak) before being bottled, unfiltered.
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.