Paul Jaboulet Hermitage la Chapelle 2007
Four and a half glasses
External Reviews for Paul Jaboulet Hermitage la Chapelle
Some lovely fruit, polished and clean, with all the attributes of a fine terroir - mineral and above all a lot of sweet, ultraripe fruit. Full-bodied, long, with plenty of toasted, smoked bacon and blackberry notes. Easier to appreciate young than many La Chapelles, but what hedonistic pleasure. Best from 2007 through 2015.
Some lovely fruit, polished and clean, with all the attributes of a fine terroir andmdash; mineral and above all a lot of sweet, ultraripe fruit. Full-bodied, long, with plenty of toasted, smoked bacon and blackberry notes. Easier to appreciate young than many La Chapelles, but what hedonistic pleasure. Best from 2007 through 2015.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I retasted the 1999 Hermitage La Chapelle. While it is unquestionably an excellent effort, it is well below the standards of the appellation's benchmark producers. It requires another 3-5 years of cellaring, and should last twenty-five years, but it will always lack volume and density, and possess a certain austerity.
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