Jaboulet: Back and Even Better
2009 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle
The Best Since the "Perfect" 1990 and 1978?
"If you have been off the Jaboulet bandwagon over the last decade or so, now is the time to jump back on."
- Robert Parker
Carline Frey has led this estate to a great place. As Parker enthusiastically continues, it didn't take long for this determined, competent 32-year-old to "whip this somewhat rudderless (following the death of Gerard Jaboulet in the late 1990s) estate into shape."
Under Caroline's command, selections are more severe and yields are dramatically down. Overall production has been brought from around 8,000-10,000 cases a year of Hermitage La Chapelle to about 2,000 in 2009.
Quality, as could be guessed, is way up: The 2009 will be "the greatest La Chapelle since 1990 and 1978" asserts Parker. Which is saying something, as both the 1990 and the 1978 are "perfect" wines.
They also garner prices that today sit at well over $500 for the 1990 and in the $1,400 ballpark for a 1978.
La Chapelle is Jaboulet's flagship wine, named for the iconic chapel that stands atop Hermitage, guarding its south-facing slope of granite, schist and gneiss. Paul Jaboulet Aîné actually bought the chapel itself in 1919, and in addition to it, the house today owns over 21 hectares in Hermitage. La Chapelle is culled from 40- to 60-year-old vines across four sites here: Les Bessards, Les Greffieux, Le Méal and Les Rocoules. Each plot is vinified separately before careful blending into the grand La Chapelle.
While Caroline's and her family's dedication and insistence on quality are owed much of the credit for the grandeur of the 2009 La Chapelle, the vintage dealt a righteous hand here, too. A colder, wetter winter restored vines and allowed them to build up water reserves to get them through a fairly hot, dry summer that brought full, even ripeness to grapes and an earlier harvest.
Many estates, like Jaboulet, quite possibly produced some of their greatest wines yet. There's ripe, exuberant fruit, yet there's also an undeniable streak of fresh acidity lending fantastic tension and balance. Tannins are silky and well-integrated.
Parker's note on the 09 La Chapelle touches on all the aspects that make this vintage great: "The wine possesses massive concentration, sensational freshness and purity, abundant sweet, velvety tannins and a huge finish." His full tasting note is below and well worth a read.
Today, we have but one parcel of wine and given the enthusiasm for the 2009 Northern Rhônes, we expect the wines to move very quickly. Please give us your maximum order, and we'll make allocations if need be.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits