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Monthly Archives: August 2012

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Drinking 2009 Jaboulet

Since the early 19th Century, Paul Jaboulet Aîné has been rocking folk’s taste buds with wine produced in France’s Rhône Valley. If you’ve ever browsed the French section of a wine store you’ve likely seen their Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45, an entry-level southern Rhône blend of Grenache and Syrah.

But they built their reputation through parcels in the northern Rhône, Hermitage La Chapelle being the most famous. The 1961 vintage of Hermitage La Chapelle has achieved an almost mythical status among the wine cognoscenti (only $12k/bottle for those of you with a little extra disposable income).

Things weren’t as bright for Jaboulet through the 90s and into the new century. Production was up but quality was patchy. In 2006, the Frey family (proprietors of Chateau La Lagune in Bordeaux) purchased Jaboulet and applied sweeping changes that included a stricter selection process and significantly lower yields.

This is all just the long way of saying we hung out at Café Muse the other day and drank some 2009 Jaboulet with Elie. It was tasty.

My notes:

Châteauneuf du Pape “Domaine de Terre Ferme”

We started with the one southern Rhone in the bunch. Aromas of purple jelly led into wood smoke. Full body across the palate finishes long and herbal. This wine wanted to arm wrestle with me but I declined.

Côte Rôtie “Domaine des Pierrelles”

An elegant wine. On the nose there’s an initial hit of buttered toast and fruit compote that morphs into cedar and then flowers and then other lovely things our ancestors would know better than us. It somehow balances heft and grace like a ballerina that throws shot put as a hobby. All of the wines had plenty of acidity but it shone brilliant in this one, long and juicy. I’m writing this note a week later and I still get all tingly just thinking about it.

St. Joseph “Domaine de la Croix des vignes”

Fat with aromas of ripe fruit. Balanced across the center. There is weight here and also a long and dry finish sprinkled with powdery tannin.

Cornas “Domaine St. Pierre”

Immense nose of crushed berries and meat. Once you make it past the massive tannins a long and happy acidity shows. The provided tasting notes mention that you might want to cellar this monster for at least a decade before drinking. I believe those notes.

Crozes Hermitage “Domaine de Roure Rouge”

Heady aromas of stones, river banks, flowers, cedar closets, etc…all swirly and turning into steamed fruit and everything else. Fat, almost sweet through the middle yet finishes with a lively acidity. I can’t get my nose out the glass and I even save a bit for later sniffing.

Hermitage “La Petite Chapelle”

Nothing small about it. A dense and succulent drink of wine beneath scents of black currant liqueur and herbs.

Hermitage “La Chapelle”

If I counted off the aromas and flavors it would read like a French country village market shopping list including a side of beef. It is said that this wine will age 50 years. Grab a case and you might make your grandkids rich.

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