A tasting of the Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aines range led by Jean-Luc Chapel, Brand Ambassador for Jaboulet and Peter Rowe of Liberty Wines, their UK distributors. Prices indicated are approximate retail by the bottle. There are some technical details preceding the tasting notes.
2009 Cotes du Rhone Blanc 'Secret de Familie'
Sourced from southern Rhone, 60% Grenache Blanc and other varietals.
White stone fruits, peaches, apricots, some floral, some citrus, slight alcohol tinge, organic high. Quite full on the palate, thick texture, food wine, mostly fruits, easy drinking.
2009 Crozes Hermitage 'Domaine Mule Blanche'
A half and half blend of Marsanne Rousanne, grown on terroir with stone pebbles.
Some oak on the nose, funky yeast, bread, maybe even salinity, definitely mineral, still white fruits all the way, some white flowers, so expressive. Really full on the palate, so much fruits, nice mouthfeel, feels grown up, layered complexity, beautiful. Drinking very well now, but surely will age.
2008 Cotes du Rhone Rouge 'Secret de Familie'
A 60/40 blend of Grenache / Syrah.
Plenty of red fruits, cherry, currants, some earth, bit burnt, alcohol shows somehow. Slight green notes on the palate, mostly fruits, nothing remarkable, bit thin. Easy drinking, nothing complex.
2007 Gigondas 'Pierre Aiguille'
A 85/15 blend of Grenache / Syrah, exceptional vintage.
Restrained nose, notes of chocolates, cherry, plenty of red fruits, heady, expressive. Good extraction not over done, plenty of dark fruits, bit herb, nice acid still runs through, a good hand at work, everything is in balance, together and integrated, surprisingly classy and drinkable (Gigondas can be a bit muscular and chunky sometimes). Will give immense enjoyment for another 5-10 years, no problem.
2007 Domaine de Thalabert Crozes Hermitage
40ha of vines, Syrah only, 14 months in barrel with no more than 20% new oak, an exceptional vintage.
Plenty of dark fruits, some wood, savoury characters coming through, gamey, smoke, restrained nose, coy. Nice acidity, plenty of fruits, tannins are still there but is not chunky, dark red fruits. This is restrained power, didn't go all out, it releases the layers on the palate. Not showing that well tonight, perhaps needs time to open up. Potential.
2005 Cornas 'Domaine de Saint Pierre'
3.9ha Syrah only, 12 months in oak, 20% new; vintage almost universally excellent, typically described as big and muscular.
Pastilles, violets, damsons, floral almost, expressive, lifted, plenty of red fruits, ribena /cordial like, develops to cedar and wood. Really plenty of fruits, brooding, dark fruits, not as generous on the palate as the Thalabert, just that bit thinner and closed, but the tannin far more prominent on the back. Notable length and finish. This should be beautiful when mature.
2006 Hermitage La Petite Chapelle
Made in the same way as the Hermitage La Chapelle, only in final blending that the two are differentiated, La Chapelle. Hermitage AC is 125ha, Jaboulet owns 26ha, different plots contributing to the Chapelle & Petite Chapelle.
Generally 2006 Rhone a bit under-appreciated, sandwiched it is between the exceptional 05 and 07.
Red fruits, some mint, herb, spice, cloves and nutmeg, you do have to work at it though. On the palate plenty of darker fruits, some spice too; good extraction, notable fine tannins, great structure; lingering finish. Will age at last another 10 years, perhaps even 20, very much in youth now.
1990 Domaine de Thalabert Crozes Hermitage
An exceptional vintage, Hermitage are said to be best since the legendary 61.
Savoury, meaty, gamey, leather, moving to cedar, tobacco, plum red fruits, so floral, lifted, at the same time woody, musky. This is like nothing I've ever nosed, so many things going on, superlatives, gives something different every time you come back to it. Palate is very ready, so yielding, very complex, mature red fruits, developed notes of mushroom and earth, some metallic, copper, touches of warmth and spice, still with power throughout. Mouthfeel remarkable and filling. Elegant, class; drinking beautifull=ly now, probably approaching / at its peak. Truly remarkable, an absolute joy to taste.