A wine that sells for around $100 a value? Yes, when it has the pedigree of La Chapelle and the intensity of this particular wine. The best wine to come from Jaboulet since the awe-inspiring 1990. And yes, in these days of newly released $250+ first-growth Bordeaux, a value.
Jaboulet’s view of its most famous wine seems to have changed. Although the concentrated, dense tannins and big black fruit flavors are still there, it has lost the huge brooding presence of past vintages, and now has a veneer of sophistication with superripe fruit, plums and dark jam tastes. Whether this 1999 will age as well as older vintages remains to be seen…
Jaboulet’s white Hermitage is named after the crusading knight who built and settled in the small chapel on the Hermitage hill. The wine itself is powerful, rich and concentrated, with heady perfumes of wild flowers and nuts. The palate combines a hint of wood, a full-bodied, oily texture and a stunning burst of acidity that leaves a crisp aftertaste.
What wonders lie beneath the surface of this tight-as-a-drum baby. Thick as a brick and barely revealing its charm now, this is a wine for the cellar. Monstrous oak is absorbed by the heft of the wine and enviable structure. Will almost certainly become brighter as the years go by.
Jaboulet bought this 7.3-acre estate in 1998, and this is the first full vintage. It is a huge wine, with all the true inky blackness and density of a Cornas. Firm, dry and concentrated, it also has generous ripe black plums, a hint of sweet jelly. It makes an excellent mix of the traditional foursquare Cornas style, with modern sophistication.
Jaboulet has been investing heavily in recent years, and the terrific 2009 Terre Ferme is one of the payoffs. It’s meaty and plummy on the nose, with an expansive, plush mouthfeel. Plum and black cherry flavors work well with the leather and cedar notes, while the finish lingers, picking up hints of cinnamon and licorice. Drink 2015–2025.
Jaboulet's white Hermitage is a huge success in 2007, boasting somewhat restrained aromas of pineapple, but tremendous structure and length. It's full-bodied, with a finish laced with crushed stone and citrus. Try it around 2017.
A big step up from Jaboulet’s La Petite Chapelle, this is on a par with some of Jaboulet’s past efforts. It’s richly concentrated, yet nuanced, with notes of blood and mineral added to ripe cassis fruit and accented by hints of vanilla and spice. The tannins form an almost creamy texture in the mouth, and the finish lingers a good long time. Drink 2012–2025.