Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné
In 1834, a full 100 years before the introduction of the A.O.C. system, Antoine Jaboulet began to transform a sleepy region into one of the most important quality winegrowing terroirs in the world. Since that time, Paul JabouletAînéhas become the benchmark in the Northern Rhône, with the iconic Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’ being responsible for some of the greatest wines ever produced. Ten years ago, the Frey family purchased this historic property and committed tremendous effort and resources to improve upon the already legendary estate. They immediately started converting the estate vineyards to biodynamic principlesand encouraging sustainable practices from every family grower they work with. With each successive vintage the purifying effects of these natural agricultural improvements can be felt and tasted. This is one of France’s finest estates, the crown jewel of the Rhône Valley. Oenologist and proprietorCaroline Frey, alongside Winemaking Director Jacques Desvernois, are producing theauthentic standard for quality Syrah across the Northern Rhône.
“The work we have been doing in the vineyard over the last ten years, and particularly around organic viticulture, allowed the vines to benefit from the ideal weather conditions of the 2015 vintage. When we tasted the first grapes we have immediately been convinced that 2015 would be an outstanding year”.
This is unquestionably the finest set of releases I’ve tasted from the estate, and the top reds rival, and in a number of cases surpass, the 2009’s and 2010’s. While the line up remains relatively unchanged, the La Petite Chapelle has been done away with and is replaced by the La Maison Bleue Cuvee, which is driven by vineyards located on the eastern side of Hermitage Hill, as opposed to being a second wine for the La Chapelle cuvee”.
2015 Hermitage 'La Chapelle'
(limit 1 bottle per customer until sold out)
Lastly, and a legendary wine in the making, the 2015 Hermitage La Chapelle is reminiscent of the 1990 with its full bodied, opulently, sexy, yet concentrated style. Offering sensational notes of blackcurrants, smoked herbs, beef blood, and chocolate, it’s a huge yet elegant wine that has masses of sweet tannin, incredible purity and finesse, and a killer finish. It’s the finest wine from this estate in close to thirty years. Hats off to Caroline Frey and Jacques Desvernois!
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, 100 points
A majestic and brooding nose with dark stone fruits, wet black stones, pepper and brown spices as well as some dark chocolate and meaty notes, and fresh truffle-like earthiness, too. The palate draws deep and even with effortless power. Seamless. Extremely focused and fine long tannins. Hints of high cocoa chocolate. The acidity is stunning. This is flawless Hermitage. Drink 2023 and beyond.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, 97 points
The 2015 Hermitage La Chapelle is one of the estate’s finest recent efforts. Its packed with firm tannins and will need to be lost in the cellar for a decade, but it will reward those with patience. Richly concentrated and full-bodied, it hits all the expected notes – cassis, black olive, smoke, crushed stone, pencil shavings and espresso – then finishes long, with an aristocratic sense of reserve and austerity. Winemaker Jacques Desvernois compares it to a woman’s black dress, meaning it speaks of elegance and class. Anticipated maturity 2027-2050
Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, 98 points
2015 Hermitage 'La Maison Bleue'
(limit of one bottle per customer until sold out)
A new cuvee that’s replacing La Petite Chapelle, the 2015 Hermitage La Maison Bleue comes from grapes on the eastern side of the appellation, which is more limestone, clay and sedimentary soils. Brought up in 20% oak (which is the same for all the reds), it offers a rich, opulent, incredibly sexy style as well as full-bodied notes of black raspberry, blackberry jam, toasted bread and spice. With tons of sweet fruit, no hard edges, and a great finish, it’s a much more in your face, pedal-to-the metal effort compared to the more structured La Chapelle
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, 96 points
A striking, exotic nose with red stone fruits and extremely expressive berries as well as darker cherries and plums, and plenty of dark stony notes, too. The palate is super plush, expansive and deeply structured. Velvety, deep and supple, and packed with red and dark cherries and plums. Dense, velvety tannins. Super expressive and long with a stony finish. Drink from 2020 and beyond.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, 95 points
Replacing La Petite Chapelle in the Jaboulet line-up is the 2015 Hermitage la Maison Bleue. Rather than being a selection of lots that didn’t make the cut for La Chapelle, its more terroir based, with the wine coming from the eastern (non-granitic) side of the appellation. Because of that, its softer in style, with a rich velvety texture. Cedar and spice notes frame cassis and cola notes, lingering through the long, supple finish. Anticipated maturity 2020-2035.
Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate 94 points
2015 Crozes-Hermitage 'Domaine de Roure'
(limit of three bottles per customer)
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, 94+ points
This is all about the granite slopes of Le Blanc up behind Gervais. It has a wild cherry and raspberry nose with dark plums, too, as well as attractive pepper and exotic spices. The palate has a powerful cage of tannins holding dark plum fruits bright and long. This is great Crozes and needs time. Best from 2020 and for a decade at least.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, 93 points
Brooding, concentrated and tannic, the 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Roure will need some time to come out of its granite shell. Crushed stone and dark cherries and cassis emerge only reticently on the nose. For easier near-term drinking, grab some of the Thalabert; for serious longevity in the cellar, the Domaine de Roure will be hard to beat. Anticipated maturity; 2025-2040.
Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, 94 points
2015 Crozes-Hermitage 'Domaine de Thalabert'
(limit of two bottles per customer)
The finest vintage to date, better even than the stellar 2010, the 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert is a gorgeous, deep, layered, and incredibly satisfying Crozes. Blackcurrants, olive tapenade, truffles and earthy notes all emerge from this full-bodied, gorgeously textured and seamless 2015. With fine tannin and no hard edge, it can be drunk today or cellaring for 15-20 years.
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, 97 points
Smooth, impressive flesh and weight. Graphite-like stony minerally aromas with dark cherries and darker plums, the oak adding cedary woody notes. The palate has an impressive plushness as well as assertive tannins below. Extremely defined, pure and attractive. A great vintage. Best from 2019 and for a decade at least.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, 93 points
The 2015 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert is a super effort, packed with savory notes of black olives and crushed stones. It’s full-bodied and rich, with a hint of cedary oak, but there’s plenty of fruit and ripe tannins on the lingering finish. Like some of those fine Thalabert vintages of the past, it should drink well for a couple of decades. Anticipated maturity 2020-2035
Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, 93+ points
2015 Crozes-Hermitage 'Les Jalets'
A deliciously fruity, vibrant northern Rhône syrah in a vintage that is already delivering real pleasure. Black fruit and soft ripe tannins with the ripeness of the outstanding 2015 vintage. Much of the fruit comes from Jaboulet's own vines at Domaine de Thalabert.
“Solidly built, with a tarry frame that integrates nicely into the core of steeped plum and blackberry fruit. A melted licorice edge drives through on the finish, while the fruit wins out easily. Best from 2018 through 2023”.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, 91 points