The 2015 vintage in the Northern Rhone is the finest in decades, long awaited and in high demand. It is viewed in the highest possible regard and has already started receiving the finest scores and accolades. Today we are excited to release the epitome of the region, Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2015. In 2015, Jaboulet’s La Chapelle has been awarded its first 97-100 point score from barrell in decades, making it hugely collectable. As such it is very likely to surpass the 2009 and 2010 vintages, both heralded as exceptional and awarded 98 and 97+ respectively. In fact, Jeb Dunnuck from the Wine Advocate states that it ‘has more than a passing resemblance to the 1990.’ The 1990 is the last vintage to have been awarded 100 points and it is noteworthy that it was scored 99 at the first asking, before latterly being awarded a perfect score: the 2015 has this accolade out of the gate. Dunnuck concludes ‘it’s a tour de force that’s going to have three to four decades of longevity.’
Indeed, while Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle is perennially awarded extremely high scores, it rarely reaches perfection. When it does the price increases exponentially, the most recent, the 1990, trades today at £2,400 per case of six, the 1978 at £6,000. Finally, Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle 1961 is considered one of the greatest wines ever made and commands a price to match, trading at £15,000 for just one bottle! The 2015 promises to greatly reward those who secure it on release and with the expectation of a perfect score, the price today represents a very strong buy indeed.
*Vintages with a score of 97 or greater
Since World War II Jaboulet has established itself as the leading global brand in Rhone and their jewel vineyard, La Chapelle is the personification of all great wine produced in the valley. Hermitage La Chapelle is truly remarkable and distinct with a rich and emotive history. It is one of the most beautiful vineyards in the world and is certainly one of the greatest and most acclaimed. Hermitage is the most famous, the highest quality and longest lived wine of the Northern Rhone appellation. The name Hermitage comes from the legend where a wounded knight came back from the crusades and sort refuge, living there as a hermit. The Chapel of St. Christopher still stands at the top of Hermitage today. The vineyard that boasts this artifact has been owned solely since 1919 by Maison Paul Jaboulet Aine and it is from where La Chapelle derives its name. The vineyard’s incredibly steep slopes face south-west and the old Syrah vines see warmth throughout the day and early evening: the view from the vineyard is simply breath-taking allowing one to see the valley in its full panoramic splendour.
The Syrah is planted on rich and diverse soil (les Bessards, les Greffieux, le Meal and les Rocoules). The soil components are granite areas covered with mica-schist and gneiss, with deposits of round and alluvial pebbles. It is from this multiplicity that La Chapelle derives its world famous complexity. The vines which have an average age of 40-60 years are trained on goblet shaped stakes, necessary due the extreme aspect of the hillside – one must see it to believe it. Yields are incredibly low at less than 10 to 18 hl/ha and the grapes are brought down on sledges, sorted by hand and vinified traditionally in the winery. Final blending is completed during the ageing process, where the wine spends 15-18 months in wood, completing judicious selection from the different terroirs of Hermitage. Only 80,000 bottles or 6,500 cases are made every year. The Jaboulets sold their vineyard to entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Frey in 2006, the great 2015 vintage is now the best wine made under his ownership and a must for all Rhone lovers and fine wine collectors alike.
Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2015, 6×75 – £785 IB
97-100 Points, Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate
A wine that might surpass the 2009 and 2010 is the 2015 Hermitage La Chapelle, which has more than a passing resemblance to the 1990. This inky black/blue-colored Hermitage offers an off-the-charts array of blackberries, blueberries, crushed rocks, wood smoke and charred meats. Thick, unctuous, full-bodied and incredibly layered, with sweet tannin, it’s a tour de force that’s going to have three to four decades of longevity.
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