Sunday 11 February 2018

24 Hours In The Rhone Valley - Part One - A Visit To Côte-Rôtie & A Fabolous Dinner

This week I spent 24 hours in Rhone, my first trip there. I had really fun climbing the vineyards of Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage and visiting the plain land of Crozes-Hermitage, and then tasting the wines from these vineyards in Paul Jaboulet´s Vineum, their combined store and tasting room.

Disclaimer - this trip was fully paid by Nigab.
One could ask oneself - does that affect my opions on the wines tasted? IMHO not a bit. I am far too old (and too cynical :-)), have tasted too much and have the funds too (almost...) buy the wines I like and make the journeys I want. I just call the wines as I see them.

The Frey family (Billecart-Salmon, La Lagune, Château Corton C) took over the Jaboulet estate in 2006 and Caroline Frey took over the management, shifting the viticulture into organic farming. From 2016 Jaboulet is organic certified. They have over the last couple of years gone beyond the organic management into biodynamice agriculture and the result so far, as Sébastian Baillon, wineyard manager, explains, is white wines (where the have started)  that are more lively, more delicate and with more tension.

We met up with Sebastian and Bertrand Michet, export manager at Jaboulet. Bertand spent the major part of our visit with us and showed us the vineyards, the cellar and the wines, except for the fist visit to Côte-Rôtie, of which Jaboulet owns 2,7 ha.
We started by climbing  the steep hills while Sebastian talked about the vineyards and the viticulture.

We are going up there!, says Sebastian

And up we went...

40 year old vines in Côte-Rôtie
After our visit to Côte-Rôtie we installed us at our hotel and then went out to check out the quiet town of Tain l´Hermitage. This is the time of the year when not many visitors grace this area, so it was hard to find a open place to get something to drink. We eventually found a bar open so we managed until we went to the restaurant Le Mangevis.
This pearl of a restaurant lies on a back street with a unassuming entry, but when inside it is a small, warm place with a nice atmosphere and a focus on wine as you can see below. Great food here!

NV Longitude, Larmandier-Bernier
We started with this Blanc de Blancs that has a gorgeous, racy nose with notes of flint, Lily of the Valley, wet stones and lemon cream. Silky and fine. Really good.
The taste is vigorous and pure with notes of smoke, dry lemon fudge, white flowers and dry biscuits. A long, fine finish with a lovely acidity. Would love to drink this one again.
92p   (tasted 2018/02)

2015 Hermitage le Chevalier de Sterimberg, Jaboulet
Poured from a magnum, as it should be! The nose is a dream with deep, haunting notes of lemon oil, ripe flowers, hay, spices and lots of sweet minerals. Lovely.
The taste is dense and structured and yet balanced and light in a wonderful combination. Fine notes of dried up lemon curd, dried flowers, spices and chrushed rocks. A very fine mouthfeel. Not the highest acidity but just enough to balance the rich fruit. Complex. Drink now and the coming 10+ years.
94p   (tasted 2018/02)

2006 Hermitage La Chapelle, Jaboulet
Another magnum hits the table. This was the first vintage of the new reign. And what a wine! The nose is deep and profound with lovely notes of meat stock, sweet violets. roasted black peppers, warm tiles and fir wood. Refined and utterly gorgeous.
The taste is still on the young side of things (I guessed 2010...) with notes of blackberries, violets, dark chocolate, warm herbs and granite. The finish goes on for over a minute. Really classy. 6+ years.
96p   (tasted 2018/02)

A fine night cap!


  1. Nice report...thanks
    No tasting at the winery...?
    Really like La Chapelle...but is becoming a very pricier wine.

    1. Thanks! We tasted at Jaboulet´s combined store and tasting rooms - in the next part.