Friday 2 March 2018

24 Hours In The Rhone Valley - Part Two - Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage & Tasting The Jaboulet Lineup

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.

After a great first day in the Rhone valley, we woke up to a semi clear day and headed down to Crozes Hermitage with Bertrand.
Crozes Hermitage is large, Rhone valley´s largest AOC with over 1.600 ha. Jaboulet´s Domaine de Thalabert is a 45 ha cohesive area (with some ha in another plot) on the flatlands just beside the road, and even when you see the old vines, you wonder, great wines from here? The 2015 Domaine de Thalabert showed me later in the day how really, really great wines can be made from these land.

Hermitage - another climb, although not as steep as in Côte-Ròtie and you could walk on real roads all the way up. Up there, we had a great view over the Hermitage hill and the surroundings.

After our vineyards excursions we headed to Vineum, Jaboulet´s tasting room and wine store in Tain l´Hermitage, where we had a great tasting and lunch with Bertrand.

The Whites
2016 Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45
The white Parallele 45 has a light , fragrant nose with notes of herbs, cucumber and flint. Some grassy scents also. Very good.
The taste is light and easy going with notes of lemons, apricots and gravel. A fine oiliness. A fine upfront drink. 1/3 organic. Bought grapes.
87p   (tasted 2018/02)

2016 Crozes Hermitage Mule Blanche
50% Marsanne, 50% Roussane. A cool, smoky, peachy nose with additional notes of apricots and hot gravel. A fine fatness to the nose. Very, very good.
The taste offers up a melange of apricots, dried up honey, orange peel and chrushed rocks. A very fine acidity. Long and tight.
90p   (tasted 2018/02)

2016 Condrieu Les Cassines
An open, flowery nose with notes of wet asphalt, whites flowers and red currants. A delicate sweetness.
The taste is medium bodied and fine with notes of pears, apricots and warm grass. A long, fine finish with a good acidity.
88p   (tasted 2018/02)

Eggs for the whites
2015 Hermitage Le Chevalier de Sterimberg
Tasted twice in two days! From a half magnum it is a tad more restrained with more rocks, almonds and a hint of rubber on the nose and a refined and balanced taste. The magnum was more flashy, but this is a serious wine.
93p   (tasted 2018/02)

2014 Hermitage Le Chevalier de Sterimberg
The 14 was a interesting comparison, with a more round and mature feeling. The nose offers up notes of ripening peaches, dried flowers, earth and herbs. Very deep. A lovely dried up sweetness.
The taste is refined and structured with notes of grilled lemons, dried up vanilla ice cream, minerals and dried flowers. Very long and very fine.
93p   (tasted 2018/02)

The Reds
2015 Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45
There were som different opions on the two red Parallele 45. Most seem to prefer the younger and fruity 16. Not me. The 15 has a meaty, barnyardy nose with notes of licorice, blueberries and violets. Very good and a tad old fashioned.
The taste has an interesting mix of black pepper, blueberries and rusty steel that ends dry and fine. For 11 Euro, a real bargain.
88p   (tasted 2018/02)

2016 Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45
The 16 Parallele is upfront and juicy with a mix of raspberries and blueberries and some herbs and ink as complement. Good but more direct and easy than the 15.
The taste is young, medium bodied and fresh with notes of blueberries, iron and tobacco. A hint of bitterness in the finish. Nice enough but not as complex (for this level) as the 15.
85p   (tasted 2018/02)

2016 Crozes Hermitage Les Jalets
There are some reductive, complex notes of barnyard, dog fur and meat on the nose but with the fine blueberry fruit and cool peppery scents, I think this is very nice.
The taste is tight and a little withdrawn with notes of ink, gravel, cranberries and smoke. Still very young of course. Very good.
87p   (tasted 2018/02)

2015 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert
A stunner! A deep, meaty yet light and airy nose, full of ripe blueberries with some blackberries tossed in, violets, black pepper and and a flowery perfumed scent. Really fine.
The taste is tight and lovingly put together with ripe fruit, silky tannins, upliftning acidity and looong finish. With a solid structure, this will age gracefully for 15+ years.
94p   (tasted 2018/02)

My kind of cellar - 1200 barriques...
2015 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Roure
The Domaine de Roure is a bit denser and richer than the Thalabert, with notes of blue- and blackberries, scorched earth, clay with some dried strawberries at the bottom of the nose.
The taste is large scaled and concentrated with notes of ripe black fruits, iron, meat juice and violets. Long and steady. Very, very good but not as complex and lively as the Thalabert.
92p   (tasted 2018/02)

2014 Côte-Rôtie Les Jumelles
2014 was a difficult year but this Côte-Rôtie comes out of the glass with flying colors and notes of veal stock, white peppers, bakelite and red currants. Very refined. Cool and classy.
The taste is a little on the light side but there is much to like here in form of ripe red currants, blood and iron, peppers and earth. Silky, low keyed tannins. Very, very good. 3+ years.
91p   (tasted 2018/02)

2015 Hermitage La Maison Bleue
The little brother of La Chapelle, or as it was called La Petite Chapelle between 2001 and 2014. The grapes comes from the most easterly vineyards, where the soil is deeper, less stony and the slope flatter.
But there is nothing small with this wine, it is a beauty. There is a rugged intensity and a rocky depth that is impressive, alongside notes of ripe bluberries, fresh herbs and some dried strawberries at the end.
The taste is very tight and concentrated with notes of ripe cranberries, damsons, black pepper dusted raspberries and scorched earth. In the long, long finish there is a fine note of dark violets. Stunning juice. 7+ years.
95p   (tasted 2018/02)

2015 Hermitage La Chapelle
Aaaah, this is what dreams are made of! The nose soares up from the glass with gorgeous aromas of dry blyeberry pie, black tea, seared meat, earth and dry licorice. Very, very deep and hauntingly beautiful. A poster child for a multilayered nose.
The taste is massive yet light on its feet with granite powdered blueberries, ripe flowers, dark tobacco and a two minute long, intense, mouth coating finish. Give this 10+ years and you are looking at perfection.
98p   (tasted 2018/02)

1988 Hermitage La Chapelle
At the end of the tasting, Bernard went and fetched this from the cellar. A real treat to taste this 30 year old La Chapelle, even though you could sense and taste that this was from a bygone era. The nose is deep, broading and bloody with notes of tobacco, forest floor, dog fur and raisins. A fine dried up sweetness.
The taste is dry, tight and with a fine dark dried up sweetness with notes of tobacco, damsons, moist earth and leather. Long, warm and dry. A big mouthful of mature Syrah with drying tannins.
90p   (tasted 2018/02)

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