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Paul Jaboulet Aine

France » Rhone » Paul Jaboulet Aine
"One needs no further evidence of the extraordinary turn around in the quality of the Jaboulet wines than what proprietress Caroline Frey has accomplished in 2009 as well as 2010. As I indicated last year, this is one of the great qualitative turn arounds in the wine world. It is welcomed by all wine lovers given the historic legacy of the wines of Jaboulet and the importance of this famous firm in all of France. Ms. Frey, who is also responsible for the brilliant wines produced at La Lagune in Bordeaux, has reduced the amount of new oak for the red wines to about 20% and to negligible proportions for the whites. A second wine of Hermitage, La Petite Chapelle, is fashioned from 33% or more of the production that is culled out to guarantee that the great reputation of the Hermitage La Chapelle has enjoyed over the last century is maintained." -Robert Parker/ The Wine Advocate

Since the early 19th century, the name Paul Jaboulet Aîné has been synonymous with quality in the Rhône. Today, there is a renewed sense of energy and purpose. In early 2006, the Frey family bought Jaboulet and implemented sweeping changes to return Jaboulet to the summit of quality Rhône producers.

Impressive holdings are among the largest in the Rhône, spanning nearly all great appellations: Condrieu, Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, St. Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and Hermitage. Recent purchases include Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Crozes Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie vineyards.

Winemaking stresses severe selection, dramatically lower yields, long and steady fermentations and aging in newer barrels. The wines are rich and dense, with remarkable balance and finesse: Rhône grapes in full song.

Most wines are enjoyable upon release, while wines like Hermitage “La Chapelle” and Côte Rôtie “Les Jumelles” reward patience.

About the 2011 vintage from The International Wine Cellar: "Owner/winemaker Caroline Frey described 2012 as "2010 but on a smaller scale, with less pronounced tannins, which will make the wines accessible much earlier." She added that 2011 is similar in many ways to 2006, which she said has turned out especially well for the white wines, and she believes that the reds, like their 2006 siblings, "can age better than people think but will be on point at about seven to ten years old, except for the most serious wines." The '11s won't die a quick death, she feels, "but it will probably be safe to drink them young, when the fruit is being emphasized."

The Jaboulet wines show a distinctly more polished character since the Frey family bought the winery in 2006, and it must be noted that Caroline, the 30-something daughter of Jean-Jacques Frey, is hardly acting as a figurehead here. She received the diploma of oenologue at the viticultural university in Reims (one of only five colleges in France that confer this advanced degree) and makes her home for most of the year across the Rhone, near Tournon, where she is raising her family. Working alongside co-winemaker Jacques Desnervois, Frey has brought a standard of consistent high quality back to this venerable producer, which is something that had been missing for many years."

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Harvest on the hill of Hermitage

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