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An iconic wine from a crappy year.  Yup, I bought a wine that I knew was not very good.  The pro’s originally gave it high 80’s scores.  It was priced at $120 per but I picked up a case at $70 a bottle, probably because nobody was buying this vintage.  La Chapelle is a huge name in the wine world, some vintages are worth thousands, yes $1000’s of US dollars.  It is a world class Syrah, from the famed Hermitage appellation in the Rhone Valley. Buying this wine was a once in a lifetime look into something amazing, with a storied and solid history- albeit in a mediocre year.  I cellared the case for a decade before I tried the first bottle.  I was hugely disappointed, it was crap.  I couldn’t believe it, I had wasted nearly $850 on a whim.  I tried several bottles and gave one away.  The rest just sat there, forlorn in their OWC (Original Wood Case).  Until Thanksgiving, when I cellar-dove to pull out some gems for the holiday season.  I found the case of Hermitage and decided to empty it out and get ready to either drink or pour the last 5 bottles.

Glad I resisted the urge to dump, this wine has turned around and offers a modest drinking experience and may even be on an upswing.  Vintages of this wine have been known to age gracefully for nearly a century.  It is a huge wine.

Inky purple glass which is a good sign.  The bottle had large deposits of sediment on the sides but there were none in the glass.  Nose of garigue, violets, game and dark fruits.  Mellow and smooth opening with bright fruit flavors of ripe plum, blueberry and cassis, not what I was expecting considering my previous experiences with this wine.  An earthy component on the mid palate which melded well with some acidity. The tannins are fully integrated and this wine is at peak. 88/89 points were my initial and final impressions.  The pro’s have since upgraded their scores to reflect the wine’s true personality.  It is drinking at its best now and will go for another 5 years.  If you like finesse this is a wine for you, but at this price point I think there are far better wines to search out.  2 Stars unfortunately for this rather expensive yet average drinking wine.  Salut…

paul jaboulet aine hermitage la chapelle