2017 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Anie, Crozes-Hermintage Rouge “Domaine de Thalabert” Northern Rhone, France.
Drinking more like a great Cote-Rotie than a Crores-Hermitage, the 2017 Domaine de Thalabert Crores Rouge by Caroline Frey and Jaboulet is a profound effect considering the searing heat of the vintage with an intense inky color and beautifully elegant detailing, this is a stunning pure Syrah wine that thrills the palate. This black/purple hued Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine Croze-Hermitage “Domaine de Thalabert” starts with some flair and flamboyance highlighted by crushed violets, creme de cassis and espresso roast before classic flavors unfold on the full bodied palate with boysenberry, damson plum, kirsch, blueberry compote and loganberry coulis as well as black licorice, grilled herbs de Provence, a touch of earth, peppercorns, tapenade and sweet cedar notes along with a faint mocha element. While heady, this wine is wonderfully drinkable with a very stylish and balanced form, it comes in at about 13.5% natural alcohol, so it can be enjoyed without any oppressive heat showing, or aggressive tannins, making it easy to enjoy in its youth and sublime with food, especially roast meats, savory mushroom dishes and rustic cuisine, it has enough sweet fruit to go with Turkish lamb or Korean BBQ Pork, meals I would love to try with this gorgeous Syrah. Air brings out a fuller expression of the succulent dark fruits as well as allowing hints of camphor/graphite and delicate mineral tones and this wine lingers on and on heavenly in the glass, this is a Syrah to spend some time with to enjoy it in its complete performance, it is truly excellent until the last drop leaves the bottle.
The Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine, now owned by the Frey family, led by the talented winemaking tigress Caroline Frey, has been an iconic estate in the Northern Rhone and one of the big three in the region along with Guigal and Chapoutier, most known for their fabled La Chapelle vineyard in Hermitage, Syrah’s most holy site! There’s been wines made here since pre-Roman times, but it was Antoine Jaboulet’s plantings in 1834 and focus on quality which really started to establish the area as one of the major wine producing appellations of the world, after he past the land was passed on to his two sons Henri and Paul, who’s name became company label. The Frey family, who bought the fade glory Jaboulet in 2006, have become big time players in premium French wine production having serious quality properties in Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux, which includes Chateau La Lagune in Haut-Medoc and Château de Corton André in the Cote de Beaune. Caroline, who studied in Bordeaux is one of France’s rising stars and has her hand in many projects, with even a biodynamic high elevation vineyard in Switzerland under her care and I hear these wines are stunning as well as her efforts here at Jaboulet, which have certainly brought this estate back to the elite status it enjoyed in the 1950s and 1960s. The Thalabert parcel, a special terroir, is located in Croze’s pebble-strewn granite soiled lieu-dit of Les Chassis, which has owned by Jaboulet since its founding back in 1834 and is regarded as maybe the greatest set of vines in the Crores-Hermitage AOC, all organic and biodynamic. Frey uses partial whole bunches and well judged use of new wood, really putting the focus on the vintage and trying for transparency and luxurious texture in her recent releases especially and this 2017 is proving to be a very tasty version, maybe not as serious as 2015 and 2016 for the cellar, this is one to drink up and offers a stunning value.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive