2018 Domaine Paul Jaboulet Anie, Crozes-Hermintage Rouge “Domaine de Thalabert” Northern Rhone, France.
After a fabulous series of successful vintages for this Domaine de Thalabert Crozes, Caroline Frey’s Domaine Jaboulet has raised the game again with this 2018 version, helped by the year’s deep fruit characteristics and striking freshness energy with its natural acidity making everything pop perfectly on the medium/full palate along with an exceptional long aftertaste. As with the last five vintages I’ve tasted and a few which I have extensively reviewed here, this Domaine Paul Jaboulet Anie, Crozes-Hermintage Rouge “Domaine de Thalabert” is a northern Rhone, 100% Syrah, classic with a heightened aromatic perfume and an inviting deep inky color that leads to a remarkably pure cascade of flavors in the mouth, it shows notable layers of boysenberry, damson plum, kirsch, blueberry compote and creme de cassis as well as gorgeous crushed violets, delicate anise, earthy camphor, peppercorns, fig paste and black olives. The finish brings elegant echos of the core elements that are accented by subtle oak usage, nice mineral tones and graceful weightlessness with everything here seeming to be just that bit more lifted and thrilling to experience, this Syrah would be a great one to watch over the next decade, such is the impression it leaves. The recent rise of quality in Crozes-Hermitage really make these wines some of the best values in the region, with this one being an awesome Cru bottling, especially attractive at the price you can get it for. This wine deserves a bit more care in planning than I gave it, as it will be an excellent wine with a well thought out meal and time for it to open up completely, it is a bigger wine than first impressions give, so go with robust cuisine.
The famous Thalabert parcel, as I’ve noted in pas reviews, is located in Croze’s pebble-strewn granite soiled lieu-dit of Les Chassis, which has been 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, with this 2018 being a stunning wine, joining the 2016 as a favorite of mine. The Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine, now owned by the Frey family, led by the talented 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, of which I am excited to try the wines from. The Jaboulet lineup is full of quality efforts, but without question this one is a standout that is nearly impossible to resist, I know I’m hooked!
($40 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive