2017 Paul Jaboulet Cotes-du-Rhone Parallele 45 Rouge

Year: 2017
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 85
James Suckling: 90
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.5%
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"Now produced entirely from organically grown grapes, Jaboulet's 2017 Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45 is a blend of approximately 75% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% other permitted varieties. It's medium-bodied, with tart cherry fruit, a soft dusting of supple tannins, finishing crisp and easy.

With properties now in Bordeaux (Château La Lagune), Burgundy (the former Château Corton André) and Switzerland (she purchased a vineyard in the Valais in 2016), proprietor Caroline Frey is increasingly drawn in different directions, so I was fortunate to be able to sit down with her for a few hours at Michelin-starred Maison Chabran in nearby Pont de l'Isère. She brought representative barrel samples of the 2018s, plus the bottled 2017s, which we tasted through before dining. This year, Frey was excited to show me the 2017 Côtes du Rhône Parallele 45, which is now made using only organic grapes. At up to two million bottles (red, white and rosé) per year, that's no small achievement. But as always, we spent the most time on the wines produced from the firm's own vineyards, which are all farmed biodynamically. Frey explained that they cannot be certified, as the winery also processes grapes and wines from the négociant operations. The grapes are all destemmed, although she said they will experiment with whole clusters. "When we did it in 2013, for me it was not OK," she said. She has begun doing more pigeage (punching down) in the winery, versus just remontage (pumping over). "We have good results on the texture-fleshier." The glory of Jaboulet is the legendary Hermitage La Chapelle, which is finally reflecting all of the hard work put into the vineyards by the Frey family and the Jaboulet team. "We still have many things to do," said Frey. "But I think in the past 13 years we've come a long way."" (WA)

"Attractive perfume and red fruit here with a wealth of red plums and raspberries on the palate, too. The tannins are fine and long. Quite juicy and fresh. Drink or hold." (JS)