2017 Paul Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert

Year: 2017
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 92
Vinous Media: 92
James Suckling: 93
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
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"Marked by scents of licorice, plum and cassis, the 2017 Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert is a full-bodied effort (although less full than the 2018), with a fine sense of balance, a crisp finish and slightly drying tannins.

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)

"Inky ruby. Smoke-accented cherry and dark berries on the deeply perfumed nose, which takes on olive and baking spice nuances with air. Smooth, concentrated and appealingly sweet, offering plush boysenberry, cherry and singed plum flavors and a spicy touch of cracked pepper. Finishes broad, sweet and long, with harmonious tannins and repeating spiciness." (VM)

"This has slate, graphite and dark berries with a fine, peppery nose and a wealth of rich red plums, wild raspberries and dark chocolate. The palate arrives as a spicy, sleek and attractively plush serving of ripe plums. Some spiced chocolate here, too. Super long, fresh and balanced. Try from 2024." (JS)

"This terroir always delivers a wild, opulent, gamey style of wine, and the 2017 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert doesn’t disappoint. Loads of chocolaty black fruits, ground pepper, truffle, and smoked game, as well as a hint of black olives, emerge from the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, has a rocking texture, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It’s a classic example of this wine and terroir. Drink it over the coming 15 years or so.

Readers who love older vintages of Jaboulet’s flagship Hermitage La Chapelle should be happy with how owner Caroline Frey has managed this domaine since taking over in 2006. She has singlehandedly brought this estate back to its former glory, particularly with their Hermitage releases. Their second wine today, the Maison Bleue, is unquestionably a better wine than many past vintages of their flagship La Chapelle, and I suspect will age even longer." (JD)

Winery Notes:
Situated on the plain in the shadows of Hermitage the Domaine de Thalabert has belonged to Jaboulet since 1834 and is the oldest vineyard in the appellation.

The Domaine de Thalabert is a large estate of close to 100 acres located on the plains in the heart of the appellation. Soils is made primarily of small round pebbles that soak up the warmth of the days sun and release it at night leading to ideal maturity of the old vine Syrah.

The grapes are sorted, destemmed and vinified in neutral casks. The wines are aged in the cellars for 12 months prior to bottling.