2017 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle

Year: 2017
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 97-99
Vinous Media: 95-96
James Suckling: 98
Jeb Dunnuck: 95-97
Red Wine

Pre-Order
DUE IN: DECEMBER 2019

Price :
$169.95

"In need of serious air to open up, the 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle became more and more impressive the longer I kept it in the glass. At first it seemed a bit simple, if admirably plummy and rich, but by the time ten minutes had elapsed, it was showing off elegant notes of crushed stone, pencil shavings and cassis, while remaining full-bodied, rich and concentrated. It's velvety and long on the finish, but something left me wanting a bit more. It's surely a great La Chapelle, but will it reach that elusive triple-digit score?

The charming Caroline Frey was all smiles during my visit to the Jaboulet tasting room on the main square in Tain l'Hermitage. Her Burgundy vintage was complete and very promising. And even though severe hail damage at Château La Lagune in Bordeaux resulted in no grapes being harvested there this year, it meant she could focus all her energy on the 2018s in the Rhône. We started off with the 2016s. "Hopefully, we will still have years like this," she said. "It's a vintage with more length. I like it!" There's no doubt the 2016s are successful here, but in many instances the 2017s look even better. "I'm always a little afraid of hot vintages," she said. "But I find a balance in this one." The proof is in the pudding: Some of the 2017s are the best I've ever tasted at this address." (WA)

"Brilliant magenta. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe dark berries, cherry liqueur, incense and potpourri, while olive and exotic spice nuances build in the glass. Displays intense, alluringly sweet black/blue fruit, spicecake and violet pastille flavors that show sharp delineation and are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Closes extremely long and precise, displaying a smoky, intensifying mineral quality and youthfully gripping tannins that build steadily." (VM)

"The icon is in dangerously seductive form. Such pristine dark cherries, blackberries and dark plums, dark chocolate, finely crushed spices and plenty of crushed dark stones on offer. The palate is very intense, very slick and fine tannins deliver an almost playfully soft impression. The oak is super integrated. Like La Maison Bleue, this approachability is an aberration, as it has immense power, concentration and length with such regal and alluring swagger at the finish. But there is so much more to come. Try from 2024, better after 2030." (JS)

"The inky colored 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle comes all from the Le Méal (50%), Les Bessards (25%), and Rocoules (25%) and was brought up in 15% new oak, with the balance in once-used, twice-used, and older barrels and demi-muids, A magical wine in the making, with some resemblance to the 2009, its deep purple color is followed by a ripe, layered, incredibly sexy wine loaded with notions of blackberries, black raspberries, crushed rocks, spice, and new saddle leather. Fresh, vibrant, and layered, with a flamboyant style that's already almost impossible to resist, it's a gorgeous wine that will keep for 3+ decades.

The big news at this benchmark estate is the loss of winemaker Jacques Desvernois to Domaine Guigal. At the time of my tasting with Caroline Frey, there was no replacement, so it will be interesting to see who comes on board. They will certainly have big shoes to fill. Nevertheless, the estate has been on an incredible roll, with their sensational 2015s last year, and now two strong vintages with their 2016s and 2017s." (JD)