This summer I visited the Northern Rhône – one of my favourite wine regions. It’s true collectors have targeted certain small extinct domaines here for attention and high prices – like Noël Verset and Gentaz-Dervieux, and also true that a halo exists around certain rarities still produced today – like Chave’s Cuvée Cathelin and Guigal’s La La’s. But my feeling is that today the region is mostly a source of tremendous quality for prices that have not yet quite caught up.
I spent a full day with the team at Paul Jaboulet Aîné, visiting the vineyards, discussing changes made since the Frey family took over in 2006, and tasting their range of wines. I was impressed. I think you will be too.
The next day I had the chance to visit Domaine Georges Vernay in Condrieu. It’s hard to believe, but even here in its native habitat, the marvelous, aromatic and fulsome Viognier grape brushed with extinction. Georges Vernay championed it from 1953, rebuilt the appellation, which he led for decades, and fashioned Condrieu as the high quality wine we know today.
Sadly, Georges passed away in May this year. His daughter Christine – whose delightful husband, Paul, I met with on my visit – has been at the helm here since 1996, and has done much to bring the domaine’s reds – from Côte-Rôtie – up to the same high reputation as its whites from Condrieu. I found them to be wonderfully fragrant, fresh, intense yet elegant in style.
Join us on Saturday 20th January for this in-shop tasting to discover the new releases from these two domaines – which we now import direct to Hong Kong. (Note – the Jaboulet wines listed here are strictly for private clients only).
There is quite a buzz about the 2015 ‘La Chapelle’, by the way – perhaps the most exciting release since the 1990:
‘A wine that might surpass the 2009 and 2010 is the 2015 Hermitage La Chapelle, which has more than a passing resemblance to the 1990. This inky black/blue-colored Hermitage offers an off-the-charts array of blackberries, blueberries, crushed rocks, wood smoke and charred meats. Thick, unctuous, full-bodied and incredibly layered, with sweet tannin, it's a tour de force that’s going to have three to four decades of longevity. 97-100/100.’ Jeb Dunnuck – The Wine Advocate