返回 In Review: Linden’s Report on Three Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’ Vertical Dinners, 1966-2016

於 2020年3月9日刊登

© Linden Wilkie, 9th March 2020

Beijing: 12th December, 2019
Shanghai: 26th October 2019
Hong Kong: 25th January, 2019

January, October and December 2019 saw the latest three rounds of Jaboulet Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’ vertical tasting dinners I hosted at The Fine Wine Experience, in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing.

Over the past 25 years or so these wines have become familiar friends, the 1983 and 1985 being the first serious Rhône wines I tasted back at the beginning of the 1990s when I was a student. I’ve formed certain views about ‘La Chapelle’ wines over those years, but, much like good friendships, you come to appreciate the idiosyncrasies as much as the most meritable qualities. Wines have personality too.

After this introduction, you will find my tasting notes for each wine, in each city tasted. That doesn’t mean that the ‘same’ wine opened in three different settings in three different cities on three different evenings with three different menus will give the same impression. One cork will do a better job than another, and all the other factors combined will deliver different impressions. I’m fine with that. So you will see those three impressions, uncombined, below.

But if I can say something about the personality of these wines here, it’s this: the 1966 is one of the greatest classics in the history of the label in my view. It’s an archetype, and the right bottle still delivers all that you could want today. We opened the last three bottles from a full original wooden case, and happily both were lovely. The Beijing bottle won the hearts of almost everyone at the table that night. Generally speaking the La Chapelles of the 1960s and 1970s are the best of all for drinking today – but they have become distinctly rare in the last decade or so. Still, if the provenance is good, they are worth paying up for.

1969 is also one of the great La Chapelles, but it is so rare I have only tasted it a few times over the years. It has never disappointed. In magnum I am not surprised that it came top in our Hong Kong dinner. Sadly, I’m also not surprised we couldn’t find another to share in Shanghai or Beijing.

The 1976 lacks balance, but has a rich attack. It was better in the 2000s, but is still interesting today, and better than most red Bordeaux of the vintage if this is your year.

1978 is authoritive, complete, a must-try. It’s the best between 1961 and 1990, and it is La Chapelle at its most visceral and wild. Full of fruit, glycerin and ripe tannin, the best bottles are still yet to come off their peak.

1979 is another personal favourite, it usually shows bright, elegant yet intense, very Hermitage, very varietally syrah. I’m glad it is not talked about more – I buy it when I see it, which is not often.

The 1982 is yet another personal favourite, but for quite different reasons. It’s not the richest or densest La Chapelle but it is one of the most fragrant and expressive. This is one for the full time Burgundy drinker who likes to dabble in the Rhône. If that is you, there is not a better choice than 1982.

1983 is perhaps the La Chapelle I have drunk most. Cases of it. It’s a funny one. If you read the old barrel tasting reviews for it from Parker and Wine Spectator, it was thrilling. The 1983 came from a hot summer vintage in which the skins thickened, and there was less juice. That meant power, richness, but also tannin. And in the case of this wine enough tannin to shut it down firmly. Reviews for it became more equivocal and finally negative. Its value in the market fell to ‘poor vintage’ level. It’s true that there is an imbalance here in the 1983 – it’s a bit chewy. But it is packed with fruit and character. Just don’t think it’s a wine for sitting around and sipping at the bar (unless you have a pizza). This is a classic food La Chapelle. It’s a steak or braised dishes wine. It’s a winter wine.

1985 has a very different personality. It’s so vibrantly fruity, and a bit of a Peter Pan. The 1985 tastes today almost as it did 25+ years ago. There is a slightly odd milky element here – like fruit with a little caramel cream, but if you don’t mind this idiosyncrasy it is one of the most friendly and amenable La Chapelles. In this regard it is in the same vein as 1985s from Bordeaux or Burgundy, but fresher than many of those cousins.

1988 used to be one of the wines to recommend for those who prefer the cooler expression, without unripeness, and a more savoury tone. But I think it has become a bit patchy more recently. I’ve had as many bottles past their best as I’ve had right at the end of their peak. Still, value is good, even if it is a little bit of a roll of the dice now.

1989 is perhaps the ripest La Chapelle of the classic Jaboulet family era. It has a noticeably thick texture, very ripe fruit, and a bit of a scorched tone. At its best it comes across U.S. muscle car V8 revving hard. It’s a fun wine, a party wine, yet still with some depth. I’ve had bottles of this that have really thrilled.

1990 can be truly spectacular, the best wine between 1978 and the most recent vintages. It can be interesting to taste side by side with the ’78, which is higher in acidity and gaminess. 1990 has some of that classic game and garrigue
La Chapelle tone, but its essential quality is its concentrated fruitiness, the seamless integration of tannins, and its layered feel, revealing nuances one at a time until your eyes light up. I think that at its peak the 1961 was better, and aromatically still can be today, but the 1990 is now in its element, at the early stage of its long peak. For that I think it is undervalued today – both for current drinking, and for longer term cellaring. If I can nitpick at all about the 1990, it is that occasionally the fruit profile has an element of prune. Perhaps a parcel or two came in a touch overripe, but overall the balance is there. It never feels flat.

1991 is the other side of the coin. If we think of the 1990 as the virtues of 1989 and 1991 combined, with no downside, and 1989 is the party wine, the 1991 is a more cerebral La Chapelle experience. This is all fragrance, garrigue, game, sweetness with fine acidity. Get the dish right (I’d go richer poultry dishes) and you have the right pick. Some bottles are now showing the weakness of age, but most are fine.

(Ideally, buy all three of these and serve them in 1991, 1989, 1990 order).

There are okay wines in the 1990s and early 2000s, but relative to other growers, and relative to the exalted reputation this label hard-earned in the 1950s-1980s, these wines can range from disappointing through to shameful. Sometimes there can be some ‘good day’ bottles. Personally I’d opt for magnums, or simply opt for older vintages from the 1980s or older, which are still good value.

The arrival of Caroline Frey in 2006 was seen as controversial then because the family were known at that time for their excellent wine at Château La Lagune in Bordeaux and there was some fear that this great Hermitage would become too ‘Bordelais’. But I think that Frey has won over many critics for her hard work, complete dedication, and her intelligent approach to improving every aspect of viticulture and winemaking for La Chapelle. The estate is now biodynamic. 2009 and 2010 show a clear step up in quality from the wines of the 1990s and 2000s. But when I taste 2015 and 2016 I see a full return to greatness for La Chapelle. Not just the quality, but the personality is there too. I see very refined wines with all the intensity and character we expect of this label. These two vintages are of course very young still, but both can be enjoyed today on their fruit, if you want to see the state of play. I really do recommend that you do if you haven’t attended one of the verticals we’ve organized over the past couple of years. Do this especially if you are a Rhône fan, because if Frey is able to maintain current form the market will begin to catch up with the fact that they are (once more) real “grand cru” wines.

Before I leave you with the tasting notes, it is worth reviewing a little what we are dealing with: a 100% syrah wine, grown on the best 131ha site in the world for that grape variety. Squeezed out of the fault between the Drôme and the Ardèche at the eastern bank of the Rhône, admiring this hill from across the water in Turnon-sur-Rhône it seems a coherent shape. You could imagine something homogenous. But once you are up in it, walking the hillside as it undulates, and changes aspect from southwest to southeast, it reveals its patchwork quilt of terroirs. Some, like Chapoutier, capture the individual characters of these lieux-dits in climat-specific bottlings. These are instructive

in presenting to the taster the hill’s best soloists. But to appreciate Hermitage writ large, you need to get to know Jaboulet’s ‘La Chapelle’, an amalgam of multiple lieux-dits, blended to represent Hermitage in full symphonic glory – ‘Bessards’ for its minerality, strength and structure, ‘Méal’ for its sumptuous creaminess and palate-filling fruit, the heart of the La Chapelle blend. ‘Roucoules’, ‘Les Greffieux’ and ‘Varogne’ complete the picture. You might be surprised to know that only 20% of the French oak barrels used to age it are new. This is not an oaky style wine.

Below you will see my tasting notes from these three evenings. Also, as usual, I asked all participants at the three dinners to vote for their two favourite wines of the night. The result of those polls is also recorded below.

2014 Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage Blanc ‘Chevalier de Sterimberg’ 

Focused fragrant and taut, but with some telltale glycerin in the mid-palate. Pear and quince taste with some modest complexity, a little herbal twist at the end. Acidity elevated – this is a modern, crisp-styled Hermitage Blanc.
88, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

2009 Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage Blanc ‘La Chapelle’, Magnum

Fairly rich but in a contained style. Great texture and depth, and there is a luxurious way in which the fine, understate oak dovetails into the fruit, with a little creamy/nutty note. Very modern and contained, the fullness is there but the
throttle held tight. Reminded me of Corton-Charlemagne, despite the difference in region and grape.
92, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

2016 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Fragrant, refined nose, ripe and fresh; fine, ripe and detailed on the palate, this is concentrated without feeling packed, this has transparency. An expressive and precise La Chapelle, very nice. Promising.
94, Beijing, 12th December 2019
No votes for wine of the night

A dull, fairly solid ruby-garnet; sweet and fragrant nose, fresh and floral-edged, with fine detail and precision; fleshy, sweet, lovely candied violets and boysenberry, bright, elegant, yet sumptuous, very fine and clean, precise, yet also fully “Hermitage” in its underlying strength. Overlays an aromatic seduction on the nose and palate like a Château Margaux or a Chambertin.
96, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Full, clear carmine; fragrant, this has a salty-edged brightness to the fruit, piquant and sweet; fine, sweet fruit, lovely freshness, mineral, detail, some florals, bright but ripe and confident, fragrant and long. This is really very promising, especially if you value aromatic complexity – this will evolve, I think, into a really appealing, mid+ weight La Chapelle emphasizing clear fresh fruit character rather than absolute depth and power. A modern day ’66?
95, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

2015 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Ripe dark fruit, some tapenade and smoke on the nose; lush, sweet, fleshy yet well balanced, good acidity, great depth. Superb quality, that needs time in the cellar now.
96, Beijing, 12th December 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Full, quite dense – opaque with a crimson rim; ripe, wild and brooding on the nose, good freshness, dark in expression with notes of tar and wild berry fruit – an intense nose; concentrated and fleshy on the palate, layers on concentrated dark fruit, iron, a hint of blood. This is finely made, supple in that youthful way, and underneath there is potent tannin and extract. A Hermitage for the ages, yet well-poised and there are layers here.
98+, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Three votes for wine of the night. 2nd equal place.

Deep-coloured crimson, denser than the ’16 ; a wild and exuberant melange of ripe to exotic-edged fruit, skirting the limit while remaining fresh and clear; so precise on the palate yet so full, this explodes. This is completely grown up red Hermitage that combines precision and care with plenty of character – a landmark for modern-day La Chapelle for sure. It verges on heavy, but stays the right side of the line, like on the nose, it’s rich, but the thickness is not gratuitous or blocking the flow of the wine or expression of the fruit and terroir at all. Patience will be required – this is a La Chapelle for laying down, but with full confidence in my view.
97, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
Three votes for wine of the night.

2010 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Deep, full ruby-crimson; a little closed on the nose now, clean, a touch of vanilla; fleshy, full, a touch of violets, a touch more ‘clarety’ in this flight (’16, ’15, ’10, ’09). Precise, thick, some refinement. Very good quality, but hard to read right now, its personality is so subdued.
93?, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

2009 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Sweet, slightly singed fruit on the nose, plummy and ripe; sweet and bold in style on the palate, lush, with unctuous fruit, some dried dark fruit – Xmas cake notes. This comes across concentrated, slow and oozing in fruit.
93, Beijing, 12th December 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Full ruby; sweet nose, candied fruit, open yet still primary in aroma; delicious, thick, fleshy, ripe fruit, plenty of oak here – in style and in texture, very round, this is a fleshy, corpulent La Chapelle. Delicious, but the 2015 and 2016 reach another level.
94, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Still very deep in colour; this is a little more open and playful than the ’10, sweet fruit, more in the mould of the ’90; ripe, fleshy on the palate, this really makes you spin, hard to pin down. It is just beginning to show its depth, it is so primary
and deliciously so. Will be a La Chapelle of broad appeal.
94, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

1997 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Magnum, Ex-Domaine

Mature garnet, bricked through with an orange tone to the rim; sweet nose, a touch of raisin, a bit superficial, some garrigue and spice, but not the freshness or depth that should be there at a mere 21 years of age in magnum; fleshy,
soft, palate-coating, there is an appealing cool, spearmint-like note on the palate (appears on the nose too). This is a
pleasing La Chapelle, absolutely fully ready and evolved, declining, but offering pleasure as it goes. It should have been better – and it pales against the brilliant J-L Chave equivalent from ’97. (Others like this more than me).
88, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
One vote for wine of the night.

1991 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Not quite as fresh in profile as the Shanghai bottle, but sweet and open, with tapenade and garrigue notes in the aroma; mid-weight on the palate, a touch of tar, there’s glycerin, and a salty edge to the finish. A good sweet-savoury
balance. But this bottle lacks a bit, a touch stripped. In the ’91-’90-’89 flight this ’91 showed more Hermitage’s game and tapenade savoury character.
91, Beijing, 12th December 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Fine bright garnet with a bricked edge; fragrant and open, fine fruit, sous bois, and lots of meaty gamey notes on the nose, wild venison and grouse; sweet attack on the palate, lovely acidity, sous bois notes, as well as fennel, garrigue, cracked pepper, sumptuous texture, this is a very complete more ‘Burgundian’ La Chapelle, not the full symphonic power Hermitage is capable of, but lacking nothing else in Hermitage expression. À point today, lovely.
95, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
One vote for wine of the night.

1990 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Sweet smoky nose, with a touch of pure chocolate, savoury Kalamata olive notes, a wild and sweet nose; intense and fleshy on the palate, this also has more tannin, more grip through the palate, and it is a touch dry at the finish in fact. It’s a minor notch in an otherwise impressive bottle – but not quite as great as the one enjoyed in Shanghai. Nonetheless,
even this bottle is the most complete wine in this ’91-’90-’89 flight. With further time in the glass, it became more fragrant and confident. This is so layered and long. Not far off the full archetype great La Chapelle this is capable of being.
98, Beijing, 12th December 2019
Four votes for wine of the night. 2nd equal place

A full colour still, with ageing evident just at the edge of the rim; gorgeous nose, sweet, ripe, decadent, very fragrant and open tonight, lots of fruit expression, but also garrigue, this is mouthwateringly aromatic; concentrated, fine, sweet,
fresh, meaty, crystalline in its expression, floral and spicy, this is layered and fine. An exceptional bottle of the 1990 La
Chapelle – just spectacular, this delivers all the promise of the hype this evening.
100, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Seven votes for wine of the night. 1st place.

Bright, clear, still so ruby with garnet peeping out just at the edge of the rim – the depth at 28 years is promised at first 96 glance; sweet, bold, black fruit, oozing black fruit, liqueur and simply the very essence of Hermitage, a hint of black
cherry, wild herbs and olives fill out the symphonic spectrum here – a wow! nose; fleshy on the attack, sumptuous and
almost creamy, this has lovely fruit, some grip. It’s hard to nitpick really.
96, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

1989 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné​

A sweet nose, biscuit, mature, a touch caramelized in tone in the fruit; sweet and bold on the palate, some grip. This opened up in the glass to become sumptuously sweet, generous, less complex than ’91 or ’90, but sweet and delicious.
94 Beijing, 12th December 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Full clear ruby; sweet opulent nose with an exotic spicy edge, a touch of iron and tar, but also lively and fragrant; thicker-textured, concentrated, very wild in expression, with gushing sweet boysenberry, an incredibly fruit-laden expression, so much effortless flowing concentration.
96, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Two votes for wine of the night.

This is more than a « year » apart in appearance after the ’90 – still a thick appearance, but more garnet in tone; sweet on the nose, with a more candied expression to the fruit, a chocolate-orange candy note, some malt, some spice – a bold nose, at once appealing in its richness, but also teetering on being over the top - sur-maturité; bold, fleshy, up front in its approach, some grip, this has a super fleshiness, with sufficient acidity and tannin, though it is not as well balanced as many of the others – exuberant but wobbly.
92, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

1988 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Ex-Domaine

Mature nose, sweet, but with a little oxidation creeping in; better on the palate, lovely fruit, sweet and savoury, some mushroom/oxidation creeping in on the finish. A little dried tomato and tapenade coolness, good extract and natural concentration, without power as such. Satisfying even if this bottle is below the best this has shown.
89, Beijing, 12th December 2019
Two votes for wine of the night.

Fine garnet with a broad, mature rim; an open savoury fragrance, lots of sous bois, game and the sweetness of age, just a touch of rust and decay; fine, elegant taste and weight, fragrant and mature, savoury in expression, supple with fine resolved tannins and a long finish. A distinctly cool expression. Drinking beautifully tonight.
94, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Bright fresh garnet; a lively nose, meaty-sweet, almost cha siu honey-roasted pork-like, sweet, savoury, umami; fine on the palate, mid-weight, very straight, notes of tapenade, bright, perky, upright, there is a touch of dryness at the finish. Past its best, and not for casual drinking, this cries out for the right meat (preferably game bird) dish.
91, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

1985 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Lovely nose, sesame, tamarillo fruit, plum, smoke, camphor, and the sweetness of decay, a touch of milk chcocolate – lovely, a very together sort of nose; pristine on the palate, lovely, luminous fruit, sweet taste but lighter-bodied, a hint of something lactic. Still fruity, with resolved tannins. Lovely.
92, Beijing, 12th December 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

Fine ruby; sweet open nose, peppery/leafy tone coming through, this is really fragrant; bright and fruity on the palate, with a touch of lactic-milk toffee-like flavor, malted milk perhaps – distinct in this wine and probably not to everyone’s
taste. But lovely fruit, garrigue, acidity, succulence and soft tannin. Juicy, creamy and lovely.
93, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Three votes for wine of the night. 2nd equal place.

1983 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

A rich wild nose, ripe, leathery, spicy; denser on the palate, lots of extract, sweet tannin, a hint of dryness. I love this – it is not in perfect balance, it is slightly pruney and tannic, but it is wild, and so packed with flavor and character.
93, Beijing, 12th December 2019
Three votes for wine of the night.

Fine, full ruddy garnet; ripe and spicy on the nose, exuberant, leathery, gamey, a super wild nose, very bloody Hermitage; thick, glycerin-driven, concentrated, spicy and exotic, resolved but present tannin, there is enough extract and glycerin to keep it flowing.
94, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Two votes for wine of the night

Bright in appearance with a lighter depth than the ’89 and ’90 in this flight; spicy with lots of garrigue – this ’83 has a great, lifted, aromatic nose; bright, intense and focused, tight initially with its heavy cloak of tannin, with plenty of time it softened enough to reveal the depth of fruit on offer, the texture turning more to glycerin, though the acidity also offers good balance. Appealing, characterful La Chapelle, on its long plateau.
92, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
Two votes for wine of the night

1982 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

A super great nose – wow! It’s so aromatic. You can stop at the nose and be in heaven – sweet, floral, with notes of tea and spice (I’d love to know how much, if any, whole bunch fruit went into this); sweet, elegant, seamless, no tannin left,
this reminds me more of an ‘80s Clos St Denis from Domaine Dujac than it does other vintages of La Chapelle, in that
panoply of super aromatics on both the nose and palate. Just a touch unclean, ultimately, this wine, a hint of brett, but it stays the right side of the line. Great wine.
94, Beijing, 12th December 2019
Four votes for wine of the night. 2nd equal place.

Fine, mature garnet; high-toned roasted nose, really sweet, almost peach or apricot-like, mixed with dark fruits, game, garrigue – this is sweet and very fragrant on the nose; fleshy, really silky, with sweet fruit, lower acid – though it’s there, quite a particular taste, and a really fragrant finish. Delicious.
95, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Three votes for wine of the night. 2nd equal place.

Full garnet, this has an open, soaring, spicy nose, garrigue notes, wild red fruit with a touch of black, touch of black pepper (one guest noted ‘Chinese medicine notes’, which seemed a good description), the overall impression is
gourmand and inviting; fleshy on the palate, moderate+ weight but there is some glycerin here buffering the palate
through the now resolved melting tannins. Spicy and juicy, this is a very appealing La Chapelle – one of the most seductive.

94, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

1979 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Bright bricked colour with a faded tone; fine nose, really quite honeyed and sweet; full palate-coating fruit and extract, gently melting, with a crystaline core and melted edges, this really lures you in. A touch of spearmint emerged after another hour – quite specifically spearmint(!) This is such a lovely La Chapelle, bright and lively but also with good creaminess and fullness – unmistakably Hermitage, and so typical of the year-on-year greatness of Jaboulet in this period.
94, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
Three votes for wine of the night.

1978 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Very fine garnet, still holding colour well; wild dark brooding nose, umami in spades – the sweetness of age, and wild savoury garrigue and game notes – this is authoritive and immensely appetising to smell; concentrated and fleshy,
intense and very layered, this is mind-bogglingly good – the finesse of the ’66, the seduction of the ’82, the wildness
of the ’69. It’s all good, full-spectrum La Chapelle. It also took time in the glass to really open up, the glycerin and fruit extract fully covering the still resolving tannin at the end. No end in sight for this ’78.
97, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
Five votes for wine of the night – 2nd place.

1976 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Sweet and biscuit on the nose, caramelized fruit – a sweet nose; solid, concentrated, wild, a bit mono-dimensional after the fireworks of the ’82, also thicker, more the potency of Hermitage. Tannic. You need time with this in the glass. Less dimension but solid and direct in style, some heat and some dryness on the finish, which is a touch short, but spicy and interesting.
90, Beijing, 12th December 2019
One vote for wine of the night.

Fully bricked; sweet, spicy biscuit nose – orange cookies (“Jaffa Thins” for those who know the Australasian classic); sweet, scorched taste, up front on the palate, good intensity, but a bit dried-fruit in taste and lacking real fleshiness, and not as long as some. Delicious, spicy and exotic ‘warming’ style. (Andy Tan thought this had a touch of dried roses – I can see that).
91, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
No votes for wine of the night.

1969 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Magnum

Full garnet; a wild earthy spicy nose, exuberant, bold, and expanding as the night wore on, never tiring; fleshy, sweet, some tannin here still, this is full-throated, wild, rich and grand La Chapelle, a real feel of the granite and authority of Hermitage. Still to begin leaving its maturity plateau, this is a La Chapelle for the ages.
95, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
Eleven votes for wine of the night – 1st place.

1966 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné, late-release ex-domaine case

Fine colour still; fragrant, spicy, cedary, blood, game, camphor – this has a terrific nose; sweet, elegant, yet more concentrated than the ’82, more fine tannin, this is well balanced, expressive, fragrant and long. There is an easy, natural density to this. Wild strawberry coming through on the nose, and more blackberry and licorice on the palate. The last bottle from a full original wooden case we had, and I’m so happy it is showing so well.
96, Beijing, 12th December 2019
Eleven votes for wine of the night – 1st place.

Fine, fully bricked garnet; fragrant, high-toned nose, freshness in the expression, a larger ’88 perhaps in style; good concentration, sweet and bright, fresh and long with a touch of dark chocolate, and old school taste, resolved but
present tannins, like an old Médoc of similar age in structure – but very syrah in taste. This is a real treasure. Beginning to
dry out a bit on the finish. A little bit of austerity, but an eminently classic and expressive La Chapelle.
93, Shanghai, 26th October 2019
Three votes for wine of the night. 2nd equal place.

Fine garnet; a good wild nose, fragrant and gamey; sweet, lush, lovely attack, pulls in a little with some fine grip toward the finish. This has a more linear, elongated expression (seemingly in parallel with claret and red Burgundy of the year). A more elegant and charming old La Chapelle, beginning its gentle decline, it holds a lot of appeal still.
93, Hong Kong, 25th January 2019
Four votes for wine of the night – 3rd place