1990 Hermitage La Chapelle, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné
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The 1990 La Chapelle is the sexy and opulent. I had the 1990 at the Jaboulet tasting, and again out of a double magnum three months ago. On both occasions it was spectacular, clearly meriting a three-digit score. The modern day equivalent of the 1961, it deserves all the attention it has garnered. The color remains an opaque purple, with only a slight pink at the edge. Spectacular aromatics offer up aromas of incense, smoke, blackberry fruit, cassis, barbecue spice, coffee, and a touch of chocolate. As it sits in the glass, additional nuances of pepper and grilled steak emerge. There is extraordinary freshness for such a mammoth wine in addition to abundant tannin, an amazing 60-second finish, and a level of glycerin and thick, fleshy texture that have to be tasted to be believed. Despite its youthfulness, the 1990 La Chapelle is lovely to drink, although it will be even better with another 5-6 years of cellaring; it should age for 35-40+ years. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2050
The 1990 Hermitage La Chapelle lived up to its reputation on this occasion, and of the three titans (1990, 1978 and 1961), it was probably my favorite. Still inky colored and ruby at the rim, it offers an absolutely profound bouquet of sweet cassis, smoked meats, chocolate, licorice and spice. This is followed by a full-bodied, insanely textured, pure and hedonistic palate that has that perfect mix of still-vibrant fruit and ample secondary nuances. I suspect the '61 was even richer at this stage, but the overall purity and freshness here are incredible. It will continue to evolve for decades, but I'd happily open bottles today
Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné
Situated in the Rhône Valley, Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné has become one of the most celebrated producers of the region after the legendary 1961 vintage of Hermitage "la Chapelle".
Founded in 1834, Jaboulet is now under the leadership of Caroline Frey producing wine from 26 different appellations in the Rhône Valley.
The steep slopes and sweltering plateaus of the Rhône Valley almost seem as though they would create conditions so harsh that it would be impossible to grow vines. However, it is believed that vines were first introduced to the region around 600 BC and they have flourished there ever since. The wines produced from these unforgiving vineyards are often amongst the best in France, with some, even comparable to the greatest wines of Bordeaux. The styles may differ throughout the region, but the Rhône's concentrated, spicy, fruit-driven wines are usually of high quality and provide great value.
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