Caroline presents the domain and the philosophy well; they cultivate the vines carefully and minimize winemaking intervention. The aim is balance, purity and respect for the terroir. Sounds familiar?
As always, the proof is in the glass. The entry-level Parallele 45 wines are fine CdR's with good fruit and acidity. Well balanced and food-friendly. The White 2012 Hermitage Blanc "Chevalier Sterimberg" show great promise for all who like the whites from northern Rhône.
The southern Rhône Chateauneuf and Gigondas wines are OK, but not really my cup of tea. They are also from years when the Frey family recently took over the domain - and maybe therefore not fully representative.
Then there are the really interesting wines, first Domaine Thalabert. A fairly large vineyard in Crozes, about 40-45 ha producing around 7000 cases yearly. I got the opportunity to taste:
- 1991 - Amazingly good 24 year old wine from such a humble appelation. Perfectly mature fruit, herbs and a joy to drink!
- 2003 is almost as good, from a warm year the fruit is more forward but the acidity and structure is there. Drink now!
- 2006 is on its way, with finely balanced red fruits.
- 2012 has an even more elegant fruit concentration, but shows a somewhat tightly knit structure and needs air. I also had this wine one week ago, and it was slightly better then. Young wine that needs air and time. At around 22-23 EUR (in Sweden) - great wine!
Jaboulets flagship wine is of course the La Chapelle Hermitage. Usually blended from Les Bessards, Les Greffieux and Le Meal plots on the Hermitage hill. The 1961 is nothing short of legendary (if you happen to have a bottle, call me when you open it!). We tasted the young 2012 and the potential shines bright and clear. I also managed to taste three different bottles of the 1988. One was absolutely stunning, one was very good and the third somewhat cork tainted. It was easy to tell the greatness in La Chapelle. In general, the 2012s are very promising, but I am also looking forward to future vintages from the Frey family now at the helm of Domaine Paul Jaboulet.