Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2017
A legendary cru... Over centuries, this mythical cru has built its reputation on a single hill, and an epic history. In the beginning, the hill was home to a hermitage founded by Henri Gaspard de Sterimberg in 1224. This knight, returning from the Albigensian Crusade, and weary of bloodshed, asked permission to Blanche of Castille to take refuge from the world on the summit of this granite hill. Soon joined by others, the community began to plant vines... A charming tale, but one that overlooks the fact that the hermitage owes only its name to the hermit: the vineyard has existed since ancient times with the famous wines of Vienne.
Robert Parker 98 Points "The 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle comes from the firm's vineyards on the western half of the Hermitage slope, primarily Le Méal, but with substantial contributions from Les Rocoules and Les Bessards. Classic notes of cassis, black olives, mocha and roasted meat are joined by hints of baking spices in a wine that's full-bodied, deep, dense and rich, with a velvety texture and a lingering finish. It's lower in alcohol than the 2018, less voluptuous and maybe just a step behind that monumental wine, but it's still a serious collectible with three decades of evolution ahead of it."
Reminding me of the 2009 La Chapelle (which is a personal favorite), the brilliant 2017 Hermitage La Chapelle knocks it out of the park with its massive, opulent personality. Notes of smoked black fruits, scorched earth, burning embers, and graphite as well as subtle background meatiness flow to a monster of a Hermitage that has full-bodied richness, incredible depth of fruit, and an overwhelming, sexy style that’s already impossible to resist. Do your best to hide bottles for 4-5 years, but it’s going to evolve for 40 years or more. There are roughly 2,000 cases of this elixir, and every Syrah lover out there should have a bottle (or more) in their cellar.
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.