There are few wines that evoke as many superlatives from the critics as the 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle. Take Robert Parker for example, who notes, “the 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle is easily the greatest, most profound La Chapelle since the 1990”, a case of which will set you back £4000 today. James Suckling is equally effusive stating, “I am speechless. This will be wonderful for ever.”
Founded in 1834 by Antoine Jaboulet, and with important holdings in both Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage, Jaboulet formed a network of hundreds of Rhône Valley growers from whom they purchased fruit. Under the legendary Louis Jaboulet, who ran the estate from 1935 until handing over to his son Gérard in 1977, Jaboulet began bottling more of their own wines, giving birth to great branded cuvées that Louis crafted through his relationships with some of the Rhône’s finest domaines.
In 2006 the estate was purchased by Jean-Jacques Frey, owner of Chateau La Lagune and a shareholder in Champagne Billecart-Salmon. More importantly he is father to Caroline Frey, who was turning heads for her exceptional work at La Lagune, restoring its reputation and producing excellent wines within just a couple of years of taking the reigns. A feat she went on to repeat at Jaboulet.t
The most iconic of Jaboulet’s wines, La Chapelle encapsulates all that is good from the Rhône Valley and cemented Jaboulet’s reputation as one of the region’s top producers. Named after a small stone chapel that sits among the vines, La Chapelle is created from the fruit grown in two of Hermitage’s greatest climats, Le Méal and Les Bessards. Caroline is a a fully qualified enologist and has instituted a strict selection process for their flagship wine. Production used to be 8,000-10,000 cases, but for the 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle, only 2,000 cases were produced during what is now regarded as an exceptional vintage for the Northern Rhone.
Jeb Dunnuck describes “a magical wine” which “flirts with perfection”, 98 points. James Suckling also awards 98 points likening this bottling to the “incredible 1959”.
These cases are ex-chateau and come with perfect provenance having been stored in Jaboulet’s cellars since filling. With 13 years aging under their belt, these wines are ready to drink with at least 50 years longevity ahead of them.
The 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle is due in this Summer, so do let me know if you would like to order and I can confirm, subject to remaining unsold.
Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle 2009 6x75cl
98 Points | James Suckling
Lots of ripe fruit in this, with plum and blackberry character. Very floral and fresh with citrus undertones, dried meats and smoke. Full body with an incredible texture of ultra-fine tannins, and length and beauty. This is like the unrated, incredible 1959. Incredible harmony and beauty. I am speechless. Drink or hold. This will be wonderful for ever.
98 Points | Jeb Dunnuck
In the same ballpark as the 2010, yet in a dramatically different style, the 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle is pure sex in a glass, and its ruby/purple color is followed by mammoth-sized notes of crème de cassis, black raspberries, cured meats, toasted spices, and dried flowers. Opulent, full-bodied, deep, and layered, it flirts with perfection and is a magical wine to enjoy over the coming 40-50 years or more.
97+ Points | Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
As I wrote last year, the 2009 Hermitage La Chapelle is easily the greatest, most profound La Chapelle since the 1990. Most of this cuvee comes from Le Meal and Les Bessards vineyards, with a touch of Les Roucoules fruit in the blend. It is an opaque purple-colored wine with enormous concentration in addition to an extraordinary bouquet of graphite, creme de cassis, blackberries, licorice, beef blood and a touch of smoked game. Boasting phenomenal intensity, a full-bodied mouthfeel and 50 years of longevity, the only thing that could possibly hold it back is that most consumers should plan on laying it away for 8-10 years. One needs no further evidence of the extraordinary turn around in the quality of the Jaboulet wines than what proprietress Caroline Frey has accomplished in 2009 as well as 2010. As I indicated last year, this is one of the great qualitative turn arounds in the wine world. It is welcomed by all wine lovers given the historic legacy of the wines of Jaboulet and the importance of this famous firm in all of France. Ms. Frey, who is also responsible for the brilliant wines produced at La Lagune in Bordeaux, has reduced the amount of new oak for the red wines to about 20% and to negligible proportions for the whites. A second wine of Hermitage, La Petite Chapelle, is fashioned from 33% or more of the production that is culled out to guarantee that the great reputation of the Hermitage La Chapelle has enjoyed over the last century is maintained.
We also have a number of other vintages of Hermitage La Chapelle available:
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