Singing Syrah: Jaboulet Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas

If you venture to the French aisle of any wine store you will likely see a wine by Paul Jaboulet. Their entry level rouge, Parallèl 45, is nearly ubiquitous.

paul jaboulet parallel 45And a nice little Côtes du Rhône it was. I say “was”, because after 200 years, in 2006, the family broke apart, and Paul Jaboulet sold the winery to finance company Frey (based in Bordeaux’s Chateau La Lagune who also own half of lovely Champagne Billecart-Salmon). No Jaboulets work there anymore.

However, Philippe Jaboulet had directed PJ for thirty years and was not ready to quit. He and his son Vincent kept about 32 acres of the family’s vineyards and bought 37 more. They farm organically and are HEV certified (fancy sustainable).  P&V Jaboulet is located in the northern Rhône Valley, just south of Tain l’Hermitage.

Rhone WineThis is Syrah and Marsanne country. So let us dive in:

P&V Jaboulet, Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2013: 100% Marsanne 30 year old vines on alluvial, pebbly soil covering 1.2 hectares.

The APPEARANCE looks a bright, clear, medium gold and quite leggy. AROMAS seduce with jasmine, turkish delight, and oodles of golden pear and honey.  The PALATE feels just bright enough, but round, plump, and viscous.  FLAVORS keep to pleasant gold pear, honey, with a little lemon and saline lift that last a medium plus length.

P&V’s 2013 Blanc is very good (4 of 5) but should be drunk soon. Imagine a salad Nicoise or grilled chicken.

Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Wine

P&V Jaboulet, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2013 Syrah, 32 acres of new and long-standing family property. It lives a year 20% in old barrels, stainless and concrete.

The APPEARANCE looks a bright, clear medium ruby red color. AROMAS smell moderately of ripe red cherry, fennel, and herbs de provence. The PALATE feels even, balanced with good acid, some tannin, a medium body, and soft texture. FLAVORS taste of mellow but ripe cherry, with dried herbs, and mocha powder that last a medium length.

The PV CH Rouge is well made, clean, synced, but somehow simple, so good (3 of 5).

P&V Nouvelère, Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2010 comes from the family’s famed Thalabert vineyard. P&V renamed it Nouvelère to honor this ‘new era’. These Syrah vines go back 80 years: Jaboulet’s oldest. It lives two years in a mix of small and medium barrels.

The APPEARANCE has a deeper ruby core with brick tinting its clear rim. Prouder AROMAS claw out of the glass with darker berries, black raspberry, framed by tobacco and herb. The PALATE is dry, with medium acidity, round but woody tannins, warmer alcohol, and a medium body. FLAVORS taste of mixed berries, fruit leather, dusky minerals, and tobacco that linger quite a while.

P&V Nouvelère is complex, holding, but not overdone or overwhelming: very good (4 of 5). Drink now through 2020.

Lastly but hardly least…ly: 2010 Cornas: a small 1.7 acres bowl-shaped arena of granite, sun-bleached and first-picked, facing south east. It ferments in vats and ages two years in 228-liter oak barrel (50% new oak).

The APPEARANCE has a deep iron garnet core ringed by a clear copper with wide legs. AROMAS and FLAVORS stick to your palate like glue: blackberry jam, fresh blueberry, and black cherry, red cedar smoke, dried mint, and anise. The PALATE feels supple and fruity but bright enough yet wooded with a textured, with dry, long finish.

P&V’s Cornas has all the stuffing to go the distance another decade. It is outstanding now (5 of 5) and a decanting alongside wild game will set up any evening.

It makes me glad to see Philippe and Vincent Jaboulet have carried their family name and properties to new heights. The style is clean, modern, fruit-driven, but not cheapened by over-extraction or oaking.  Definitely, search them out!




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