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Robert Parker - 97+ points 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.
Stephen Tanzer - 94/96 points
Glass-staining purple. Intense, assertively perfumed aromas of blueberry preserves, cherry, licorice and violet, with a strong incense quality. Impressively deep and spicy, offering floral-accented dark berry flavors that show superb clarity and a lively mineral quality. Tangy acidity adds lift and cut to an endless, sappy finish. This wine's blend of richness and energy is outstanding.
In the heart of the Rhône Valley, this small chapel has become one of the world’s great historic buildings
La Chapelle, the jewel of Maison Jaboulet, has a rich and emotive history.
During the 13th century, a knight called Gaspard de Sterimberg settled in the hills of Tain l’Hermitage with the permission of Blanche de Castille. On his return from the crusades, he sought calm and serenity and isolated himself as a hermit, hence the name of the Hermitage appellation. There he built a Chapel, overlooking the Rhône Valley.
La Chapelle endured the passage of time and finally became the property of Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné in 1919.
Hermitage “La Chapelle” is a blend of terroirs, including the prestigious hillsides of Méal and Bessards. Each one provides its own aromatic characteristics, as well as an elegant tannin structure, giving the wine great ageing potential.
Since the legendary 1961 vintage, which was classed as one of the Twelve mythical wines of the 20th century, Hermitage “la Chapelle” has become one of the world’s most sought-after wines.
Its fame has led Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné to revive a historical tradition by producing a few bottles of 2006 “la Chapelle” white wine.
The diversity of “terroirs” on these lands gives our wine an identity of its own, thanks to the blending of grapes from different plots.
The Syrah vines are planted in rich and varied soils with very diverse terroirs (les Bessards, les Greffieux, le Méal and les Rocoules).
It is the richness of these different terroirs that provides our Hermitage La Chapelle with its complexity.
Very old Syrah vines; goblet pruning on stakes.
Age of the vines:
40 to 60 years.
Grapes are brought down from the slopes of l’Hermitage on small sledges, after which they are sorted by hand and vinified traditionally in our wineries
Final blending is carried out during the ageing process and is done through judicious selection from the different terroirs of l’Hermitage.
La Chapelle is aged in wood in our ancient “VINEUM” cellar for 15 to 18 months. During this process the wines are also racked.
Low yields of 10 to 18 hl/ha.
More than the heat, the striking factor of vintage 2009 was the drought – only 131mm of rains fell between April and September. Fortunately, however, the autumn and winter of 2008/2009 was particularly rainy and cold, allowing the groundwater to retain good levels of fresh water. This vintage took place under exemplary conditions overall.