A Bevy Of Imported Beauties

It’s a big month for imported wines, with a tasting of 80 mid to lower priced Bordeaux reds uploaded, plus the current Paul Jaboulet Ainé portfolio, including a gorgeous La Chapelle Hermitage 2007 (tasting) that sees this famous wine back on track, although the price is now north of $400.

There’s also a bevy of lovely 2012 rieslings from one of my favourite German producers, J.J. Prum (tastings). And the current Henriot Champagne range (tastings), capped by the stunning non-vintage blanc de blancs (tasting).

But back to the Jaboulets. After the untimely death of the widely respected Gérard Jaboulet the train deviated off the tracks, but since the Jaboulet family sold the large and highly esteemed Northern Rhône based house, quality has been back on the up. Paul Jaboulet Ainé now shares ownership with Bordeaux Chateau La Lagune (tastings). 

Apart from cleaning the wine up, the strategy with La Chapelle is to be more selective and bottle much less wine; hence a second Hermitage label, La Petite Chapelle (tasting), has been created. It’s a very good wine but it’s not cheap either, at $180 for the 2007. The aptly named Jean-Luc Chapel is the amiable Jaboulet salesman who visited Sydney recently to do the rounds of the trade with his importer Andrew Cameron of Déjà-Vu.

As for La Chapelle itself, it’s a great wine, with wonderful elegance, balance and subtlety, yet also the most astonishing palate length. It you’re expecting a blockbuster, think again: this wine is all about finesse. Domaine de Thalabert (tasting) was always a superior Crozes-Hermitage, all estate-grown, and while the price is almost nudging $100, the ’09 is a superbly heady, powerful syrah. Finally, the Parallèle 45 Cotes-du-Rhone red ($24) (tasting) is still the excellent value everyday red that it used to be. 

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