- WinemakerCaroline Frey
- Farming MethodBiodynamic Practices
- Oak20% new oak
Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Maison Bleue 2020
Hailing from one of the wine world’s most historic appellations, this wine is a fantastic entry into the magic that is Hermitage Hill. The power, the depth, the minerality – the very throne of syrah itself – all for under $60! 95 points is the cherry on top, as this is one of the world’s greatest quality-for-value syrahs anywhere!
Paul Jaboulet is an estate that needs no introduction – one of the very best Northern Rhone estates of all time, known for crafting elegant, age-worthy wines that are among the greatest in the world. Their iconic “La Chappelle” is rightfully considered one of the most famous wines in history, and hails from neighboring plots on this very same hill. “La Maison Bleue” clocks in at about 80% less than the going rate for that flagship, but with the same attention to care, the same organic and biodynamic focus, and many of the same revered Hermitage characteristics. This is an under-the-radar steal from such a noteworthy house and a gem for any Rhone collector.
The fruit for this exceptionally valued and pedigreed Hermitage comes from the eastern edge of Hermitage Hill, as the landscape slopes down and away from the mighty Rhone River. The lieux-dits of Les Murets, La Croix, and Doignières make up the majority of this wine – three parcels that had traditionally been planted mostly to marsanne, but slowly migrating year by year over the past few decades to syrah – in response both to demand and climate change. Mostly granitic soils, intermixed with alluvial deposits are the shared earth here, with an exposure that receives plenty of sunshine, and that all-important cooling breeze from its proximity to the Rhone River.
With under 2,000 cases made in 2020, this is a relatively small production in the portfolio, and not as widely known as some of the winery’s other offerings. With critical praise like this, that may all soon change, however, and we’re just ecstatic to have secured a parcel early on this. The wine is concentrated and angular here in its youth, with a delicate beauty that is revealed with air and time. Eventual aromatics of violets, lilacs, smoky herbs, and sweet earth waft from the glass, with a flavor profile that goes brooding and dark–redolent with crushed blackberry, black raspberry, plum, and blueberry. Accompanying accents of bacon fat, espresso, tobacco, and licorice lend the wine extraordinary depth, and the mineral, saline edge carries into an impressive finish. This is a wine just starting to shine, and only to improve over the next five to fifteen years. Again, for the price, this is simply a remarkable effort, not to be ignored, and surely not to be missed! We got as much as we could, but when it comes to Jaboulet – you can never have enough!