1997 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle (France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage)

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France, Hermitage, Northern Rhône, Red Wine, Rhône, Syrah


After having had a lot of disappointing wine experiences recently, I decided to open something that I thought would surely excite me, and this bottle of La Chapelle delivered big-time. I followed this wine over the course of two nights. On day one, the wine showed very tight, massive and youthful. Almost a little Southern Rhone-ish with earth, herbs, and dark plum and blackberry fruit. It only lacked a little focus and generosity. On night two, though, this minor issue was corrected. Black olive aromas, meaty tones, and black currant had come to the mix overnight, and the fruit showed the focus I had hoped for all along. The more air the wine got, the more focused it became, yet at the same time, it kept unfurling and the fruit got broader and sweeter. This may not be a 1989 or 1990 La Chapelle, but it’s an amazing wine that I could never have enough of. If I would get to open another bottle anytime soon, I would decant for at least 5 hours, or even better, audouze it overnight in the cellar.

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I am not a professional wine taster, nor do I have any professional training in the wine trade. I am a wine enthusiast who has spent countless hours tasting wines of many different styles. My palate is not aligned with a single wine critic, and I call all wines "as I taste them". My site is a source of tasting notes and wine recommendations as well as warnings without conflict of interest. You'll just have to figure out how your palate aligns with mine. My palate generally tends to veer towards Old-World wines that put a premium on terroir and lovely balance and finesse, rather than raw power...please keep that in mind as you read my notes.

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