- Region: Rhone
- Producer: Jaboulet-Aine
- Vintage: 2005
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Based on barrel samples, I had high hopes for the 2005 Hermitage La Chapelle, but it lacks a mid-palate and possesses hard tannins. However, there are some interesting creme de cassis, licorice, and earthy notes. But the wine’s hardness and leanness may prove troublesome after another 5-6 years of bottle age. Readers have to recognize that everything is in a state of transition at Paul Jaboulet-Aine. The Jaboulets sold this old family firm, founded in the early eighteen hundreds, to the Frey family, major investors in the Billecart-Salmon Champagne house and proprietors of Chateau La Lagune in the Medoc. A new winemaking team, which includes the brilliant Bordeaux Professor Denis Dubourdieu for the white wines, has been installed. As these tasting notes demonstrates, they seem to be moving quickly to erase some of the lackluster wines produced from the mid-1990s through 2004. However, much still needs improvement. I suspect, given the Frey’s resources as well as their accomplishments at Chateau La Lagune, this historic firm is in good hands, and the listless quality of these releases will be forgotten very quickly. The red wine portfolio includes some disappointing cuvees, especially the 2005s, which seem to have narrowed out and become harder, leaner, and more austere. The first vintage for which the Frey family had some degree of control, 2006, is a mixed year, but generally the wines are good.