One of the Rhône’s Finest Estates
Revered as one of the finest estates in the Northern Rhône since 1834, Paul Jaboulet Aîné produced a historic wine, 1961 Hermitage La Chapelle, that Robert Parker called “unquestionably one of the greatest wines made in the twentieth century.” This past April, 12 bottles of the ‘61 sold for an eye-popping $158,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong. “There’s no denying the high quality coming from this estate today." That’s what Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate said about the legendary Paul Jaboulet Aîné estate. In the very best hands, the 2013 vintage in the Southern Rhône gave birth to some of the purest, most accessible Grenache-based blends in many years. Wine Spectator praised the 2013s — as “fresh, pure and floral-edged.” Of course, the wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné are in no ordinary hands. In 2013, the Denis Dubourdieu-trained winemaker Caroline Frey made a superb Gigondas, showing the best characteristics of the vintage and all the pedigree we’ve come to expect from Jaboulet — but without the backbreaking price tag of Hermitage La Chapelle. But this 2013 Paul Jaboulet Gigondas “Pierre Aiguille” is a cool $29.99 while 80 cases last.
Ten years ago, the Frey family purchased the blue-chip winery and committed tremendous effort and resources to improve upon the already legendary estate. First they set about converting the vineyards to biodynamic principles and encouraging sustainable practices from every family grower with which they work. With each successive vintage, the purifying effects of these natural agricultural improvements can be felt and tasted. This is one of France’s finest estates, the crown jewel of the Rhône Valley.
The 2013 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Gigondas “Pierre Aiguille” is named after the mountain sheltering its east-facing terraces from winds swirling around the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range — ancient, crumbling formations sprouting up from the valley floor like stalagmites. Here, limestone-rich soils and the cooling influence of the rock formations yield finessed, nuanced Grenache blends. And while the Hermitage La Chapelle is Jaboulet’s most highly regarded (and expensive) wines, this Gigondas represents their most interesting and affordable new frontier.