Preamble Tasting January 1998
A Special Tasting in Memory of Gerard Jaboulet
Mark Wilkinson and Mark Downes
Gerard Jaboulet was an honourary life member of the Preamble Club. He died last year at the ealy age of 54. This presentation celebrated the life of a great winemaker and some of his great wines. The tasting was interspersed with stories about the man and his exploits, especially concerning his various trips to Ireland. Guinness, hunting and long-dead rabbits marinated in vast quantities of wine and then reduced to a syrup stick in my mind.
1. Crozes Hermitage Mule Blanche, 1995
Deep green yellow. Dry floral nose. Soft, rounded, fruity. Marsanne 50% Rousanne 50% mix, from a flat sandy place between the hill of Hermitage and the Rhone. Great food wine. Probably lots of alcohol in it.
2. Hermitage Chevalier de Sterimberg, 1994
Deep, oily look to it. Sherry nose, with dry biscuit tones. (TP Whelehan reckoned it quite dumb.) Quite dry initially, it leaves a slightly sweet aftertaste. A good zing too. Probably way too young but lots to say for itself. 45% Rousanne/55% Marsanne. 13.5% alcohol.
3. Cotes du Rhone, Parallele '45, 1995
Yep, it's on the 45th parallel! Cherry red with a light rim, it has a warm nose, is fruity and very nice. TP commented on the Syrah showing through, and felt it would be OK in about three years, unlike the "supermarket stuff" - a more upmarket Cotes du Rhone.
4. Cotes du Rhone Villages, 1995
A deeper res, showing very little nose apart from a hint of leather. Quite dry, not as full as expected. Pepper and leather on the palate with a dry aftertaste. Not worth a tenner.
5. St. Joseph, Le Grand Pompee, 1994
A wonderful deep red. A bit closed. Lots of fruit. It was queried whether the style had changed over the past few years. Good acid balance, boot polish and spice flavour. Syrah. 12.9% alcohol. Leave it a few years.
6. Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cedres, 1995
Light red in colour. Quite dry, fruit and acid well balanced. Again suggestions of a change in the style of winemaking. 14% alcohol. This is a big wine, although it was said that it can never make a great wine, even though it will last a long time.
7. Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 1982
Quite light; a serious nose slightly reminiscent of a Burgundy - some cheesiness. Still tannins and fruit, perhaps hasn't developed the complexity one might expect. Will it improve? Has it already gone too far? Opinions varied. The cheesiness is definitely creeping in. 100% Syrah.
8. Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 1992
Deep velvet. Coffe beans, cuts through the nostrils. Quite complex. Lovely, although not considered a good vintage.
9. Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 1990
Deep, elegant looking. A huge nose, almost a Burgundy. Lots of coffee beans and ripe fruit. A huge, elegant well balanced wine. Amazingly good value. Parker gives it a 92 score.
10. Hermitage 'La Chapelle' 1982
A hint of brown in the red, sparkling clear. Still tannic but balanced with plenty of fruit; rich and complex. A hint of cheesiness. Recommended with venison, hare, strong cheeses, wild mushrooms.
11. Hermitage 'La Chapelle' 1983
Deeper red, more complex nose than the '82. Shoe polish, or polished leather, and violets. Still way too young, but very different from last months '83 - vastly better. One of the finer things in life. Perhaps a teeny bit woody, though.
12. Hermitage 'La Chapelle', 1988
Elegant, velvety red with a crystal clear light rim. Nose of old leather and farm manure. Still tannic, good fruit. Thinner than expected, but then Jaboulet himself suggested that we should drink this between 2010 and 2015. Give ut time and this will be fantastic. I wish I had some in my cellar!