1990 Paul Jaboulet Aîné "La Chapelle" Hermitage
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1990 Hermitage La Chapelle lived up to its reputation on this occasion, and of the three titans (1990, 1978 and 1961), it was probably my favorite. Still inky colored and ruby at the rim, it offers an absolutely profound bouquet of sweet cassis, smoked meats, chocolate, licorice and spice. This is followed by a full-bodied, insanely textured, pure and hedonistic palate that has that perfect mix of still-vibrant fruit and ample secondary nuances. I suspect the '61 was even richer at this stage, but the overall purity and freshness here are incredible. It will continue to evolve for decades, but I'd happily open bottles today. (JD)
Gorgeous aromas of dark berry, dried meat, dried berry, game, wet earth and licorice. Floral. Full body with a wonderful texture of dried fruits, spices and berries. Very dense and muscular with wonderful balance and length. Dense and intense. Blockbuster style.
As expected from this ideal vintage, this '90 is sensational. Inky in color and solidly anchored in its terroir, it springs to life with a symphony of flavors, from mineral to wet earth and blackberry. Marvelous balance among fruit, acidity and smooth tannins. (PM)
Rh?ne lovers were out in full force on this night. Sadly, I only got to taste a handful of the wines being passed around. Still, these were four of the greatest wines I have ever tasted. The 1990 La Chapelle held its own in this grouping, and then some. The purity of the fruit and the wine’s finish were mind-bending. (AG)
Served blind alongside Fonsalette Syrah 1990. This was the slightly darker wine, and one that held up a little better in the glass. But initially they were remarkably close. Peppery nose with very sweet fruit. Hint of cumin. Great freshness on the finish An excellent wine with a dry finish. 18.5/20 points
98 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted at Christies’ “Kings of the Rhone” tasting in London. Compared to the Chave Hermitage 1990, the La Chapelle has far more complexity and “thrust” on the nose as it soars out of the glass with scents of macerated red cherries, sloes, garrigues and allspice. The palate is svelte and smooth in the glass, firm tannins, enormous depth and dimension with concentrated dark animally fruits and a saline touch towards the finish. This will be an incredible wine no doubt, but it needs another decade in the bottle." (11/2011)