1990 Paul Jaboulet Aîné "La Chapelle" Hermitage
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1990 La Chapelle is sexy and opulent. I had the 1990 at the Jaboulet tasting, and again out of a double magnum three months ago. On both occasions it was spectacular, clearly meriting a three-digit score. The modern day equivalent of the 1961, it deserves all the attention it has garnered. The color remains an opaque purple, with only a slight pink at the edge. Spectacular aromatics offer up aromas of incense, smoke, blackberry fruit, cassis, barbecue spice, coffee, and a touch of chocolate. As it sits in the glass, additional nuances of pepper and grilled steak emerge. There is extraordinary freshness for such a mammoth wine in addition to abundant tannin, an amazing 60-second finish, and a level of glycerin and thick, fleshy texture that have to be tasted to be believed. Despite its youthfulness, the 1990 La Chapelle is lovely to drink, although it will be even better with another 5-6 years of cellaring; it should age for 35-40+ years. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2050.
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. Delicious now, but can hold.