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Paul Jaboulet Aine La Chapelle 1988 – 2005 1994 Vega Sicilia Unico

March 24, 2013

Bacchus met again, all too infrequently, on 28 January 2013 at Shang Palace of the Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore, where the stellar cuisine never disappoints, the wine service impeccable. For his induction into the circle, Pipin had proferred a blinded bottle as starters. It appeared  quite well aged based on the color and complexity of its bouquet, highly perfumed with a powerful glow of orangey citrus and red fruits, beautifully focused and linear, utterly seamless, finishing with a trace of medicinal sweetness. 1994 Vega Sicilia UnicoVery lovely. Some guessed pinot, others sangiovese, but  old Danny boy was on form, correctly guessing a Spanish wine, which turned out to be none other than the 1994 Vega Sicilia Unico. What a start!

The obligatory white that preceded dinner took the form of a 1999 Louis Jadot Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru (courtesy Danny). It was served a bit too cold initially, though a kaleidoscope of nutty flavors, coconut and soft yeasty characters were evident, the wine still rather tight, to be expected from this stellar vintage even at this stage. gradually developing a rich creamy minerality with excellent depth, just a tad steely at the finish. Pretty much like Bonneau du Martray of the same vintage, clearly yet to peak.

The theme for the evening was to be a vertical of the iconic La Chapelle of Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aine, drunk in two flights of three, from the most recent vintage to the oldest. The 2005 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle, displaying a beautiful deep ruby (as well as a very different looking label from its predecessors), was obviously youthful and racy with notes of rose petals and a hint of enamel, still cloaked in fresh vanillin. Nevertheless, one could still appreciate the superb craftsmanship that imparted a deft lightness, avoiding any hint of wild hedonism, yet to develop any complexity at this stage, taking on a softer velvety texture after some time coupled with an attractive spicy finish. Perhaps best to lay off for ten years? In contrast, the 1997 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle (courtesy Pipin), showed a dull evolved red consistent with its significantly greater bottle age, producing a powerful nose of herbal medicinal aromas amidst earthy notes, topped by a prominent petroleum-like character that overlay a broad attractive dryness with a touch of spice on the palate, displaying excellent delineation right through its finish. A wonderful sightNext to this, the 1996 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle (courtesy Kieron) displayed similar traits of color and flavour with expansive notes of herbal aromas, red fruits and some earthiness of lowish acidity, turning highly perfumed after some time, superbly seamless, developing a progressively prominent medicinal note over time.

The second and final flight consisted of La Chapelle from much older vintages, and it was a revealation to find that these wines are still very much so at their peak. The 1990 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle (courtesy Li Fern) was still dark and supremely rich on both the nose and palate, generous in its bouquet of earth, aniseed, cassis and other dark fruits and soy, seething with great concentration and depth, still remarkably youthful without seemingly having undergone any significant development. If La Chapelle from a stellar vintage more than twenty years ago still remains relatively unevolved, would that be the same for its modern-day equivalent, the 2005? In contrast, the 1989 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle (courtesy Vic) was caught almost at its peak, superbly evolved and integrated with an excellent concentration of predominantly red fruits, while the 1988 Paul Jaboulet La Chapelle (courtesy Hiok) was the undisputed star of the evening’s line-up with its array of attractive earthiness, tinge of dryness, dried leaves, mushrooms and cherries, beautifully developed and balanced, displaying superb delineation and focus. Most sublime.A wonderful lineup

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2013 23:34

    Why never call me?

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