The incredible 2019 releases from Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

The incredible 2019 releases from Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

First published 24th February, updated with guide pricing and merchants on 1st March 2021

I was fortunate to taste the new 2019 Jaboulet releases with owner/viticultrice Caroline Frey (over Zoom).  Here are my notes on this extraordinary collection of wines.  Please do look back in my Wednesday Wines articles to the 23rd December 2020 where you will find my notes on Caroline’s entire portfolio of 2018s.  You can also find my notes on her 2016s in the Taste section of this website – dated 27th April 2018.  If you would like to read my profile of Caroline, published in MoneyWeek, then you can find it in the MoneyWeek archive on 26th May 2018.   The following 2019s have been released for sale by Goedhuis, Tanners and Lay & Wheeler.  I have added approximate pricing below based on these merchants’ offers.  Do keep your eyes peeled for large formats, too!


2019 Crozes Hermitage, La Mule Blanche, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£99 ib per 6 bottles)

50% Marsanne, 50% Roussanne; 40 – 60-year-old vines; Concrete eggs and French oak barrels (15% new)

A vitally crisp and refreshing vintage for La Mule Blanche, with bright citrus notes and faint hints of honeysuckle and greengage, this is a thrilling interpretation of this famous label and it has never looked fitter nor more toned.  No doubt the fruit will blossom over time but this wine will always retain a welcome crisp and refreshing air.  17.5/20 (Drink now  – 2024)

2019 Crozes Hermitage, Domaine de Roure, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£147 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Marsanne; 60-year-old vines with some as old as 100; Concrete eggs and French oak barrels (15% new)

By contrast to La Mule Blanche this is a monastically calm and introverted wine with racy minerality controlling the ginger and stone fruit flashes.  This is an amazing gem of a Marsanne and one which is sure to unravel and billow beautifully over the next six or seven years.  I have no doubt that this will be one of the bargains of the vintage when we look back in a few years.  18+/20 (Drink 2022 – 2027)

2019 Hermitage, Le Chevalier de Sterimberg, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£210 ib per 6 bottles)

70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne; 35-year-old vines; Concrete eggs and French oak barrels (15% new)

There is extraordinary equilibrium in this sensational wine.  It is so finely balanced it is baffling, and the depth and richness is offset with the most dramatic acid and strident minerality I have seen in a wine of this style.  There are profound meadow-flower and stone fruit flavour here which enchant the senses but they are marshalled brilliantly by the citrus pith and green apple skin raspiness on the finish.  This is the most exciting Chevalier I have ever tasted and it rivals the very best whites from this region and others besides.  19+/20 (Drink 2022 – 2035)


2019 Crozes Hermitage, Domaine de Thalabert, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné (£99 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Syrah; 40 – 60-year-old vines; French oak barrels (20% new)

Following on from the terrific 2018 vintage, this is another exuberant wine with an inky dark hue and masses of swirling, black fruit notes.  This is certainly the most exotically perfumed Thalabert I can remember and this reflects the unique fruit concentration and ripeness found in this vintage.  Once you taste this wine you see that it is not all about the luxuriously appointed nose because the palate is packed with spice and tension and the finish is positively electric.  In terms of accessibility and also potential, this wine is a conundrum – how can something so young and attractive also seem so compact and age-worthy?  This is the key to all of Jaboulet’s 2019s.  The exquisite balance between ravishing fruit and refreshing, robust tannins is mesmerising.  This is a stupendous Thalabert and I think it is a notch up on the brilliant 2018.  18+/20 (Drink 2023 – 2038)

2019 Saint Joseph, La Croix des Vignes, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£147 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Syrah; 10 – 30-year-old vines; French oak barrels (20% new)

This is a more discreet and civilised wine than the ebullient Thalabert, with more obvious floral tones and a silkier finish.  The tannins are talcy and pliant and you could be forgiven for wanting to drink a bottle of this early in its life while the mulberry and plum notes are at their juiciest.  There is a wonderful earthiness that keeps this wine’s feet on (or rather ‘in’) the ground and this means that the ripe fruit never becomes too unctuous or dominant.  A gentle, accurate and expressive wine, this is the most forward-drinking of this sextet of reds, but you still ought to wait a good twelve to eighteen months before trialling a bottle.   17.5/20 (Drink 2022 – 2030)

2019 Cornas, Domaine de Saint Pierre, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£198 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Syrah; 10 – 60-year-old vines; French oak barrels (20% new)

By contrast to the majestic and somewhat introverted 2018 vintage of this lusty Cornas, this 2019 is a rather flamboyant soul.  With one of the most sonorous and attractive Cornas perfumes I have had the pleasure of enjoying, this is a remarkably open and expressive wine.  It is all the more thrilling to announce that the palate continues in the same vein.  Bold, juicy, dark and ripe, this is a hedonistic roller-coaster of flavour and only right at the finish does the trademark granitic, gruff, Cornas earth makes itself heard by slowly rolling pagan herb and spice notes, buttressed by cheek-sucking acidity and elemental tannins into view.  This 2019 vintage is, without doubt, my favourite Saint Pierre to date and it means that I can, at last, add Jaboulet to the pantheon of great Cornas domaines.  18.5+/20 (Drink 2024 – 2040)

2019 Côte Rôtie, Les Pierelles, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£231 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Syrah; 20 – 30-year-old vines; French oak barrels (20% new)

Les Pierelles is always a sensual wine without any of the hectic oak and overbearing Viognier additions found in so many of the wines from this appellation.  For this reason I rather like its gentle approach and civility, but in 2019 there is a little more tone and musculature beneath the couture façade.  I tasted all six of these reds over a period of five days and this was the only wine to eventually wave the white flag and so I feel that in common with the delicious 2018 vintage it is not a 20-year wine, but one which we should enjoy in its youth-middle age.  It is hard to decide which is the finer between the 2018 and 2019 vintages of Les Pierelles (I imagine the question on most collectors’ lips is which should they buy) and I like the fact that they are evenly matched with this 2019 showing a little more juiciness and 2018 a little more spice.  Either way, these are both mesmerising wines with immense appeal not only to aficionados but to those new to the region and this estate, too.  18.5/20 (Drink 2024 – 2035)

2019 Hermitage, La Maison Bleue, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£216 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Syrah; 40 – 60-year-old vines; French oak barrels (20% new)

I fell for this wine in a microsecond – the very moment the first molecule of perfume exploded on my receptors.  This is a step-change vintage for La Maison Bleue because I have not seen this degree of single-mindedness and overriding intention before in this wine.  2019 La Maison Bleue seems as if it has realised that it does not need to sit behind La Chapelle in Caroline Frey’s portfolio.  It signals, loud and clear, that it ought to be seated alongside its more renowned stablemate and be accorded the opportunity to address the masses as an equal, not a subordinate.  This is a bold move from this honed, sleek wine.  In 2019, with just that little bit more power and ambition under its belt, it has broken free and it looks absolutely sensational.  The fruit is regal and layered and the tannins are precision-cut and perfectly positioned making it every inch a superstar. By the end of day five of my tasting these amazing wines, La Maison Bleue seemed as if it were saying, let’s keep going!  While this is a ‘finished barrel sample’, this wine wanted to be tested to its limits and I cannot fault its enthusiasm and excellence.  You simply must track it down!   19++/20 (Drink 2026 – 2042)

2019 Hermitage, La Chapelle, Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné

(£726 ib per 6 bottles)

100% Syrah; 40 – 95-year-old vines; French oak barrels (20% new)

Like La Maison Bleue, La Chapelle barely moved an inch over the five days that it sat open (and gradually oxidising) on my tasting bench.  This is a monumental wine with the finest Syrah nose I have seen since the ethereal and intriguing beauty of the remarkable 2016 vintage and also the monolithic stance of the legendary 1990.  However, this is not to say that this vintage can be directly compared to either year.  There is a latent power about this wine that is as elusive as it is impressive.  This solaire vintage has certainly given La Chapelle a sense of foreboding power and yet there is so much grace here, too.  You could be sniffing a handful of granite and gravel, a bouquet of freshly picked herbs, a mortar of freshly ground pepper or a punnet of juicy black fruit and yet there is so much more to discover here.  What I find so remarkable about this wine is that it does not show any trace of over-ripeness nor does it have any unwanted oiliness or excessive alcohol.  In spite of its richness and depth, this is a pristinely refreshing wine with crunch and crackle of filigree tannin which enlivens every sip.  In this regard, it is a far less obvious superstar than the preening 1990 and it is a more erudite and statuesque model than the esoteric 2016.  In short, this is one of only a handful of vintages of La Chapelle to which I have awarded a perfect score and who is to say that this will not happen again before too long?  The care and attention in this entire portfolio of wines are evident and the hard work and holistic approach are not only paying off in the vineyards but also in the glass, too, and this makes 2019 another phenomenally successful vintage for Jaboulet.  20++/20 (Drink 2025 – 2045)