Sunday, May 07, 2006

Le Paradou CdR Village Jaboulet 2003

This Cote du Rhone Villages is from Beaumes de Venise, which sources tell me will shortly be elevated from "Villages AOC" to it's own AOC level, putting it at Cru level alongside Gigondas, Vaqueras and indeed Chateauneuf du Pape. On this showing it's it certainly capable of producing some excellent wines - although this being the 2003 vintage (an extremely hot year with temperatures regularly over 40C (104F) - we visited during this heatwave and measured temperatures at up to 46C (115F) - which is really too hot for making wines - and the vines were certainly getting plenty of stress! As a result many wines from this vintage taste a little too cooked and have more of a feeling of Southern Australia than the Rhone with shedloads of jammy fruit and not a lot of finesse - however Jaboulet seems to have harvested well and this has plenty of tannin to give it backbone - so much so that although I've 13 bottles left, I won't be touching another one for a while to give it more time to settle and develop into something altogether smoother. There were however some lovely signs of red fruit and pepper coming through and a long finish - I'm certainly looking forward to opening a bottle once a year to see how it's developing and then getting stuck in when I think it's reached it's peak (provided of course that isn't in 13 years time!!). Made of 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah this will probably reach it's peak in around 2010 or thereabouts - though the forwardness of the 2003 vintage might mean this comes sooner. Worth a try now though, but give it plenty of time in a decanter before drinking it - ideally the day before! (Available for £9.99 from

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