Wine Legend: Jaboulet, La Chapelle Hermitage, 1961

Wine Legend: Jaboulet, La Chapelle Hermitage, 1961, Northern Rhône, France

Bottles produced 10,000
Composition 100% Syrah
Yield (hectolitres/hectare) 8hl/ha
Alcohol level 12.9%
Release price 10 French francs per bottle
Price today £9,180 per bottle (average price on Wine-Searcher.com)

A legend because…

While Paul Jaboulet and Gérard Chave are easily the most prestigious producers from the 134-hectare Hermitage AC, no wine has enjoyed the acclaim attached to the La Chapelle 1961. Its power and harmony were apparent from the start, and for decades the wine has been a star at auction. In the 19th century, wines from Hermitage had routinely been used to beef up lacklustre vintages from Bordeaux, but in the 20th century many vineyards were neglected. The recognition given to La Chapelle 1961 helped to kickstart interest in the great granitic vineyard and its wines. US critic Robert Parker has described it as ‘one of the three or four greatest red wines I have ever tasted’.

Looking back

The Jaboulet business was deeply rooted in family. At least four members, brothers and cousins, were involved in both the winemaking and commercial side. A highly consistent négociant business, as well as being a producer from its own extensive vineyards, led to Jaboulet becoming the most visible of the great Rhône houses. In the 1980s and 1990s accidents and premature deaths seem to have robbed the house of its former dynamism and, in 2006, Jaboulet was bought by the Frey family, owners of Champagne house Billecart-Salmon and of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux.

The people

The wine was made under the supervision of Louis Jaboulet, who retired in 1976. His better-known son Gérard would only have been 19 at the time.

The vintage

The granitic hill of Hermitage is always an exceptionally hot site. In 1961, a warm spring gave the vines a head start, but rain in June severely diminished the potential crop. Thereafter, conditions were ideal until the completion of harvest. Extensive coulure (the failure of grapes to develop after flowering) led to unusually low yields.

The terroir

The Jaboulets have long been major vineyard owners on the hill of Hermitage, owning 19ha of Syrah and 5ha of Marsanne and Roussanne, yielding, in a normal vintage, about 7,500 cases. The lion’s share of the Syrah vines lie within the Le Méal sector, but with significant parcels in other prized sites such as Les Bessards. An average age of 40 years is maintained for the Hermitage vines. There is no actual parcel known as La Chapelle, however; the name refers to the small chapel perched on the hill. The wine is a Syrah blend from the different parcels.

The wine

From 1989 onwards, Jaboulet produced a second wine from Hermitage (Le Pied de la Côte) in addition to La Chapelle. In 1961 there would have been no such selection, other than a rejection of substandard fruit in the vineyard. The grapes were trodden by foot and fermented with indigenous yeasts in large, open wooden vats. Although destemming became routine in the 1980s, it is probable that about half the stalks would have been retained in 1961, contributing to the wine’s robust tannins. The finished wine would have been aged for about 18 months mainly in vats, and a very small proportion of barrels, including some made from chestnut wood. It would have been bottled without filtration.


Read more at http://www.decanter.com/learn/wine-legend-jaboulet-la-chapelle-1961-369886/#v8FwsySkhIpIVa5Y.99 


Source:http://www.decanter.com/learn/wine-legend-jaboulet-la-chapelle-1961-369886/

HOW SHOULD YOU STORE WINE

Unless you’re fortunate enough to own a house built in the 1800s or early 1900s, with its attendant basement or wine cellar already there, you’re going to have to build your own storage environment to house your wine collection. Where did our ancestors store wine? In deep, dark caves or in deep, dark wine cellars. There are good reasons for this: wine hates light, heat, and motion. While storing wine on top of your refrigerator is convenient, it’s the absolute worst thing you can do to a poor, innocent bottle of wine. The mantra for wine storage is cool, dark, still, and sideways. The reasoning behind this is as follows:

Cool
Wine hates heat; anything above 70° Fahrenheit wreaks havoc on the wine. 55° Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature, but don’t freak out if it varies a degree or two either way. Humidity is also important; the proper humidity keeps the cork from drying out and letting oxygen seep into the bottle. Oxygen will oxidize a wine, the same way it will a peeled apple. A brown apple is unattractive, but edible; an oxidized wine is not drinkable. It won’t hurt you, unless it’s truly spoiled, but it won’t taste good at all.

Dark
Wine hates sunlight like a vampire, and pretty much for the same reason: light, particularly UV light, prematurely ages wine. Whites are more susceptible than reds, but reds fall victim to UV light as well. Ever wonder why wine is sold in colored bottles? The colored glass acts like sunglasses, and filters the UV light out.

Still
Why would wine care if you shook the bottle? Two reasons: too much shaking can prematurely age it, and not in a good way, and if the wine is a red, sediment gets disturbed from the bottom and distributed around the bottle. The result is a glass of grit instead of a glass of wine. So don’t store your wine where vibrations, good or bad, abound.

Sideways
There are two good reasons for storing wine on its side: first, storing the bottle this way keeps the cork in contact with the wine and this keeps the cork from drying out and shrinking. A dry cork allows oxygen in, and this is not a good thing. Second, storing wine horizontally saves space, letting you keep more bottles in a smaller space.
Given that most of us don’t have a wine cellar already built into our house, where should you store your wine? If you have a basement, and dampness is not an issue, putting wine racks in a cool, dark corner fits the bill nicely. If a basement is not an option, use a cool, dark closet. If the closet is too hot, you can get a cooling unit designed for wine to cool things off.

STORAGE OF WINES: STORING AFTER OPENING

Storage after opening: 
This is storage for bottles of table wine that have been opened but not completely consumed. There are many methods for prolonging the life of opened table wines but even the best can only slow the degradation of the wine. These methods are for still table wines. Sparkling wines and fortified dessert wines have different characteristics and requirements. 
Gas Systems: Sparging the bottle with a gas (nitrogen or argon) can be very effective but it is expensive and I’ve never known anyone who actually used a gas system over a long period of time. They just seem to ultimately be more trouble than they are worth. If you do elect to try such a system, stay away from carbon dioxide since it will mix into solution with the wine. 
Vacu-vin: An item came on the market a few years ago called a Vacu-vin. This consists of rubber bottle stoppers that hold a weak vacuum created by a hand pump that comes with the system. While some people swear by them, there is a consistent complaint that wines treated with a Vacu-vin seem ‘stripped’ of aromas and flavor. They actually create a lower pressure environment instead of an actual vacuum. This means they don’t remove all the oxygen and oxidation of the wine will still occur.
Half bottles, marbles and progressive carafes: These are all ways of limiting the amount of air in contact with the wine. The concept is good if you move quickly and refrigerate the remaining wine.

STORAGE OF WINES – II

For any wine lover, storing wine well is very important. There are a few simple principles that need to be understood in order to select proper wine storage conditions. We can logically break down the process into just 3 categories: storing wine for the short haul, storing wine for long term aging and storing (or saving) wines that have already been opened.
Short Term Storage: 
This is wine you will consume within 6 months. These may be bottles that are just home from the store and destined to be consumed shortly or bottles that have been pulled from longer storage to be accessible for spur of the moment consumption. 
The closer you can duplicate the conditions required for long term storage, the better. However, in many situations, keeping the wines in a box in an interior closet is a satisfactory solution. 
Keep the bottles stored so that:
the cork stays moist 
the wines are at the lowest stable temperature possible 
the location is free of vibration 
the location is not a storage area for other items that have a strong odor 
Stay away from those little 9 bottle racks that end up on top of the refrigerator; it’s hot, close to the light and vibrates from the refrigerator compressor.
Long Term Storage: 
This is wine that you will keep for more than 6 months before consumption. A good storage location for wine is generally dark, is free of vibration, has high humidity and has a low stable temperature. 
Generally accepted ‘ideal’ conditions are 50 to 55 degrees farenheight and 70 percent humidity or higher. The high humidity is important because it keeps the corks from drying and minimizes evaporation. The only problem with even higher levels of humidity is that it brings on growth of mold on the labels or the loosening of labels that have water soluble glue. 
Temperatures lower than 55 degrees only slow the aging of the wines. There have been wines found in very cold cellars of castles in Scotland that are perfectly sound and are much less developed that those kept at ‘normal’ cellar temperature. A near constant temperature is preferable to one that fluctuates. 
With regard to light, most modern bottles have ultraviolet filters built into the glass that help protect the contents from most of the effects of UV rays. Despite the filters in the glass, long term storage can still allow enough rays in to create a condition in the wine that is referred to as ‘light struck’. The result is that the wine picks up the taste and smell of wet cardboard. This is especially noticeable in delicate white wines and sparkling wines. The condition can be created by putting a bottle of champagne near a fluorescent light for a month. 
Regular or constant vibrations from pumps, motors or generators should be avoided since the vibrations they cause are thought to negatively affect the evolution of the wines. One additional factor to avoid is storing other items with very strong odors near the wine. There have been many reports of wines picking up the aromas of items stored nearby. 
If you do not have a suitable wine cellar, there are many types of ‘wine refrigerators’ that will work as well. They differ from common refrigerators in that they work at higher temperatures (50-65 degree range) and they do not remove humidity from the air. There are kits available that will convert regular refrigerators into suitable wine storage units.

AGEING & STORING WINE

Whether or not to bottle age your wine after you have purchased it is a very personal and somewhat complex decision. While most white wines are designed to be enjoyed within two to three years after their vintage date, many robust red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon such as William Hill Winery’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Aura, will continue to evolve and improve with additional aging in proper storage conditions. 
Under the proper storage conditions, the components of red wines will interact and evolve. During bottle aging, the wine’s varietal aromas and flavors, as well as tannins and pigment, interact with oak compounds imparted during fermentation and barrel aging. Tannins and pigment compounds will link together to form longer, smoother polymer chains, softening the tannic impression of the wine. This integration can help to develop increasingly complex flavors and aromas, and deepen the wine’s color from purplish to a deep, brick red.
However, the primary caveat of a fine red wine improving through additional aging is the quality of its storage conditions. The ideal storage environment for wine mirrors the conditions of many wineries’ storage caves: 
Cool Temperature:
55-65°F. Cool temperatures slow the aging process and help to develop complex varietal character.
Consistent Temperature:
Less than 10°F fluctuation throughout the year. Temperature fluctuations can cause the wine to expand and contract, possibly causing damage to the cork.
Humidity:
Between 60-80%. Humidity over 80% can encourage mold, while dry conditions can cause evaporation and oxidation.
Darkness:
Excessive light exposure can cause proteins in wine to become hazy, and can create “off” aromas and flavors.
Vibration-free:
Vibration (from appliances or motors) can travel through wine and be detrimental to its development.
Odor-free: 
The storage area should be free from chemical odors, such as cleaners, household paints, etc. 
Basements are usually wonderful for storing wine because they meet many of the above criteria. Other options include a little-used, interior closet in an air-conditioned home. Wine storage systems are available that provide optimum temperature and humidity conditions for serious wine collecting.