For nearly two hundred years, the hillsides of Hermitage have jealously guarded the secret of a meeting that was to be the start of an extraordinary story…
In 1834, Antoine Jaboulet (1807 - 1864) started working the land in this region thereby linking his destiny with that of this fertile terroir. By dint of hard work and passion, his vines were to provide him with a wine of exceptional quality, to be perpetuated by his sons, Paul and Henri. It was Paul who then gave his name to the business. Since then, the generations have continued to succeed one another.
La Chapelle, which is situated on the hillside of l’Hermitage, looks out over the Rhône Valley. During the 13th century, the Chevalier de Stérimberg made it his home on his return from the crusades. Later still, it became the source of the family’s flagship wine, l’Hermitage La Chapelle. The 1961 vintage would be classed among the Twelve mythical bottles of the 20th century, and a small number of bottles and magnums are still kept by Jaboulet and in a few cellars elsewhere in the world…
In the northern estates of the Côtes du Rhône, the wide diversity of terroirs and the influence of micro-climates favours the production of Syrah. This is the principle variety, and the sole red grape, grown by Paul Jaboulet Aîné, while Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier are used for the white wines. This provides the wines of each appellation with a well-defined personality.
Paul Jaboulet Aîné favours traditional vineyard husbandry. Yields are restricted to between 25 and 35 hectolitres per hectare from vines that are on average 40 years old, with the most illustrious being nearly 80 years old. Canopy management, crop thinning, pruning and harvesting are all carried out by hand. Ancestral methods such as the use of hand winches and stake training of vines are still used, all of which requires a skilled, experienced workforce. When they have reached optimal maturity, the grapes are hand-harvested into 20kg crates to keep them in as good condition as possible.
The company is currently undergoing sustainable agriculture qualification, which restricts the use of herbicides in the soil, favours organic fertilisers to encourage the development of micro-organisms, and allows the vines to thrust their roots deep into the ground. The vines consequently benefit from the natural and varied nourishment of the soil.
This background means that the Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné winemaking team must work tirelessly, using the ancestral methods of the past to move into the future.
Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aìné pictures