Today a technical workshop focusing on the Rhône Valley sponsored by François Frères Tonnellierie and winemaking equipment supplier Wine Machinery. Guest speakers were Jacques Desvernois, technical director of Paul Jaboulet Aîne, renowned in particular for its versions of both white and red Hermitage as well as Pierre Fabre, winemaker of Château Mont-Redon, Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s biggest producer.
Much talk about optical sorting tables (which use infra-red photography to remove green, pink and botrytised grapes before crush) and cross-flow filtration to ensure wines are super-clean and stable. It seems the French are embracing technology like never before but when a bottle of Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle Rouge 2007 costs ₤140 from Berry Bros. & Rudd in London, then I suppose you can’t afford to be too careful.
The La Chapelle ‘07 was in fact the pièce de résistance of a tasting presented jointly by Desvernois and Fabre. A wine of both breadth and depth, it showed red and black fruit but also some subtle savoury character – nothing definite or overt – a hint of spice, a suggestion of earth, a whiff of meat. The acidity, meanwhile, was soft but sufficient, the tannins relatively soft but not slippery. Refined and sophisticated if not exactly life-changing.