Last great vintage

Thalabert 1997 was the last great vintage of this historically wonderful Crozes-Hermitage produced. With Gerard Jaboulet gone his nephew Nicolas took over and quality plunged. I’ve heard some intriguing rumours about why the wine was so bad under his stewardship, but it’s perhaps best to think he couldn’t make red wine for Smarties, let alone toffee (his white wines were very good, though). The plunge in reputation of Jaboulet made the family decide to sell out to the foul Swiss Claret makers who now produce soulless, dreary wines at this now lacklustre estate. How sad. None of the post-97 red I’ve had from Jaboulet have been worth buying, especially due to the massive escalation in price (for what are only ordinary wines at best). Thalabert and La Chapelle are sad, wearisome shadows of what they once were.

What will probably be my final taste of this wine I’ve had so many times (I scored 18 bottles on release) is thanks to my lovely friends Guy and Marie-Pierre. I greatly appreciate the gift. We must try to catch up Guy and Marie, perhaps we can bring the wines to you next time. Sorry I missed your wedding bash; I was incoherently psychotic, alas. Anyway, on to Thalabert 1997!

Crozes-Hermitage Domaine Thalabert 1997 Jaboulet

Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 1997, Paul Jaboulet-Aine

Quite beetrooty on the nose, but beyond that it just smells rather old and tired out. Oh dear. The palate is dried out, dusty and lifeless. No fruit, no life, gone.

The last bottle of Hermitage La Chapelle 1997 I had was rather tired, too, definitely on it’s way out. Guy mentioned that someone else who had tried some of this wine from this batch and found it rather unpleasant. I think rather than anything being wrong with the batch of Thalabert it is simply that 1997 was never a vintage for long-term ageing and finally, sadly, the last great Thalabert has died.

Certainly if anyone had any that they’ve aged themselves in good conditions I’d be very happy to try it and hopefully find myself proved wrong, but I strongly suspect 16 years is simply too much to hope for from a 1997 Crozes. Pissflaps.