And this is a great vintage!

My reader may recall that, after years of sniping at them, I tried a Frey/Jaboulet wine – Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2018 – back in July 2022. A friend’s positive comments about them made me unsure whether my early assessment of her lack of talent in making Syrah was justified. Of course it was.

However, I said I would get a couple more and try them again; one has to do the experiment from time to time. I have a 2020 Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert.

I am quite looking forward to trying this. All the 2020s I have tried so far have been delicious. The vintage is 2017 reborn, only probably with better potential for ageing. It is such a luscious, scrumptious vintage!

So, without further ado, let us put on our pleasure pants and dive in!

Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2020, Paul Jaboulet-Aine

Crozes-Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert 2020, Paul Jaboulet-Aine

Black. The merest hint of leafiness, and maybe I can imagine some dark fruit… No, no, I am not sure I can.

I can get a huge stink of hot, burning alcohol. Who needs to make Crozes so alcoholic? It claims to be 14%, but I would put actual money on it being higher than that.

Other than that, it smells of stewed tea. It’s not faulty, or flawed, it smells like it is incredibly badly made. Over ripe grapes, over-long soaks and pressed until the pips squeak.

Hell’s bells, this is tannic! Harsh and bitter, repellently tannic and nastily acidic. How can one get a Crozes so ripe and yet have such screeching acidity?

The odd thing is that, despite all the harsh tannin, screaming acidity and anaesthetic alcohol-levels it is strangely thin. There is only a thin veneer of loathsome, unspeakable horribleness to it.

I left it in the jug for several hours, going back to it every half hour or so, and it only seemed to dry out even more.

I have one left and I hold no hope that time will improve it, but I shall try it when it is at least ten. Maybe my tongue will not be a bit of leather due to these tastes by then.

Another triumph for Frey! She succeeds in dragging the great name of Jaboulet to the sewage farm and pelting it with a silo’s worth of turds! What a shameful offering; Gerard J must be sobbing in his grave that his name can be put on such an insult to life itself.