Frey Family
Caroline Frey
The firm of Jaboulet was founded in 1834, and today it owns 114.20 hectares of vines in the best appellations of the Rhône Valley, principally in the northern Rhône in Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, Saint-Joseph and Condrieu, and since 2006 in Côte-Rôtie.

Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné was created through the magical conjunction of a fertile land on a hillside by the Rhone and a family with a passion for winemaking. In 1834, when Antoine Jaboulet set up his business in Tain l’Hermitage with the aim of producing great wines, he saw his future profession as limited to cultivating the vineyards and maintaining the quality of the land. It was with this mindset that he quickly acquired his first vineyards on the Hermitage slopes and the Crozes-Hermitage plains. The six generations who followed him, including his sons Paul and Henry and, later, the celebrated Gérard, adopted an identical approach. Over the years, Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné thereby took ownership of the finest appellations of the northern Rhone Valley. These included Hermitage and Crozes Hermitage, of course, but also Saint-Joseph, Cornas and Saint-Péray.
In 2006, the Freys, a family of long standing in the Champagne region and owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux, took over Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné. Caroline, the eldest daughter of the family, who has a degree in oenology from Bordeaux, works with her team in a single-minded quest for perfection. Their cutting-edge winemaking, combined with the scrupulous care given to vines grown in exceptional terroirs, encourages one to believe that the greatest vintages are yet to come. The vineyards acquired in the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are following in the historic Jaboulet tradition.

Under Caroline’s leadership, in 2006, the vineyards earned Sustainable Farming status while Jaboulet's winegrowing is slowly but surely progressing towards biodynamic certification. Horses, winches, cultivators and pickaxes are now used to dig over each plot, however steep. This enables the roots to delve as deeply as possible into the rock. The grapes are rigorously inspected and every last detail is subject to scrupulous examination. Quality is the sole criterion for Caroline and her team of winegrowers.

In this quest for perfection, a new gravity-operated cellar has been set up for the 2010 vintage. Here the grapes are handled with the utmost care. Hand-picked and placed in little crates, two lifts are used to raise the grape bunches. The Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc white grapes are poured manually into the presses, which then allow the juice to flow naturally through gravity into small stainless steel vats. The fermenting must is then sent to the air-conditioned, humidified white wine store for storage in casks or in enormous 16hl concrete eggs. Meanwhile, the Syrah and Grenache grapes, which are less vulnerable to oxidation, are painstakingly selected on multiple sorting tables (sorting of bunches and then individual grapes) before slipping as gently as possible down to the vats, via lightly sloping stainless steel shafts. When alcoholic and malolactic fermentation is complete, the wines are improved in the spectacular red wine store. Syrah wines gain in complexity in French oak barrels (20% new wood) whereas Grenache is better suited to aging in truncated cone-shaped 80hl vats.

The jewel in the Jaboulet collection has always been the legendary ‘La Chapelle’ Hermitage, a great red wine made purely from Syrah, which owes its name to the famous little Saint Christophe chapel, which overlooks the Hermitage vineyards. ‘La Chapelle’, which has been solely owned by Paul Jaboulet Aîné since 1919, is made by blending grapes from the best terroirs in the appellation (Méal, les Bessards, les Rocoules etc.). ‘La Chapelle’ Hermitage 1961 has been ranked among the twelve greatest wines of the 20th century and it racked up the third highest price ever recorded worldwide for a 12-bottle lot sold by Christie’s.