Wines of the Week: Jaboulet & Nals Margreid

Jaboulet 1988 Hermitage La Chapelle  92
Nals Margreid 2022 Moscato Giallo Sun Alto Adige 93
by Ian D’Agata

Jaboulet 1988 Hermitage La Chapelle                          92

Deep ruby with a hint of orange at the rim. Aromas of blackberries, dark plum, cassis, black pepper, black olive, grilled meats, and smoke have a strong overlay of forest floor, mushrooms and wet stones. Even after considerable time in the glass, this fails to develop any floral perfume, namely of violet, that is so typical of the best Syrah wines. In the mouth, the wine is deep and full-bodied but with slightly tough tannins and not much fruit to the smoky olive, lead pencil and underbrush flavours. Best on the focus and persistence today, with a firm, concentrated, long finish. Austere but not especially classy, this has gothic, monastic personality that fails to come around and showcase much fruit even with prolonged aeration. It is still very young and has the structure and depth to easily live another decade in a good cellar, but if the fruit is really drying up, then that won’t happen. The cork seemed fine, so I’m not sure what to think. I’m a big fan of La Chapelle, and cannot say enough nice things about vintages like the 1982 and 1990, but this 1988 frankly disappointed me, because it just seems to lack fruit. That it was much hyped and highly-scored in the past, tells you perhaps more about the wine writers doing so than it does about the wine. Anyhow, I will for sure give this another shot, as I simply never tire of tasting La Chapelle any chance I get, but that’s because I am lucky to have more than one bottle of this specific vintage of La Chapelle lying around in my cellar like I do. Buying another bottle is an expensive proposition, and I’m not sure that I would, given this time’s result. Nevertheless, la Chapelle always deserves the benefit of the doubt: made from a blend of the best plots on the Hermitage hill, it takes its name (and very pretty neck label) from the chapel that sits atop the hill above the town of Tain. It’s really one of the world’s most iconic wines and so I’m sorry top not be able to write that my experience, at least with this particular bottle of 1988, was not better. The original Jaboulet firm was opened in 1834, when Antoine Jaboulet set up shop in Tain l’Hermitage In 2006, the firm was bought by the Frey family, who also own Chateau La Lagune in Bordeaux and other wine properties. Drinking window: 2024-2033.

Nals Margreid 2022 Moscato Giallo Sun Alto Adige           93

Nals Margreid is one of Italy’s best cooperatives and its white wines especially are amongst the benchmarks of the Alto Adige wine region. An excellent general director and winemaker will always take you along way, and that is just the case with Nals Margreid where CEO/Head of Sales Gottfried Pollinger and Winemaker Harald Schraffl are amongst the very best in the Italian wine business and are your best guarantee that just about any wine you pick from Nals Margreid will deliver. And that’s just the case with their 2022 Moscato Giallo Sun, part of their “Tradition” line of wines.

Bright, deep straw yellow with golden tinges. On the nose, offers very inviting and fresh aromas of yellow melon, yellow peach, lemongrass, white pepper and musk. Then crisp, taut and zingy in the mouth, with beautiful inner-mouth perfume to its floral and yellow fruit flavours that linger impressively on the clean, energetic, nicely focused and classically dry finish. The Nals Margreid 2022 Moscato Giallo Sun Alto Adige is made from 100% Moscato Giallo planted between 220-350 meters asl facing south/southeast in the hillsides around Magrè on white chalky soil rich in humus. It will go heavenly with oysters and just about any shellfish dish you can think of, but it will make a real popular aperitif too. So grab a bottle and get ready to become the life of any party you choose to attend. Drinking window: 2024-2028.


Ian D'Agata

Editor-in-Chief of Terroir Sense Wine Review
President of Terroir Sense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit

Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the "state of the art" textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.

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Ian D'Agata