The first releases from the Place de Bordeaux Autumn Offers come from the newly-minted Domaine La Chapelle in the Northern Rhône: 2021 Hermitage 'La Chapelle' and 2021 Hermitage 'Chevalier de Sterimberg' Blanc. Henri-Gaspard de Sterimberg, was the knight who established himself as a hermit on the hill and built a small chapel, on returning from the Crusades in 1224.
Winemaker and owner Caroline Frey has brought about a renaissance at these legendary vineyards, previously part of Domaine Paul Jaboulet Aîné. From the 2021 vintage, the wines have been separated from Jaboulet, becoming part of a new estate, Domaine La Chapelle. This is also the first time they have been distributed through La Place de Bordeaux.
We offer the new 2021 vintage here en primeur, alongside some library vintages (2013, '11 and '06) cellared in perfect conditions, in Jaboulet's own cellars. We also offer the last of our stocks of 2020 and 2019, just a handful of cases remain of each.
Rhône wine lovers may feel wistful at the separation from Jaboulet, but a look at the photo of the hill of Hermitage, above, puts this move into context. Jaboulet's name is seen on wines from across a large area of the Rhône Valley, including humble Côtes du Rhône. La Chapelle and Chevalier de Sterimberg have more in common with rarified, self-named Burgundy domaines associated with a particular terroir, like Domaine des Lambrays.
Following biodynamic principals, Frey has improved both the vineyards and winemaking here, and at La Lagune, her family's estate in Bordeaux. Following a run of excellent releases, the 2021 Hermitage La Chapelle scores 96 points from James Suckling, the only major review so far. 2021 was a cool vintage, with severe frosts producing a tiny but high-quality harvest.
Whether the new direction at Domaine La Chapelle will justify the steep price increases from the Jaboulet era remains to be seen, but committed collectors will wish to have both wines in their cellars.
2021, '13, '11 and '06 vintages offered ex-château, expected in the UK in spring 2024 .