France: Rhône Valley

Around Tain l'Hermitage

The wines of Hermitage, Crozes, Cornas and Saint Joseph
By John Wheeldon

This Guide was last updated on 08 August 2011
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Wine producers to visit

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Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Vineum

Address: Route des Beaumes, 26300 Châteauneuf sur Isère
Tel: 04 75 47 35 55 
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 45:1:1N (45.01686)    Longitude: 4:56:26E (4.94043) 

The best known producer of Hermitage and Rhône wines in general. There is no doubt that their Hermitage La Chapelle has been a magnificent wine over the years and their two red Crozes-Hermitage wines, Thalabert and Raymond Roure are usually very reliable too. However, there was a slip in quality in the late 1990s and early 2000s. This coincided with a period of change when Jaboulet was taken over by a Swiss finance group (Frey who also own Château La Lagune in Bordeaux). Some of the Jaboulet family are still involved but others have left (see below). Their wines have since improved significantly (and prices have more than doubled) but there is a current view (which I share) that their wines are becoming more modern in style with new oak dominating the traditional flavours of the northern Rhône. All visits, tastings and retail sales now take place at Vineum which is their showcase attraction providing film shows, tours, tastings and all the trappings of a California winery. It is spectacular and based in old Roman quarries cut into the hillside at Châteauneuf sur Isère, a pretty town (a centre for fishing) some 15 minutes drive from Tain. Take the D153 from the motorway exit and look for the signpost right for Châteauneuf sur Isère. After you cross the river as you enter the village take a sharp left onto the D196 (there is a small sign for Vineum but it is hard to spot) and Vineum is on the right just after the large river dam.

Useful information: Vineum is open from 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-18.00 from Tuesday to Saturday. Groups are welcome and a charge is made both for tastings and the show. English spoken. Note that tastings or sales are not usually available at Jaboulet’s premises at La Roche de Glun.


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