|Second 2019 AAWC-Ann Arbor Tasters Guild Event / AWS
RHONE REMINISCING Jaboulet Wine Importer Dinner
with Sunny Brown, National Sales Director, Skurnik Wines & Spirits Thursday February 28, 7:00 pm
|at The Fillmore, 7954 Ann Arbor St., Dexter|
During the first 30 years of my wine merchant career, Paul Jaboulet Aine carried the torch for Rhone Valley wines in America. Highly esteemed, and represented by a wine importer of top credentials, they offered me the ideal combination of quality and availability. Chapoutier, Chave, Delas, and Guigal were all present back then, but less well distributed. So I bought, sold, enjoyed, and laid down more Jaboulet wines than the others.
The firm was founded in the early 19th century by Antoine Jaboulet and managed by his sons Henri and Paul. Paul, the elder (aine), later named it after himself. Flash forward to my era, and find brothers Jean and Louis in charge. Louis was a marketing genius. It's to him I owe a debt of gratitude that so many great bottles reached our shore back then..
The next generation found two brothers in charge also: Louis's son Jacques the winemaker and his son Gerard the driven and talented marketer. Jean, Louis, and Jacques I met on a visit to Paul Jaboulet Aine way back when. I was privileged to have two visits from Gerard. Once we had dinner together following a trade tasting. I'll never forget the evening, because while we wined, dined, and conversed in a tony subterranean Birmingham restaurant, I had no idea a blizzard was raging outside. I was determined to drive home anyway and remember it as the worst winter drive I ever made. In early April.
On his next visit, Gerard came to lead a Jaboulet tasting for our Ann Arbor Tasters Guild chapter (then Les Amis du Vin). How we ended up doing it in the old American Legion hall next to The Big House, I can't remember. Plaster was falling off the walls. Whatever we did for food escapes me. But the odor wafting up from the restroom urinals half a story down sticks indelibly in my mind. Needless to say, we never had another event there..
Their heirs were not prepared to lead the firm, and it foundered. Both wine quality and wine promotion fell off. Sad to see, when a new generation of stars was guiding the likes of Chapoutier and Guigal to new heights..
n 2005, the Jaboulet family sold the firm to Swiss financier Jean-Jacques Frey, his daughter a talented oenologist. Frey had earlier purchased Bordeaux 5me Grand Cru Classe Chateau La Lagune. Caroline Frey worked wonders there. Then she took up the challenge of making a much wider range of wines at Paul Jaboulet Aine. She‛s succeeded; Jaboulet returns to stardom.
Today Paul Jaboulet Aine wines have solid national representation in the form of New York-based importer Skurnik Wines & Spirits and its National Sales director, Sunny Brown, whose company I‛ve enjoyed at many a trade tasting. He‛s going to lead us through a choice range of Paul Jaboulet wines from both Northern and Southern Rhone Valley regions. In early February, we‛ll get samples to The Fillmore‛s executive chef Anthony de Chavez and staff for menu inspiration. The menu will be posted and emailed to the membership as soon as I receive it. Here‛s the proposed wine list of contemporary Paul Jaboulet Aine wines. I‛m going to search my home wine cellar to see if I can unearth something from Jaboulet‛s previous golden age to add to your education and enjoyment.
>CROZES HERMITAGE BLANC LES JALETS
COTES DU RHONE PARALLELE 45
VACQUEYRAS LES CYPRES
CROZES HERMITAGE DOMAINE DE THALABERT
CORNAS LES GRANDES TERRASSES
MUSCAT BEAUMES DE VENISE LES CHANT DES GRIOLLES
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