The legendary name and reputation of Paul Jaboulet Aîné has been built on foundations laid by Antoine Jaboulet in 1834. Having founded a small estate and cellars based in the riverside town of Tain L’Hermitage, and with vines across the famous hill of Hermitage, he began to expand soon after, acquiring vineyards in Crozes-Hermitage close by, including the renowned site of Domaine de Thalabert.
Over time the family established a superb reputation for the high-quality of their wines, including the celebrated, some might say iconic, Hermitage La Chapelle, which is unarguably among the greatest wines of France, let alone the Rhône.
Through the 1970s and 1980s the Jaboulet family seemed to be on an endlessly upward trajectory, earning plaudits and prizes and building impressively on their hard-earned reputation. Sadly, the 1990s saw tragedy and turmoil in the family and they faced a downturn in their fortunes, consequently falling prey to a period of regression and inconsistent quality of the wines.
At the beginning of 2006 the company was acquired by Jean-Jacques Frey, a real estate tycoon with a track record of running fine estates in Champagne (they owned Ayala before selling to Bollinger and now own a significant stake in Billecart-Salmon), Bordeaux, and most recently in Burgundy.
Jean-Jacques Frey’s daughter Caroline, a fully qualified enologist, has responsibility for the running of all three of the Frey family’s wholly owned properties – Jaboulet, La Lagune and latterly Château de Corton André in Burgundy. Caroline is in charge at Jaboulet and, with the help of talented associates and wise investments, has effectively managed to turn things round. The flagship, Hermitage La Chapelle, is rightfully back to its former glorious self.
In her spare time, Caroline, helped by her daughter, tends a bijou vineyard in the Valais region of Switzerland. Passionate about the Swiss petite arvine grape variety, she has planted some on some of the steepest slopes in the Rhône too.