After tasting so many great 2007 Rhônes recently (see yesterday's report on last week's tastings in eastern France), I'm in a very Rhôneish mood. I enjoyed tasting a wide range of 2007s from the revitalised Paul Jaboulet Aîné in London, as portrayed in this film shot in London recently. But what was particularly interesting about the two Viogniers on show was that at the moment anyway, this modest Vin de Pays actually tastes much more impressive than the considerably more expensive Jaboulet Condrieu 2007. I dare say that in a year's time the Condrieu will still be going strong while the Petit Jaboulet Viognier will be waving a wistful farewell. But this particular Viognier, sourced deliberately from the northern rather than the southern Rhône – chiefly from vineyards around Montélimar - is certainly looking most attractive at the moment.
I was impressed by its smoky, convincing north Rhône Viognier nose with real depth of flavour and some earthiness – definitely more reminiscent of Condrieu than of one of those air freshener-like Languedoc varietal Viogniers. The finish is attractively dry too. Not a bad buy at all – although unfortunately it seems that it is currently on sale only in Belgium and the UK according to winesearcher.com.
That said, the other two Petit Jaboulet wines – a rather anodyne Grenache Rosé and a very simple, very dry, light red Syrah – are much less interesting.
In the UK the Viognier is being sold at a revealingly wide range of prices:
Wine Etcetera, Midhurst, West Sussex £6.99
Highbury Vintners £7.99
Henderson Wines, Edinburgh £8
Peckham & Rye, Scotland £8.49
The Fine Wine Co, Edinburgh £8.95