Rhône lovers have plenty of good news these days, with the region enjoying a string of excellent vintages and a growing number of new quality-oriented domaines from which to choose.
Add another possiblity to the list. I just got off the phone with Nicolas Jaboulet, who has teamed up with Marc Perrin of Château de Beaucastel and Perrin & Fils to start a new micro-négociant operation.
Jaboulet was one of the last family members hanging on with the Paul Jaboulet Aîné operation in Tain (following its purchase by Jean-Jacques Frey) before he decided to leave a few months ago. This will be the second new venture for a Jaboulet family member, following in the footsteps of Vincent & Philippe Jaboulet.
The two partners will focus on only Northern Rhône appellations. They have purchased juice to make as much as 3,000 cases from the 2007 vintage to start with, covering all the appellations except Crozes-Hermitage for now.
The pair bought juice in 2007, so they are primarily managing the blends at this point. Starting with the 2009 vintage and going forward, they plan to purchase grapes so they can handle the vinification of the wines. The wines are currently being made at the Perrin & Fils facility in the Southern Rhône.
The new label is set to be called, simply, Jaboulet-Perrin, with U.S. distribution and other details to be worked out following Vinexpo, the large international wine fair held in Bordeaux later this month.
The new venture is the result of a long search process for Perrin in particular, who has been aiming to produce Northern Rhône wines for several years now. It also comes on the heels of the Perrin’s purchase of Domaine des Tourelles in Gigondas and their constantly expanding operations in Vinsobres and other Southern Rhône appellations outside of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
"For some time, we wanted to do something in the north," said Marc Perrin. "But we absolutely wanted [a] project to be totally separate from Perrin et Fils, which will remain a Southern Rhône specialist."
For more on Marc Perin, reference my most recent Cellar Notes blog entry from my March, 2009 visit.