1938 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côte-Rôtie


When someone whispers into your ear, particularly my ear, that you will never drink this bottle again, the aforementioned ear perks up. The 1938 Côte-Rôtie from Paul Jaboulet Aîné had lived its entire life in a cool dank cellar over in the West Country, so factor in perfect provenance. Though the bottle states Jaboulet on the label, it is more accurate to look at this as an amalgamation of all the growers in Côte-Rôtie at the time since hardly any bottled themselves.

The 1938 is faded in color, as you would expect, yet lucid and clean. The bouquet is heaven-sent, unfolding with gorgeous vestiges of red fruit, fennel, white pepper and brown autumn leaves. Of course, it is not powerful, yet the delineation of aromas is captivating. The palate follows in a similar vein. Light, yet it still exerts weight in the mouth, perfectly balanced, hints of thyme infusing the light red fruit, almost Burgundian in style but with a tad more pepperiness on the finish. There is just something magical about this bottle, perhaps partly deriving from the fact that it might well constitute the last remaining unopened example and that this would be my solitary acquaintance. Magical. 97/Drink 2024-2030.

© 2024, Vinous. No portion of this article may be copied, shared or re-distributed without prior consent from Vinous. Doing so is not only a violation of our copyright, but also threatens the survival of independent wine criticism.