La Chapelle - a pilgrimage

When I woke up in Lyon, I was sensing something was wrong, the usual blinding light of day wasn’t streaming through the curtains and on sticking my head out it was rainy, overcast and generally gloomy. On the train trip down I could barely see the vineyards on the hillsides which were barely 500M away due to fog and low clouds. Not to mention I had no jumper/umbrella, I’d lost my jumper somewhere on the trip.

The Weather App was showing promise for the afternoon although I thought it was being very optimistic. So I trudged through the rain down to the Chapoutier Tasting/Showroom. The wines were very good on the mid-tier brackets although I didn’t get to try the iconic ones which are now 400-800 Euro a bottle. I loved the soil examples built into the floor.

Then to the tourist office enquiring if the Tourist Train was running, no chance in this weather (this was to be my easy way up to La Chapelle). So I headed to Paul Jaboulet to kill a bit of time hopefully and get to taste one of my favourite wines.

I did the tasting and propped myself up on the bar and got chatty with the girl their as she went through the various wines, so she started giving me a few more wines and a mini-La Chapelle vertical for good measure. There was also a young guy on his first day at the bar trying to do his best, he was doing all the Charcuterie I was ordering and being very generous on the amounts.

The 2007, 2011 La Chapelle were both very good, really approachable even at this young age (for them). They also had a Cote Rotie they make and that was great.

So by now I’ve been there about 2 hours and starting to get pretty tipsy, the next tourist train wasn’t until 3pm (2 hours away) and no guarantee of running. So I thought if it is good enough for Gaspard (Story of La Chapelle to do the walk I should do the same (classic ‘Hold my beer’ moment) and the guys at the bar said the ‘only’ way to do it is straight through the vineyards and not via the dirt road that winds its way up. So with my Paul Jaboulet showbag in hand I set off half drunk, the rain by now had stopped and although still very humid it was better I guess than a hot day.

About half way up, I am saying things about Gaspards mother and why she had him, I’ve never ‘stopped’ for so many photos before – although there were some stunning vistas. The loose limestone and granite rocks made it hard work and not to mention slippery, my calves were asking what they did to deserve this, and my lungs were saying things to make a wharfie blush. (bear in mind, I’m fat and unfit at the moment and half drunk)

Seeing the iconic vines of Chapoutier’s l’Ermite wines and La Chapelle (which incidentally are not around the Chapel but further down the hill) was pretty special and I got a new appreciation of just how steep the vineyards are. I marked a couple of photos in Red to show my route up.

After about an hour of climbing I finally did it and the view is amazing. I sat there all by myself for about 30mins on the park bench admiring it, it is so quiet and serene up there - until a family came along who had come up by car and then the spell was broken. I walked back down via the dirt roads which are a lot more obvious from above.

In all a great day for me as a wine lover.

What a fun post. I loved the pictures and am envious of your pilgrimage!


Wow-Thanks for writing this up and for the spectacular pictures.

Looks like an amazing trip! I’ll have to go there myself some day.

Those Chapoutier prices seem very strange though - that’s triple the price on the secondary market (double from the merchants with typically big markups). Is the price per 3?

Great story and photos. Almost felt like being there.

Thank you for a great post with wonderful pictures. And well done making your way to the top [welldone.gif]

Having a fanatical appreciation for the Rhone Valley and its’ wines, your photography was sensational and inspirational!

Personally, there is nothing in the wine world to equal a 30/40+ year old, from a great vintage (ripe), crafted by one of the great winemakers of the region, Hermitage rouge wine.

Through your writing and photography, felt like I was with you!

Thank you for posting!

Smokes, you win the internet today! That was awesome. Thanks taking the time to post all those pics!

Cool pics and story, thanks for posting them Dave!

Great photos & story!! Thanks & Aloha!