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J L Chave Hermitage Rouge 2015


Hi Rich

JL-L mentions it in his introduction to the Jaboulet wines on his website.
Without "name dropping " lol!, he confirmed it in an email to me this morning!


I see that’s interesting - I’ve also just read the section of his book…’wines workmanlike and lacking both flair and personal touch’


I thought the falling out happened after this and with the Freys themselves? He isn’t the only person to say that Jaboulet went a bit off the reservation between the late 90s and the Freys taking over. I don’t sense he holds a grudge now and my experience of modern Jaboulet through WS has been pretty good.


My sense is that when the Frey’s took over, Caroline Frey did not want to ,make huge changes at the outset. She did over time make changes that will bring the house back to pre-eminence.
This personal assertion can be demonstrated by the universal success of La Chapelle 2015 but not content with that, she ditched her 2nd wine “La Petite Chapelle” which was predicated of wine not of sufficient quality for the grand vin, ergo inferior and renamed it “La Maison Bleue” after a blue house on the hill used for drying grapes. This new wine was not less good production but is sourced from the Eastern part of the Appellation. So we now have 2 top quality cuvees, La Chapelle built for the long haul and La Maison Bleue, still top quality made as more accessible at an earlier age. How good is that!
The contre temps with the Frey’s was not with Caroline but the father, one that J L-L sincerely hopes will fade over time.
I bought the 1999 Chapelle, it should have been great, it wasn’t probably due to the internal family disputes that went on in the Jaboulet family after the sad and early demise of Gerard, the driving force and patriarch at only 55. The over cropping at La Chapelle was a shame and a disgrace to observe, where in one year they produced 100,000 bottles of undistinguished wine, now reduced to 30-35k bottles of top quality product that is sought after.
Caroline Frey has, and is doing wonders at this once great Rhone House, the future only bodes well under her stewardship!


Very interesting - I also realised that I follow Caroline Frey on Instagram!


Hi everyone,

I’ve just been talking to our Fine Wine Manager to try and shed some light on this for you.

As others have pointed out, we have already place a retrospective limit on all orders placed to a maximum of six bottles. We take squarely on the chin the suggestions that we could and probably should have done this in the first instance. However, this is said with the benefit of hindsight: we have not sold out of previous vintages of this wine despite a similar pricing policy relative to the market (we still have stock available for sale of the 2012 & 2011 red online, for example).

As always, we tried to strike the balance between trying to sell the wine through and not selling out too quickly, and making sure we give members the best possible price. It’s a fine balance in some cases, however, and we’re sorry to have disappointed anyone.

I hope this goes some way to explain.

As for future similar releases, as well as the other Chave vintages mentioned above, we have as ever got a varied and exciting range of Fine Wine offerings in the pipeline, including a top-end Rhone offer later in the summer. Plenty to look forward to! :grinning:


oh no… :money_with_wings: :money_with_wings: :money_with_wings:


Hi Laura,

Thank you for you fulsome explanation, appreciated.

The news of an impending “top end Rhone offer” in the late summer not only excites me but also causes a serious whimper from my debit card! lol!

We are in the middle of a golden period from the Rhone Valley with 2015 and 2016 in our cellars AND 2017 yet to be offered. These wines are a fantastic advertisement for the Region, personally I would take a great Rhone vintage over a similar Bordeaux vintage every day of the week. But as long as the wine worlds gaze is on Bordeaux that helps to keep the Rhone prices reasonable(ish). Note if you do your homework, John Livingstone-Learmonth gave Domaine du Cayron 6 Stars, his highest award. Not all tasters agreed with him as Cayron is made in the traditional mould and not the more effusive, “modern” one. J L-L has 40+ years of Rhone Valley tasting experience behind him and for £90 for 6 bottles for the 2016, this was bargain of the century territory! I hope that you got some.

For late comers, I just noticed that in the remaining stock from the Rhone’16 Offer is the Racine Gigondas from Pallieres. £92 for 6, unfined, unfiltered and a very good recommendation from J L-L. A steal at the price and from a Great Southern Rhone Vintage. And yes, I bought some last February! Ask yourself, how often these days do you see a wine that has not been mucked about with?



Thanks very much for your explanation and pass on our thanks to the fine wine guys.

One point that you didn’t cover was the notifications of the offer. Could the email go to a wider group. Maybe those in the Rhône EP offer. I know I didn’t get the mail only seeing it on here.

You will always disappoint someone whatever system you use, just try for the least worse😀


Quite clearly this has been mishandled but much more worrying is that it seems that only a select targeted group received the e-mail . I did not despite having bought a lot of fine wine from TWS for 20 years.

It seems very unclear who is lucky enough to get these e-mails and rather contrary to the spirit of a co- operative for only a small group to be given the opportunity.


Absolutely agree with you - Ever since I joined the Society, I have placed an EP order for Rhone wines. Initially it was purely experimental as I hadn’t tried anything other than the standard CdeR type wines. It’s been a superb 10-12 years of trying the wide range of appellations available and as described, it couldn’t have been any better over the last 3 vintages. Prices are increasing now, but still value for money, IMHO.
Taking some of the 2006 wines out of storage recently (Gigondas Domaine Les Pallières, 2007) I was astounded that I had paid just over £24 for 6… the combined effects of unfashionable area, inflation and better exchange rates, I guess!

Glad that someone else likes Domaine du Cayron - an absolute favourite wine, bought in (almost) all vintages over the last few years. Once aged long enough, it has an amazing nose and is delicious. Without wanting anyone to miss out, I’m also happy if the focus is further to the west…


This seems to be one of the most common gripes raised here, which is why it is surprising that no change seems imminent (unless I’ve missed a response from the Society on this somewhere). Just having a simple “Communication Preferences” page with tick boxes for areas of interest, and whether you’d like to receive any communication via email or post seems so obvious! I’d personally like to get everything, but all via email. TWS seems to take a serious toll on the forests of the world at the moment…


Hi all,

Just a quick word to clear up who gets the email/why. With 150,000 active members, we obviously can’t send these emails to everyone, otherwise we’d have tens of thousands of disappointed members contacting us because it would sell out too quickly. So we have a careful email targeting system where we try to make sure the people who would be most interested (judging from various factors including what they’ve bought in the past) are included in the circulation for each email.

Even with this in place, there’s a risk that the number of people we think would be interested is still quite a high number, and if we email them all at the same time there’s still a risk of disappointing lots and lots of members, which isn’t what we like to do!

So we send the emails in batches a few hours apart so that, if a wine does sell out quickly, we can cancel sending the email to any more members to avoid telling them about a wine that they can no longer order (pointless and unnecessarily disappointing).

Who gets the email first? It’s completely randomised so we can be as fair as possible. Sometimes you’ll be in the first batch, sometimes you won’t - and this way, everyone will get the chance to be the first to hear at least some of the time.

This doesn’t make it any less frustrating when you aren’t able to buy a wine you wanted, of course, but it really is the fairest way to all members concerned. I appreciate there’s lots of disappointment this time around, and we are always trying to improve so rest assured you’re being heard. Sorry again to have disappointed you this time.


Where stocks are very limited, why not just send an email to everyone who has expressed an interest but with a warning that there are only x number of cases available in total? That way expectations are managed but people don’t feel unfairly left out.


Sorry but that is not fair it is very unfair . I did not get an e-mail at all and is contrary to the earlier explanation .

Above it was suggested that the demand was not anticipated and that TWS was surprised it sold out quickly . If that were the case there is no reason to delay e-mails .

Furthermore, there is no explanation as to who receives the e mail . It appears to be totally random.

Why could the wine not have been saved for sale until the next TWS Fine Wine list ?


When stocks are limited why not have an EP style offer process; after the close date, then simply draw the lucky recipients randomly? I also favour a random draw over the current EP algorithm…


I honestly think that whatever the WS does, it will be open to criticism.
Whenever wine is in short or miniscule supply, there must be members who are disappointed.
In 2015 & 16 Rhone EP campaigns I got knocked back with some of my requests.
That’s just normal.
The saving grace is that I know that the WS has had this headache for maybe 100 years, what we have today is the 21st Century 's iteration and distillation of what is fairest.
And to be perfectly honest, if I sat down and tried to devise an allocation system that was better than the one that we have currently in place, even if I was blessed with a brain the size of Saturn, the computing power of NASA or the Met Office and the Wisdom of Solomon; I’m not sure that I could do better.
Except of course that the wine should have been put on allocation from the outset.


This is only grape juice, and I apologise if my earlier post appeared aggressive to TWS and it’s staff in any way. I would only say that the natural home for this wine would appear to be the Rhône EP, which I understand used to be the case.


…Now only by the bottle

What they could call the offer?


In no particular order, let me just take a moment to respond to as many of your questions/suggestions as possible. Thanks as ever for your enthusiasm and passion about how we do things here at your Society! :smiley:

You raise a good point - we do try to warn people when stocks are low when we anticipate a wine will sell out - on this occasion, we massively under-estimated how quickly this would fly off the shelves. It really did come as a shock to us based on how previous vintages of this offer had performed!

I am happy to confirm the initial explanation is correct - we didn’t anticipate to sell out of this wine. But we send lots of emails in batches now so we can manage expectations when things sell unexpectedly quickly - it wasn’t a special case for this email.

I did explain above, but you may have missed it, so sorry about that - we have a targeted system based on a variety of factors including people’s purchasing habits to try our best to make sure the people who are most interested will get to see the email. Of course, it isn’t foolproof, but it is something we work really hard to get right as much as we can - we care about it being fair as much you do.

The FWL goes out to a huge number of people - and would have caused disappointment on a much larger scale. And Mailings are also staggered (just like emails) and it also depends on your local postal service etc - so it’s even more hit-and-miss as to who would receive it first, unfortunately. I don’t think that would have worked out fairer.

This is essentially what it boils down to. If we’d known the demand would be this huge, we probably would have done things differently. Whenever situations like this occur, we really do work hard to make it better next time - it really never is our intention to disappoint our members. We listen to all criticism and try to find ways to improve the way we do things, and this will be no exception - we will be considering doing future vintages via a smaller bottle allocation per member, among other potential solutions, depending on what we think will work best/be fairest at the time.

This is something we’re working towards improving. Although, if you contact Member Services they can already set your preferences to email rather than post, if you don’t want any more paper literature. Hope that helps! :smiley:

Hope this answers your questions, all. Unfortunately there really isn’t anything more we can do about this offer now the wine has sold out - so sincere apologies again if you weren’t able to get some - but feel free to continue the discussion here and we’ll continue to take your feedback on board.