Saint-Joseph Wine

Saint-Joseph Wine

In his 1997 book 'Wines of the Rhône Valley', Robert Parker subtitled the chapter on Saint-Joseph 'In Search of an Identity'. His point was that ill-advised expansion during the 1980s meant that quality was inconsistent and there was a lack of qualitative dependability. Well, he had a point, but as rootstock has matured, there has been a tangible overall improvement and prices have remained accessible compared with other enclaves of the Northern Rhône. That said, it still advisable to buy from winemakers with a good track record and unimpeachable credentials - the Chaves, Graillots and Vernays comply with both criteria.

In addition to their celebrated estate wines, the Chave family also run a successful négociant business using grapes that are surplus to their requirements as well as some carefully-sourced parcels. Their Jean-Louis Chave 'Sélection' bottling of white Saint-Joseph is called 'Circa' and is made from a traditional blend of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne. It has uplifting stone-fruit scents and a smoothly-textured corresponding palate with an elegant, dry finish. A red sibling called 'Offerus' is a pure Syrah that has a beguiling black fruit bouquet and a core of hedgerow fruit with peppery undertones and supple tannins. It drinks well from release but gains complexity with 3-5 years bottle age.

Not to be overlooked is the Chaves' domaine bottling of red Saint-Joseph which comes entirely from their own vine holdings. Typically, 85% of the grapes are de-stemmed prior to a traditional vinification in vat and barrel before blending and bottling. It can drink well on its youthful fruit but is best after being cellared for at least 5 years. With diverse autumnal fruit aromas and a poised palate of dark berries and cherries alongside fine-grained tannins, it makes a terrific introduction to their range.

Christine Vernay, of Condrieu renown, also makes a terrific Saint-Joseph that is evocatively named 'Terres d'encre'. It is made from pure Syrah and is matured in oak barrels for 10 to 12 months prior to filtration and bottling. It drinks well from release and has concentrated dark fruit aromas and a wealth of red and black berry fruit flavours offset by fresh acidity and supple tannins.

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  1. Saint-Joseph: Jean-Louis Chave Sélection 'Offerus' Rouge 2019
    Bottle
    £26.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £315.00
  2. Saint-Joseph: Jean-Louis Chave Sélection 'Circa' Blanc 2020
    Bottle
    £26.25
    Bottle (Case)
    £315.00
  3. Saint-Joseph: Domaine Jean-Louis Chave 2017
    Bottle
    £65.00
    Bottle (Case)
    £780.00
  4. Saint-Joseph: Alain Graillot Rouge 2019
    Bottle
    £29.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £354.00
  5. Saint-Joseph: Domaine Georges Vernay 'Terres d'Encre' 2019
    Bottle
    £42.00
    Bottle (Case)
    £504.00
  6. Saint-Joseph: Equis 2018
    Bottle
    £26.50
    Bottle (Case)
    £318.00
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