Delas Frères St. Joseph ‘Francois de Tournon’
December 20, 2018, Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2017 Saint Joseph François De Tournon is cut from the same cloth and has rocking notes of crème de cassis and crushed blackberries to go with obvious minerality, violets, and earthy notes. Deep, rounded, and opulent on the palate, it has remarkable purity of fruit, fine tannins, and considerable charm. It's slightly more rounded and sexier than the Sainte Epine release and will keep for a decade.”
The ancient vineyards of Saint-Joseph, planted almost exclusively with Syrah, cover more than 600 acres on the right bank of the Rhône river. The vineyard stretches from Chavanay in the north, to Guilherand in the south – it covers 23 "communes" in the Ardèche region, and three in the Loire. The grapes are planted in terraces on the rocky granite hillsides, where Delas selects only the best grapes for this cuvée. The "Francois de Tournon" is a blend of grapes from the terroirs of Vion, Saint-Jean de Muzols, Mauves and Tournon.
Exposure is south and south-east and the soils consist of light schist and gneiss over a granite bedrock. The climate is moderately continental, with hot and dry summers, and normal rainfall the rest of the year. The wine was reputed in the 16th century for its delicacy, and was poured at the table of the kings of France. It was the Jesuits (a monk community) of Tournon who gave the area its current name, in the 17th century. Between 1956 and 1969, all the vineyards from this area which used to be named Côtes du Rhône were regrouped and established under the appellation Saint-Joseph.
The grapes for this cuvée are picked by hand at optimum ripeness. Fermentation is traditional in open-topped concrete tanks, and is preceded by two days of cold maceration. It is conducted at controlled temperatures of 82°F to 86°F. Daily cap pushing down and pumping over are carried out for about 10 days. The total vatting time lasts up to 20 days. After drawing-off and pressing, malolactic fermentation takes place in oak barrels. The wine is matured between 10 to 14 months in oak barrels of one to three years of age. Part of the cuvée is aged in vats to preserve the freshness of the fruit.
The color is a deep, dark ruby red with a garnet reflection. The nose is clearly marked by delicate aromas of cassis and spices. On the palate, this cuvée shows a smooth and voluptuous texture that masks a good tannic structure, fine and silky. this wine has great potential for aging.
This wine pairs well with fine meats, spicy stews, grilled meats, game and any kind of cheese.
Varietals: 100% Syrah
Wine Alcohol: 13%
Suggested Retail Price: $37.99