Delas Frères St. Joseph Sainte-Epine
December 20, 2018, Jeb Dunnuck
“Always one of the wines of the appellation, the 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte Epine from Delas comes from a terrific terroir just north of Tournon. This is a sunny yet cooler, windy region of pure granite soils, and the wine spent 16 months in new and once-used barrels. Saturated purple-colored, with lots of cassis, crushed violets, and liquid rock aromas and flavors, it's seamless and elegant on the palate, with beautiful finesse in its tannins and rocking purity of fruit. This beauty just glides across the palate, is medium-bodied, impeccably balanced, and a classic Northern Rhône Syrah that will keep for a decade.”
August 29, 2018, James Suckling
“Assertive oak. Toasty and meaty notes, sitting across ripe, dark plums and blackberries with a wealth of pepper and hard, brown spices. The palate has crunchy and almost chalky texture. Supple and even. Handy length. Barrel sample.”
July 25, 2018, James Molesworth
“Dark and winey, featuring a deep core of red and black currant fruit steeped gently with anise and apple wood notes. The finish lets a bright iron edge run through. There’s lots to like here. Drink now through 2026.”
June 2018, Josh Raynolds
“Inky ruby. Intense blackberry, cherry and violet aromas are complicated by suggestions of licorice, earth and olive paste. Spicy and incisive on the palate, offering gently sweet, smoke-tinged dark berry and spicecake flavors that deepen and spread out steadily on the back half. Smoothly marries power and finesse and finishes impressively long and spicy, with supple tannins coming in late.”
The Wine Advocate
December 29, 2017, Joe Czerwinski
“The Delas wines are among the best in Saint Joseph, and the 2016 Saint Joseph Sainte-Epine doesn't miss a beat. It shows spicy-herbal complexity on the nose, combined with ripe black cherries. Medium to full-bodied, it's supple, plush and long. It should be a beauty, capable of rivaling the impressive 2015.”
This 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. This cuvée is a vineyard plot selection. Grapes come exclusively from the plot known as “Sainte-Épine,” a south-facing slope hillside on the commune of Saint-Jean de Muzols, in the heart of the Saint-Joseph appellation. It is only made in the very best years and its production is deliberately limited to 4,000 bottles (75 cl.) per year.
The grapes for this wine come from a single plot selection of “Sainte-Épine,” which forms a south-facing slope hillside on the commune of Saint-Jean de Muzols in the heart of the appellation. The vineyards of Saint-Joseph stretch more than 35 miles along the right bank of the Rhône river, from Chavanay in the north, to Guilherand in the south. The soil is light and gravelly, comprised of schist and gneiss rock over a granite base. The climate is moderate, with hot, dry summers and normal rainfall the rest of the year. The vineyards have southern and southeastern sun exposure. The “Sainte-Épine” grapes are harvested by hand, at optimum maturity. Fermentation takes place in traditional, open-topped concrete tanks, after three days of pre-fermentary skin contact at cool temperatures. Maceration continues at controlled temperatures of 82°F to 86°F (28°C to 30°C). Daily cap pressing and pumping takes place for about 10 days, with a total maceration period of up to 20 days. The wine is aged for 14 to 16 months in oak barrels - half new, half one year old barrels. The barrels are topped up regularly.
The wine has a deep ruby color with purple tinges. Its nose shows aromas of blackberries and spices, lifted by some mineral and gently wooded notes. Well concentrated, this has pure flavors that come to the palate in successive layers of varying aromas, all of equal intensity.
This wine pairs well with game, marinated beef in sauce, grilled food, green peppers and any kind of cheese.
Varietals: 100% Syrah
Wine Alcohol: 13%
Suggested Retail Price: $69.99