Delas Frères St. Joseph Sainte-Epine
December 20, 2018, Jeb Dunnuck
“The 2017 Saint Joseph Sainte Epine looks to be brilliant and comes from a terrific site just north of Tournon. Aged in a mix of new and used barrels, it offers notes of crème de cassis, crushed violets, and loads of crushed rock-like minerality. It's fresh, vibrant and focused on the palate, yet has beautiful sweetness of fruit, ripe tannins, and a big finish. It's one of the gems in the vintage and will drink well for a decade or more.”
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 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 Rhônewere regrouped and established under the appellation Saint-Joseph.
This cuvée is a vineyard plot selection only made in the very best years and production is deliberately limited to 4,000 bottles 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. 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 in one half new, one 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