Delas Frères St. Joseph Sainte-Épine

Rhône, France

Vintage:2020 (Current)

2019 (Past) |

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Delas Frères St. Joseph Sainte-Épine 2020
  • JD 95
  • WS 94
  • V 93-94
  • VFTC 92+


Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points March 2024, Jeb Dunnuck

“The 2020 Saint Joseph Sainte-Epine is another Hermitage look-alike, with a slightly Bessards-like character in its ripe blue fruits, liquid violets, burning embers, and leather-slanted aromas and flavors. It's more inward, reserved, and focused compared to the François de Tournon but is beautifully concentrated and balanced, with ripe, polished tannins. The purity of fruit here is seriously impressive. It offers plenty of pleasure today yet has another 10-15 years of prime drinking and, I suspect, a gradual decline thereafter. It's slightly more plush and soft compared to the 2015, yet I think at the same quality level.”

View From the Cellar 92+ Points September 2023, John Gilman

“The Sainte-Épine is a single vineyard bottling of Saint-Joseph from Delas, hailing from a hillside vineyard in the commune of Saint-Jean de Muzols, with the soils being stony scree over hard granite. The wine is fermented in cement and raised in oak barrels, with fifty percent new and fifty percent “one wine” casks. The 2020 Sainte-Épine is fairly ripe in this warm vintage, coming in at 14.5 percent octane and delivering a deep and complex bouquet of cassis, dark berries, spitroasted venison, dark soil tones, a touch of coffee grounds, pepper, spicy oak and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is ripe, full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a nice plushness to the fruit on the attack, a fine core, lovely soil signature and grip, fine-grained tannins and a long, complex and promising finish. This carries its octane seamlessly and does not show even a hint of backend heat. Fine juice. 2030-2060.”

Wine Spectator 94 Points February 28, 2023, James Molesworth

“Restrained and tightly focused, this has a sleek mineral edge that carries a core of gently mulled raspberry and black cherry fruit, while light violet, savory and incense hints fill in the background. Sneaky long, too. Best from 2024 through 2034.”

Vinous Media 93-94 Points December 2022, Josh Raynolds

“Brilliant purple color. Pungent dark berries, licorice, smoked meat and potpourri on the highly perfumed nose. Shows very good depth as well as energy on the palate, which offers nervy, spice-accented cassis, bitter cherry and black pepper flavors that become sweeter as the wine opens up. Steadily building tannins frame a very long, focused finish that echoes the floral and smoke notes.”


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 Rhône were regrouped and established under the appellation Saint-Joseph.

Almost a micro-appellation, the south-facing Sainte-Épine hill is an exception. It was once the home to the Commanderie de Sainte-Épine-Lès-Tournon which belonged to the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The Sainte-Épine plot, covering around 2.5 acres in the commune of Saint-Jean de Muzols in the heart of the appellation, has soils of decomposed granite soil resembling that of the Hermitage hill's Les Bessards with the addition of metamorphic schist.There is only one team allowed to pick the grapes in this vineyard: the Delas team. Sainte-Épine's terroir and exposure are among the most coveted in the appellation.

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 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 18 months in oak barrels in one half new, one half one-year-old barrels. The barrels are topped up regularly.

Tasting Notes

The wine has a signature style similar to that of Les Bessards. It contains the vigor of the granite and the "edge" of the schist softened by the suppleness of the deeper, more aerated soils. Its aging in Burgundy barrels polish it to a pebble-like smoothness, giving the wine a caressing mouthfeel. Meaty and mineral, Sainte-Épine is a top-flight Saint-Joseph. Time, once again, will give it its "thickness".

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.

Food Pairing

This wine pairs well with game, marinated beef in sauce, grilled food, green peppers and any kind of cheese.

Technical Information

Varietals: 100% Syrah