Éric Texier > The Wines > Northern Rhône >St Joseph

CÔTES DU RHÔNE
St Joseph
Éric's Saint Joseph is a blend of several Syrah vineyards, all located high on the western hillsides above the River Rhône near the village of Charnas. The acclaimed historian and wine writer John Livingstone-Learmonth writes, "I can think of one place - Charnas, near Limony, where there are 50 hectares of good vineland that should have been allowed originally in the appellation."
St Joseph

-100% Syrah
-Harvest is usually in early October
-A.O.C. Established 15 June 1956 with 921 HA in production today

-Vines are on average 12 years old
-South facing vineyards on the west bank of the Rhône
-Granitic stone-covered soil

Vintage Notes

 

Wines  Éric's Saint Joseph is his most feminine Syrah from the Northern Rhône, combining a fruity nose of cherries and raspberries with tart acidity and light tanins. This versatile wine can enhance the enjoyment of such diverse entrees as a lightly grilled salmon to a juicy grilled steak. You can easily expect this wine to age gracefully for up to 7 years.

 
Saint Joseph

 
Vineyards   The Saint Joseph vineyards are all located on the western bank of the Rhône, high up on the steep hillside. Planted with 95% Syrah and 5% Marsanne, the vines average 12 years old but there is one vineyard with vines that are at least 60 years old.

Terroir  Extending nearly 40 miles, from Condrieu in the north to nearly Valence in the south, Saint Joseph is a long and narrow appellation with a (quite obviously) varied terroir. Éric's vineyards are all in the unofficially designated "Northern" part of the appellation located high on the steep hillsides above the River Rhône, near the village of Charnas. These south facing vineyards are composed of primarily granitic stone-covered soil although a few inlcude very fine schist topsoil.

History  Saint Joseph, the name, comes from a hillside near Tournon although many locals will convincingly argue the name comes from St. Joseph himself, who is reported to be the patron Saint of betrayed husbands.

The locals will also dispute exactly when the first grapes were cultivated in Saint Joseph and in this case it is very difficult to determine. In 1309, wine was first sold in Tournon and Mauves, both villages within the original Saint Joseph appellation. Tournon itself is nearly 1200 years old with the first written mention occurring in 814 AD. Some believe the first wine was made by the local Carmelite monks who cultivated vineyards above Tournon. According to Élie Brault, during the reign of Louis the XII (1498-1515) the only wines served at the Court of France were from the three royal vineyards: Beaune and Chenove in Burgundy and the esteemed Clos de Tournon. The wine continued to be a favorite of the royals and it is recorded that King Henry II (1519-59) kept a personal reserve of several barrels and that Saint Joseph was sold as far away as Rome. Saint Joseph wines even made the theatre with Victor Hugo's Les Misérables where he wrote, ...there was served a bottle of this 'good wine of Mauves' ...but no more than one bottle was brought out because it was 'an expensive wine.'

 

CÔTES DU RHÔNE - St Joseph 2001

2001 began with a mild winter that was followed by a warm and wet spring. Flowering started towards the end of May. August was hot and dry with temperatures reaching 33°C. September was sunny and dry but a little cold. The grapes were harvested on September 27 and 28.

The 2001 is an exceptionally ripe St. Joseph with a big nose that combines cherries and raspberries with tart acidity and light tanins.

 

Blend: 100% Syrah
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume

 

Suggested Aging: Up to 7 years
Cases Produced: 550

 
 

© 2003 Éric Texier