“The Chave line… could make a fair claim to be France’s winemaking royal family: in no other of France’s great terroirs is the largest individual landholder so deeply rooted in time and place,so supremely competent, and so modest a custodian of insights and craftsmanship of the past.”
-Andrew Jeffords, The New France
Few who cherish the power and perfume of classically made Hermitage & St. Joseph would argue that the greatest red and white examples emerge from the Chave family cellars. The current generations in charge, father Gérard and son Jean-Louis, use their knowledge, experience and spread of lieux-dits to craft wines that combine all the power, longevity, nuance and refinement that the Hermitage hill is capable of.
Spanning the longest stretch of river in the northern Rhone—from Condrieu in the north, to Cornas in the south—the heart of St. Joseph lies directly across the Rhone River from Hermitage. While its soils are basically the same as Hermitage: granite, supplemented by sand and gravel, its east facing slope receives less sunlight than Hermitage, which causes less overall berry ripening on its Syrah vines. However, some of the best of them can rival any fine expression of Hermitage, Cote-Rotie or Cornas with concentrated black fruits, dark spices, crushed rock and violets. A general advantage of the region is that its Syrahs typically don’t need as much time in the bottle compared to a Cote-Rotie or Hermitage and are much easier on the bank account!
2015 Jean-Louis Chave St. Joseph
Wine Spectator 95 Points: Red Alluring, cutting a broad swath, as velvety textured cassis, plum and blackberry puree flavors move through, infused with warm anise, black tea and mesquite notes.The mouthwatering acidity is well-buried through the finish, lending this somewhat weighty wine a mouthwatering character. Best from 2019 through 2028.
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