Many of the best made wines in the world come from the northern Rhône Valley of France, particularly from appellations like Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas. The finest of these wines are produced from vineyards that are precariously perched on cliffs overlooking the Rhône River below. These vineyards are very labour intensive which partly accounts for their elevated prices. More importantly perhaps is the fact that these wines are made in minute quantities, making them rare and expensive. Furthermore, these wines generally demand that you be patient; bottle aging, sometimes for decades is de rigeur. The wine consumer can be thankful then for the existence of St. Joseph, a northern Rhône appellation that beautifully captures the essence of these iconic wines but in a more open and approachable (and affordable) manner. As an added bonus, the wines of St. Joseph don’t require as much aging before they can be fully appreciated.
The Saint-Joseph vineyards sit upon the 45th parallel, planted on steep hillsides that have been carved into terraces since ancient times. Today, the appellation is known for its red wines made using Syrah grapes. These wines are both strong flavoured and refined, expressing notes of pepper and spices, often accompanied by notes of violet mixed with minerals. It is the Syrah grapes that give Saint-Joseph wines their fine, darkly aromatic personality.
On offer this week is the 2013 Vidal Fleury St. Joseph. Vidal-Fleury is the Rhône Valley’s oldest continuosly-operating winery, established in 1781. One of their first customers was noted oenophile, Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. Today, head winemaker Guy Sarton du Jonchay oversees production of all wines in a modern state-of-the-art winery located in Ampuis. Last October I was privileged to spend an entire day with Guy, walking the vineyards in Côte Rôtie, touring the winery and tasting the entire Vidal-Fleury range of wines. A most enjoyable experience!
The 2013 Vidal Fleury St. Joseph is available for immediate delivery. There are only 15 cases available. This is another rare gem that is sure to please with a Fall dinner. To order, simply e-mail or telephone