• Saint-Joseph Value: 2019 Faury Vielles Vignes

    Saint-Joseph Value: 2019 Faury Vielles Vignes

    Death, taxes, & Faury's Saint Joseph Vieilles Vignes. These are the guarantees in life! For years, I've made it no secret that Faury's Saint Joseph Vieilles Vignes is a particular bottle from the Northern Rhone that demands everyone's first look.

    Faury produces the greatest value Syrah from these 1937-planted vines. After a recommended decanting, the wine reveals new layers, and explosive Syrah notes jump out of the glass: Olive tapenade, smoke, black pepper, and violets meet tell-tale blackberry fruit. While other Saint Joseph champions often tip over $100 per bottle, Faury's cuvée remains half the price!

    Philippe Faury first took control of the domaine in 1979, when peach and cherry production was more common from these vignerons. That year marked a shift toward a newfound vineyard focus at the estate. They purchased parcels on the steeply terraced granite vineyards of Côte Rôtie, Saint Joseph, and Condrieu. Today, Philippe works alongside his son Lionel who took the reigns in 2006.

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    Posted by Max Kogod
  • From the margins of Saint Joseph

    From the margins of Saint Joseph

    “The first time I tried Hervé Souhaut’s Syrah. It was one of my many awakenings to natural wine, and I remember grinning ear to ear and saying, ‘What is it that I am feeling/tasting/experiencing? Why am I so happy?!’” — Jenny Lefcourt, Importer

    Though it’s a half-hour drive from St.-Jean de Muzols to Northern Ardèche, the craggy landscape makes Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet feel like it’s on the outskirts of Saint-Joseph, and the wines take on a similar lone-wolf character. Naturalist icon, Hervé Souhaut, was influenced early on by friends Marcel Lapierre in Beaujolais and Philippe Pacalet in Burgundy. He’s become a crowd favorite for his approachable, idiosyncratic Northern Rhône Syrah and Gamay.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2019 Hervé Souhaut Syrah and La Souteronne Gamay, with rare back-vintages to 2005.

    In the early 90s, Hervé and his wife, Béatrice, inherited a 16th-century fortified farmhouse surrounded by old-vine Rhône varieties and Gamay. Hervé turned to his friends Lapierre and Pacalet for guidance and adopted their practices; he farms according to organic and biodynamic principles and, in the cellar, works entirely with whole clusters, semi-carbonic maceration, and minimal sulfur. He delicately extracts the grapes to make wines with subtlety and finesse. 

    In Ardèche, La Souteronne Gamay comes from 60-to-80-year-old vines, and "Syrah" taps vines 10-to-100-yrs-old. The schist of Hervé's home is unlike anything in Saint-Joseph, with its sand-like granular texture falling through your hands. And, the Saint Epine Syrah comes from 100-plus-year-old vines in St.-Jean de Muzols.

    All of the reds undergo long macerations at low temperatures. They're then fermented in wooden tanks and aged in old oak casks on fine lees for a minimum of eight months. Bottled with no filtration and 25ppm of sulphur.

    What Hervé produces is still unashamedly Syrah, but it's shed some of its uptight inhibition. The 2019 Syrah is soft and generous, with varied hues of red fruit that interplay with cowhide, red dust, and velvety tannins. Sainte Epine is a bit more serious, though still lively as ever, and it's known for its bluer, brambly fruit, violet tones, and mineral streak. The region’s cool, rainy climate ensures their freshness over time; with some age, the grip and snap of acidity is toned down, and the fruit melds with more earth and funk.

    “There’s Gamay in the Rhône?” I asked my colleague, Marc, when he poured the 2019 La Souteronne. “Beaujolais isn’t too far,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. He’s right. Actually, it’s a mere 60 km from Beaujolais to the French capital of Syrah. Wine writer Jon Bonné wrote that La Souteronne “remains a benchmark for not-Beaujolais Gamay,” just with an inflection of Rhône. The 2019 French Gamays I’ve had thus far have collectively shown a calm and collected gracefulness, and La Souteronne is no different.

    Posted by Sydney Love
  • No Stone Unturned:  2015 & 2016 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph

    No Stone Unturned: 2015 & 2016 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph

    Since 1481, there have been 16 generations of unbroken lineage at the Chave estate along the Rhone River's towering granite slopes. When we look closely at the birthplace of Syrah there's no name more respected than that of Jean-Louis Chave.

    Today, I'm happy to offer the 2015 & 2016 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph, along with back-vintage Hermitage Rouge and Blanc stretching through 1985.

    Chave's Saint Joseph captures everything that thrills the senses from Northern Rhone Syrah, while offering an immediacy and generosity upon release that Hermitage simply cannot. Each vintage flaunts a huge spectrum of black, blue, and red fruits. Spices range from exotic Indian to cracked black pepper. And the tell-tale notes of violets, olive tapenade, and roasted meats are always on full display.

    However, it's the underlying mineral component from these granite terraced slopes serving as the backbone of Chave's wines. It's this definition that allows the wines to age effortlessly, and makes reaching for another sip habitual. Examples of the Saint Joseph from the late 1990's have floored me for their sense of vivacity, freshness, and still-present regal structure.

    Jean-Louis Chave joined his father Gérard in 1992, following his studies in Enology at UC Davis. Once home, he undertook his primary mission of re-planting the steep slopes of Saint Joseph, as his ancestors had done centuries ago. In fact, it was precisely on this hillside that the domaine officially started in 1481. These vineyards had remained fallow since phylloxera decimated vineyards throughout France in the late 19th century.

    Along with carrying on the tradition of producing the the iconic Hermitage bottlings, Jean-Louis knew that these treacherously steep hillsides in Saint Joseph were capable of producing magnificent wines, and offered a value to consumers that Hermitage could not. 25 years have now passed since these terraces began to be re-built by hand, and vines have been re-planted among the traditional échalas stakes. Today, the results are stunning wines that remind us the root of all success in the Rhone comes from hands-on work and fastidious attention to detail, something the Chave family has personified for hundreds of years.

    Since the Saint Joseph appellation was officially given AOC status in 1956 the boundaries have expanded immensely. It's these choice parcels that represent the best and most serious terroir for the zone. Slopes that the Chave's knew were capable of producing intensely concentrated, structured, and age-worthy Syrah. Land where machines were incapable of working, as everything must be done entirely by hand. 
    Posted by Alexander Rosen
  • 2015 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph: No Stone Unturned

    2015 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph: No Stone Unturned

    Since 1481, there have been 16 generations of unbroken lineage at the Chave estate along the Rhone River's towering granite slopes. When we look closely at the birthplace of Syrah there's no name more respected than that of Jean-Louis Chave.

    Today, I'm very happy to offer the brand new release of Domaine Chave's 2015 Saint Joseph.

    Additionally, this offer covers vintages 1998, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.


    Chave's Saint Joseph captures everything that thrills the senses from Northern Rhone Syrah, while offering an immediacy and generosity upon release that Hermitage simply cannot. Each vintage flaunts a huge spectrum of black, blue, and red fruits. Spices range from exotic Indian to cracked black pepper. And the tell-tale notes of violets, olive tapenade, and roasted meats are always on full display.

    However, it's the underlying mineral component from these granite terraced slopes serving as the backbone of Chave's wines. It's this definition that allows the wines to age effortlessly, and makes reaching for another sip habitual. Examples of the Saint Joseph from the late 1990's have floored me for their sense of vivacity, freshness, and still-present regal structure - Both 1998 and 1999 vintages offered today are in a magical spot.

    Jean-Louis Chave joined his father Gérard in 1992, following his studies in Enology at UC Davis. Once home, he undertook his primary mission of re-planting the steep slopes of Saint Joseph, as his ancestors had done centuries ago. In fact, it was precisely on this hillside that the domaine officially started in 1481. These vineyards had remained fallow since phylloxera decimated vineyards throughout France in the late 19th century.

    Along with carrying on the tradition of producing the the iconic Hermitage bottlings, Jean-Louis knew that these treacherously steep hillsides in Saint Joseph were capable of producing magnificent wines, and offered a value to consumers that Hermitage could not. 25 years have now passed since these terraces began to be re-built by hand, and vines have been re-planted among the traditional échalas stakes. Today, the results are stunning wines that remind us the root of all success in the Rhone comes from hands-on work and fastidious attention to detail, something the Chave family has personified for hundreds of years.

    Since the Saint Joseph appellation was officially given AOC status in 1956 the boundaries have expanded immensely. It's these choice parcels that represent the best and most serious terroir for the zone. Slopes that the Chave's knew were capable of producing intensely concentrated, structured, and age-worthy Syrah. Land where machines were incapable of working, as everything must be done entirely by hand. 


    2015 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph
    $89 per bottle.

    2013 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph
    $79 per bottle.

    2011 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $79 per bottle.

    2010 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $89 per bottle.


    2009 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $89 per bottle.

    1999 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $179 per bottle.

    1998 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $179 per bottle.


    1985 Chave Hermitage Blanc 
    $459 per bottle.
    Posted by Max Kogod
  • No Stone Unturned: Domaine Chave Saint Joseph

    No Stone Unturned: Domaine Chave Saint Joseph

    The Syrahs of Jean-Louis Chave are perhaps the most regal and majestic in the world. No name embodies tradition and grandeur in the Northern Rhone Valley quite like Chave does. Since 1481, there have been 16 generations of unbroken lineage at this estate along the Rhone River's towering granite slopes. Their Hermitage Rouge, and rarer Hermitage Cuvée Cathelin sell for current release prices of $500 and $4,000+ per bottle, respectively. Today, we take a close look at the third red wine in the Domaine Chave lineup, the Saint Joseph Rouge.

    Jean-Louis Chave joined his father Gérard in 1992, following his studies in Enology at UC Davis. Once home, he undertook his primary mission of re-planting the steep slopes of Saint Joseph, as his ancestors had done centuries ago. In fact, it was precisely on this hillside that the domaine officially started in 1481. These vineyards had remained fallow since phylloxera decimated vineyards throughout France in the late 19th century.

    Along with carrying on the tradition of producing the the iconic Hermitage bottlings, Jean-Louis knew that these treacherously steep hillsides in Saint Joseph were capable of producing magnificent wines, and offered a value to consumers that Hermitage could not. 25 years have now passed since these terraces began to be re-built by hand, and vines have been re-planted among the traditional échalas stakes. Today, the results are stunning wines that remind us the root of all success in the Rhone comes from hands-on work and fastidious attention to detail, something the Chave family has personified for hundreds of years.

    Since the Saint Joseph appellation was officially given AOC status in 1956 the boundaries have expanded immensely. It's these choice parcels that represent the best and most serious terroir for the zone. Slopes that the Chave's knew were capable of producing intensely concentrated, structured, and age-worthy Syrah. Land where machines were incapable of working, as everything must be done entirely by hand. 

    Chave's Saint Joseph captures everything that thrills the senses from Northern Rhone Syrah, while offering an immediacy and generosity upon release that Hermitage simply cannot. Each vintage flaunts a huge spectrum of black, blue, and red fruits. Spices range from exotic Indian to cracked black pepper. And the tell-tale notes of violets, lavender, olive tapenade, and roasted meats are always on full display. But, it's the underlying mineral component from these granite slopes that serves as the backbone of Chave's wines. It's this definition that allows the wines to age effortlessly, and makes reaching for another sip habitual. Examples of the Saint Joseph from the late 1990's have floored me for their sense of vivacity, freshness, and still present regal structure.

    2009 Domaein Chave Saint Joseph 
    $72 per bottle.

    2010 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $69 per bottle.

    2011Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $69 per bottle.

    2012 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph 
    $69 per bottle.

    2013 Domaine Chave Saint Joseph

    $69 per bottle.

    Also available:


    1987 Chave Hermitage Rouge 
    $339 per bottle.

    2001 Chave Hermitage Blanc
    $199 per bottle.

    2001 Chave Hermitage Rouge 1.5L
    $799 per bottle.

    2009 Chave Hermitage Rouge

    $499 per bottle.

    Posted by Max Kogod