Domaine des Pierres Séches, Saint-Joseph Rouge
Domaine des Pierres Séches, Saint-Joseph Rouge

Domaine des Pierres Séches, Saint-Joseph Rouge

Northern Rhône, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$41.00
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Domaine des Pierres Séches, Saint-Joseph Rouge

As Northern Rhône wine lovers know, the “original” boundaries of the Saint-Joseph appellation included six communes on the west bank of the Rhône, right across the way from the legendary Hermitage hill: Glun, Lemps, Mauves, St. Jean de Muzols, Tournon, and Vion, all of which have similar decomposed granite soils to those of Hermitage right across the river. Sylvain Gauthier shrewdly zeroed in on this area when he began acquiring old-vine parcels for his domaine, even managing to land a choice spot on the Saint-Épine hill that was once farmed by retired Saint-Joseph eminence Raymond Trollat. Originally from Lorraine, in Alsace, where his family had vineyards, Sylvain studied winemaking in Beaune, in Burgundy, and worked under Rhône Valley eminences Michel Chapoutier and Stéphane Robert before striking out on his own.

Although not yet certified, Sylvain is farming organically and doing everything the old-fashioned way in the cellar, and his focused, hands-on approach is immediately recognizable in his wines: The wines are very clean, polished, and deeply extracted, but they have palpable “soul” as well. Put your nose in a glass of this wine and there’s nowhere you could possibly be but the heart of the Northern Rhône.

Sourced from old-vine parcels (10-50 years) in the communes of Sarras, Vion, and Arras-Sur-Rhône, this wine was mostly destemmed (90%) before fermentation in stainless steel using ambient yeast. It was aged only in used French oak barrels and bottled with minimal sulfur, but as always, flawlessness and varietal purity are the calling cards. In the glass, it’s a deep ruby-black with purple reflections, with lots of saturated fruit aromas jumping out first: crushed black raspberry, purple plums, and goji berry meet up with a savory wave of minerals, licorice, baking spices, pepper, soy, and crushed stones. It is medium-plus in body, with a good amount of extract softening the bite of the tannins, but between its grip and its freshness, there’s plenty of structure for aging. It should go 10-15 years with ease, while also providing delicious drinking now if given ample air beforehand: Decant it a good hour before service at 60-65 degrees in Bordeaux stems and pair it with something rustic and hearty. This is the real deal. 

Domaine des Pierres Séches, Saint-Joseph Rouge

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