Aymeric Paillard, Saint-Joseph “Petit Père”
Aymeric Paillard, Saint-Joseph “Petit Père”

Aymeric Paillard, Saint-Joseph “Petit Père”

Northern Rhône, France 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$49.00
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Aymeric Paillard, Saint-Joseph “Petit Père”

Aymeric Paillard’s Saint-Joseph is the latest evidence for a theory I’ve long held: that the best winemakers in the world are obsessive, fanatical, even a bit crazy. How else to describe someone who turned down the chance to run his family’s illustrious Champagne estate, drove a camper van around France for two years looking for his ideal terroir, and now farms his chosen land with the sole help of a plow horse? Could this immense talent be the Northern Rhône’s next (micro) superstar? This 2019 “Petit Père” makes a convincing argument!

Today’s offer definitively proves Aymeric’s madness paid off—it’s an explosive, off-the-charts expression of Syrah. Booming black fruits, head-spinning spice and smoke, and a powerful yet lithe body all combine for one of the most seductive Northern Rhône bottlings we’ve offered. Add in the fact that, thanks to Aymeric’s minuscule operation, only a handful of cases ever even make it stateside, and you’ve got a genuinely rare collectible on your hands. Sub-$50 Northern Rhône juice this good is practically unheard of nowadays, so I suggest acting fast. 

Great winemaking runs in Aymeric Paillard’s blood: his father is Bruno Paillard, a highly respected grower-producer in Champagne. Aymeric could have stayed with the family business and been plenty successful, too, but chose to strike out on his own. It took him years to find the terroir that spoke to him; stops along the way included work stints at Château des Sarrins in Provence, Delas Frères in Hermitage, and the legendary Stéphane Ogier in Côte-Rôtie. Still, Aymeric still wasn’t satisfied, so he and his wife loaded up the camper and traveled all over France, searching for the perfect parcel. Ultimately, it was Saint-Joseph, directly across the Rhône River from the hill of Hermitage, that called out to them.

The Paillards set up shop in Tournon, the historical heart and most pedigreed portion of Saint-Joseph. Here, the same granite slopes that imbue Hermitage with its legendary combination of elegance and power are present. Over the past four decades, the Saint-Joseph appellation has been enlarged to include an area reaching all the way north to Côte-Rôtie, but it’s these steep granitic hillsides that originally established its reputation as a Syrah Mecca. Every inch of the 3.7ha Aymeric took over is farmed organically (certified in 2019) and manually by himself and his horse. He counts Saint-Joseph’s most distinguished producers as his Tournon neighbors, including the Gonon brothers and Jean-Louis Chave. His style is all his own, but the same unabashed greatness courses through Aymeric’s wines as in those of these living legends.

The 2019 “Petit Père” was made with partial whole cluster and semi-carbonic maceration before aging for two years in used barriques and 600L casks. Aymeric’s organic vine work and minimal sulfur use in the cellar skew this bottle toward the “natural wine” camp, but it’s über-clean and precise. It pours a brooding opaque purple with a magenta rim, and the nose explodes with every classic Syrah aromatic cranked to 11. There are crushed blackberries, black cherry pit, fresh black raspberry, charred violet, fresh thyme, black rock, and smoky, meaty tones. It perfectly toes the line between rustic and polished, with a sleek, full-body frame and medium-plus tannins underlain with a zip of refreshing acidity. This is soul-stirring stuff, the sort of wine Northern Rhône lovers spend lifetimes hunting for. Already exceedingly rare, we’ve no doubt Aymeric’s wines will soon cross the $75/bottle threshold, so get in the van now!

Aymeric Paillard, Saint-Joseph “Petit Père”




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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