Dark and Bright. Most wine with dark, inky color is heavy and rich; and most light colored wines are also light in body. But these rules don’t always apply. In the Northern Rhône Valley winemakers grow Syrah at its northern limit, producing reds with intense, dark flavor, but balanced lively mouth feel.
The appellation Saint-Joseph occupies most of the region between Côte Rôtie in the north and Hermitage in the south. Saint-Joseph produces dense, dark syrah like its famous neighbors, but with a touch less extraction and an earlier drinking window. And, while some Côte Rôtie and Hermitage can exceed $250/bottle at release, there’s value to be found in Saint Joseph.
Balance. Denis Basset is a young winemaker based in Crozes-Hermitage, recently listed by Decanter and the Guide Hachette in describing a dynamic new generation of Crozes-Hermitage winemakers. His plot in Saint-Joseph covers only an acre, and bears the name Abimes de l’Enfer (the “Abyss of Hell”) for its vertiginous slope.
Basset’s 2014 Saint-Joseph is already beautiful. The nose shows spices, violets and intense black pepper; the mouth shows blackberry jam with notes of roasted meat and licorice. This intense wine clocks in at only 13% alcohol, so while it’s mouthfilling and chewy, there’s not a bit of heaviness.
This should age nicely, but from a ripe year like 2014 it’s already drinking well. Decant for a half hour to allow the array of dark spices — anise, cloves, tobacco — to melt into the cool rustic fruit. Serve this alongside a roasted spring lamb with rosemary and mint, or something smoky from the grill.
SAINT CLAIR Saint-Joseph 2014
Ansonia Retail: $32
case, half-case: $26/bot
AVAILABLE IN 6- AND 12- BOTTLE LOTS
or call Tom: (617) 249-3657
Sign up to receive these posts in your inbox:
Terms of sale. Ansonia Wines MA sells wine to individual consumers who are 21 or more years of age, for personal consumption and not for resale. All sales are completed and title passes to purchasers in Massachusetts. Ansonia Wines MA arranges for shipping on behalf of its customers upon request and where applicable laws permit.