2016 Saint-Cosme, Saint-Joseph Rouge, Northern Rhone, France.
Louis Barruol’s negociant Saint-Joseph Rouge comes from, as he puts it, one of the most underrated areas of the Rhone Valley, being a great area with steep slopes and ancient granite soils making for usually perfumed and tension filled wines of elegance and vitality. The exceptional vintage 2016, which as per normal is from old 100% Serine clone (ancient local variety of Syrah) and Barruol employed 30% whole cluster fermentation to add complexity and a dynamic quality that can sometime be missing from non-estate grown versions. The wine was aged twelve months in oak with it being 20% in new casks, 40% in casks used once and 40% in casks used for two or three times prior, which is more or less what was used for his medium level AOC wines, like his Crozes-Hermitage and basic Gigondas.
Where as the Crozes-Hermitage was, at this point at least, much more perfumed and racy with a powerful sense of violets, this 2016 Saint-Joseph is more meaty and shows an earthier character, less floral in it’s youth and richer on the palate with layers of blackberry. plum, boysenberry, currant and kirsch fruit along with a hint of leather, tobacco and camphor, as well as a delicate spicy edge that should become more pronounced with age as the baby fat settles and the stems raise the aromatics. Tight and dense, things look to refine and it should reveal a more elegant character with age, best to give this one a few years more before opening. Still, that said, it is hard to find a better bottle of Saint-Joseph for the price than this, even now, so I’d stock up on this one, and if you missed it, don’t panic as rumors have it the 2017 is just as good and is coming out soon.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive