Saint-Joseph Blanc 2017
Guigal believes, as do a number of top producers working in the area, that Saint-Joseph will be one of the great stories in the next few decades, reaching the renown it received several hundred years ago. Saint-Joseph Blanc is a serious wine, with weight and complexity, and is deeply reflective of its vineyard sites. A seamless balance of freshness and fruitiness, pleasure and interest, and flavors and structure. Guigal’s specialty in whites is especially evident in this wine, as it is almost a deceptively serious wine.
This Saint Joseph Blanc is comprised of fruit from the exceptional vineyards of Domaine J. L. Grippat (purchased in 2000) and de Vallouit (purchased in 2001), as well as some purchased fruit from hillside vineyards, all of the above around the communes of Tournon and Sarras. Guigal only works in the southern area of Saint Joseph, on intensely steep hillside sites that are the origin of the appellation.
Vines average in age from 20 to 50 years, and are planted on limestone and sandy granite soils. In sum, the wine is composed of 95% Marsanne and 5% Roussanne.
Guigal’s Saint-Joseph vineyards are among the best in the appellation, situated on hillsides with complex soils of decomposed granite with limestone and sandy granite topoils.
How Guigal came to own these vineyards needs its own chapter, but we will try to summarize. In short, the Guigals for years wanted to purchase land in Hermitage. Jean-Louis Grippat, considered the best producer in Saint Joseph at the time, had no heirs interested in taking over his family business, and told the Guigals he was going to sell his vineyards, including land he owned in Hermitage. The catch was that the sale was all or nothing; he would not parcel out his vineyard holdings.
Marcel and Philippe drove the 45 minutes down to Saint-Joseph from Côte-Rôtie, and somberly discussed in the car how they would have to explain to Jean-Louis that they were not interested. It was not something they could do over the phone, hence the drive. When they arrived, rather than sitting down for a discussion, Jean-Louis took them right to his Saint-Joseph vineyards. Though they live only 45 minutes north, the Guigals had never seen the region through the eyes of one of its top producers, and never walked vineyards of this quality. They fell in love, and made the purchase. Another portion of the vineyard was acquired when they purchased the spectacular holdings in Hermitage and Saint-Joseph of the De Vallouit family (this time they didn’t need convincing about Saint-Joseph).
Fermentation is in stainless steel, with a slow pressing allowing the wine to stay on its skins. The entire wine goes through malolactic fermentation, and is then aged in a combination stainless steel (50%) and barrel (25% new, 25% second use, all coopered by Guigal at Château d’Ampuis).
Very challenging climatic conditions that prompted harvest 10-15 days earlier than usual. There was not heavy rainfall, despite a few storms in August and September. Though lower yields, the wine produced is of excellent quality. There is a harmony between a beautiful freshness of fruit and creaminess for a dry wine. A remarkable minerality in this vintage.
Brilliant clear straw yellow. A powerful and complex nose, with strong notes of white flowers, and a frame of delicate oak aromas. A clean, supple attack, and a very expressive finish of pear and citrus fruits. Exceptionally fresh and fruity. Round and powerful on the palate.
Suggested Retail Price
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