E. Guigal

Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc 2020

Saint-Joseph

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Guigal’s Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc comes from the vineyard that gives the Saint-Joseph appellation its name, and is one of the finest sites in the Northern Rhone Valley. Made in minuscule quantities, the Lieu Dit Blanc is one of the most original and distinctive whites in the Rhone.

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.

VINEYARD

This Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc is comprised of fruit from the exceptional Lieu Dit vineyard previously owned by  Domaine J. L. Grippat (purchased in 2000). Vines average in age from 20 up to 75 years, and are planted on steep slopes of Gneiss with granite.  The white grapes are more specifically planted to 95% Marsanne and 5% Roussanne.

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. 

WINEMAKING

Fermentation is in stainless steel, with a slow pressing allowing the wine to stay on its skins. Aging is in a combination of new (50%) and second use (50%) barrels, all coopered by Guigal at Château d’Ampuis.

VINTAGE

2020 was another drought year in the Northern Rhône, with a warmer than average winter and early budbreak, and despite some rain during this time, the rainfall total for the North was the lowest in 30 or more years. The heat continued through the summer, but without the spikes seen in 2019, and the maturation and development of the crop was even, if rather early. A vintage to enjoy both early and in a few years’ time!

TASTING NOTE

Straw yellow with golden tints. Very complex nose with hazelnuts, yellow fruit and oak accents. Full-bodied attack, with fleshy fruit and a round palate. Balanced with complex aromas and the roundness characteristic of the best sites of the appellation.

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Marsanne, Roussanne

Appellation

Saint-Joseph

Farming

For nearly 4 decades Guigal has used only environmentally sustainable methods of pest, disease and weed control. They work to conserve biological diversity, water resources, soils and ecosystems on their land. Packaging materials are recyclable or biodegradable. Lastly, they are committed to achieving a zero waste target.

Alcohol

14.5%

Suggested Retail Price

$85

Trade Materials

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