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The Wines

Syrah from Chalaix at Mauves, Le Clos de l’Arbalestrier at Mauves, Bachasson at Lemps, Les Oliviers at Tournon, Dardouille at Tournon, age ranges from 1950s-1960s to early 2000s, 85% destemmed, 3-4 week vinification, aged 2-6 year 228-litre oak casks 12 months, then 12 hl barrels 6 months, unfined, unfiltered, 16-17,000 b

2018 ()

1) (Chalaix, 2000-2003 Syrah, the part that rises to 220 metres, used 228-litre cask) **** dark red; the nose has a thick aroma of blackberry, big, fat lozenges, licorice, black coffee. The palate holds dark berry fruit, perfume of rose-violet, comes with ripe, go-go tannins, lots of spark in its delivery, sound length, salting, notes of chocolate on the exit. “It’s fine, fresh, elegant, shows black olives,” J-L Chave. 21 yrs 2) (Dardouille, 1995 Syrah, more clay so wine is ripe, fleshy, used 228-litre cask) **** very dark; soaked black cherries/griottes airs show on the nose that has evident ripeness, the depth of mulled fruits, nlack olive tapenade. There’s style in the black juice, a lot of black cherry, on the palate, which is very gourmand, runs with polish, is smooth, blue fruits, on the close, hints of iron, salt on the second half. This has structure. 25 yrs 3) (Clos Florentin, granite near the stream, pre-1940s Syrah, used 228-litre cask, 2000 Syrah) ****(*) dark robe; there is a fruit gum ripeness on the nose, stewed red fruits, soaked cherries, a calm elegance. This glides well along the palate, with red berry, mulberry, strawberry flavours, neat, powdered, en finesse tannins. It has a Pinote aspect, a savoury and Burgundian style, is very elegant. “it’s very fine”, J-L Chave. 28 yrs 4) (Bachasson, used 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark robe; blue fruit, black olives, liqueur black fruit airs on the nose. The palate has a cocoa, black fruits presence, granite grip, knuckle, menthol freshness, good racy movement with compact juice on the finish. There is sparkle within this, tight tannins which are a mite demanding. 28 yrs Dec 2019

2017 ()

1) (Clos Florentin, granite near the stream, pre-1940s Syrah, used 228-litre cask, 2000 Syrah) **** dark red; the nose has a floral topping, airs of fruit gums, sweet pastilles, blackberry, serves a good depth. The palate hits the mark, gives expressive black fruits, good zest and flexy tannins, is flattering, easy to appreciate. There’s lively fruit, with good iron towards the finish, the exit clear. “It’s very supple,” J-L Chave. 20 years 2) (Chalaix, 2000-2003 Syrah, the part that rises to 220 metres, used 228-litre cask) **** dark robe; rambling black berry aromas, raspberry/mulberry, cooked berries. The palate serves good, tasty blackberry, has savoury moments, free wheel juice on the second half, is more racy than the first wine, more Rock n’Roll, peps, salt in it. “It’s a bit more black fruited,” J-L Chave. 19 years A percentage of these two will go into the Clos Florentin wine, most into the Domaine Jean-Louis Chave St Jo red. 3) (Dardouille, 1995 Syrah, used 228-litre cask) ****(*) very dark; blackberry fruit holds its ground very well on the nose, along with ink, blood. It’s firm, compelling start. This is high interest wine, has a lovely granite base to it, reaches out well, has real length, the juice thick, sustained. There are crunchy late moments, depth, smoke and rocky fissure. It’s very good. “It’s more a mini-Hermitage than a St Jo,” J-L Chave. 22 years 4) (Bachasson, used 228-litre cask) ***** dark robe. The nose is moving into good shape, is filled up, very sealed, with bounty and promise, dark fruits, violets sprinkled on them. This is serious, thorough St Jo, really well fuelled, a tang of mineral picked up en route. Blood-iron, red meat feature in a very wide and lusty, coursing second half of the palate, notes of pot pourri, dried flowers also. The late palate is impressive. This has a force and a fallibility at the same time, power and delicacy, is most stimulating, has sparkle. The whole bunch ferment suits this well. “It has a big personality,” J-L Chave. “One day I will make it as its own wine on its own, for now it goes into the Domaine J-L Chave blend.” 26 years OVERALL ****(*) 2040-43 Dec 2018

2016

1) (cask, Chalaix, very poor granite, S facing, 2000 Syrah, bottling perhaps Oct 2018) **** dark red. Has a copious, immediate soaked red fruits aroma, heightened raspberry, a thick, fluid bouquet. The palate is on gourmandise, gives a wavy delight, is soft and continuous/ There are threads of mineral freshness/salt. The flavour centres on raspberry liqueur, and the finale is soft, fleshy. 16 years. 2) (Chalaix, richer granite, S-E facing, 2000 Syrah) **** also dark red. Has a grilled, reserved nose, that comes with black cherry, a smoky mystery. The palate presents mineral, red fruits, is sturdy and packed, delivers mulberry fruit towards the finish. Good packing here, no Show Biz. This profound, a solid wine, and the two parts of Chalaix will marry well. From 2021. 18 years 3) Bachasson) ****(*) dark red. Bulls blood, smoke, bacon fat, soaked red cherries mingle in a nose with a real plunge of depth. The palate attacks on copious, rolling black-fruited content, blueberry notably, with great freshness and precision in the tannins. It is a very good, accurate and enjoyable STGT St Jo. The juice has heart. It carries well, and shows violet touches on the aftertaste. From 2021. 19 years. “This vineyard is worked with pick axe by hand; it took me 15 years to build this vineyard, and now it is getting there, as I wish,” Jean-Louis Chave. 4) (Dardouille, granite with a bit of clay, gives big wine) **** full red. The nose lies in wait. Has a salted prune-raspberry aroma, an oily inner, a ripe Pinot noir styling. The palate links very well to the nose, is dense and rolling, has mass. There is iodine late on. This isn’t an evident wine, but does indeed have a big texture, the provider of substance. There’s a touch of rose on the exit. “It will be the cream of the blend,” Jean-Louis Chave. 20 years. Life towards 2034-37 for this Mar 2018

2015

dark red. Wham! The bouquet gives immediate engagement, is curvy, offers really beguiling blackberry fruit, smoked bacon alongside. The palate bears a most pleasing fullness, an array of red fruits, is ripe and rolling, with blueberry towards the finish, a coulis of that, and iodine on the aftertaste. This is mighty good St Joseph, with plump and pleasing content, sparks of mineral, shimmers of rose and violet, licorice at the end. The length is very good, as is the balance. It’s not Grand Vin, which is in keeping with Jean-Louis’ objective, is just darned good, and combines neatly the mineral of the place and the warmth of the vintage. From spring 2020. 2036-38 Mar 2018 Previously Oct 2016 ***** 1) (Clos Florentin, pre-1940s Syrah, some young Syrah used cask) ***** dark red. The bouquet is between Pinot and Grenache, has a shapely aroma of red cherries, soaked griottes, is very elegant, has peppery touches. The palate bears a silken texture, juicy and mellow, its juice fine. There are peppery and floral notes, and the finish is complex. It’s unusual to have a complex finish. It is gentle, complex, a wine of assured depth. 22 years 2) (Le Croissant from Clos Florentin, used cask) **** dark red. Has a challenging, forward nose that is deep and curvy, grounded. The palate gives dark berry fruit, has a pebbly texture, has strength and smoky, rocky close-knit tannin on the end. 23 years 3) Chalaix, used cask) ****(*) dark red. Blackberry fruit with tenacity, crunch, shows on the nose, with licorice. The palate gives black berry cut, neat strength, with blueberry, fresh length, iron on the finish. This is solid wine that carries compressed juice. 21 years. 4) (Baschasson, south facing, decomposed granite, used cask) ****(*) dark red. Blackberry, supple and rounded aroma with pepper and flowers. This is max granite wine: the debut is sinewed, grips very tightly, has knuckle, late strength, and blueberry on the close. Doughty wine. 22 years. OVERALL Likely to be ***** wine, a truly superior St Jo with a quilt of deft contributors, and sparks of cut from its granite, serenaded by the elegant gras of the Clos Florentin. 2036-39 Oct 2016

2014

bottled last month, Sept 2016: full red robe. Raspberry coulis, soaked cherries show in a Burgundian manner on a nose of serene depth, one with a sweet heart, floral notes. The palate issues red fruits, red cherries, gathers mineral and light toffee as it goes. Genuine purity and harmony here. It ends freshly, is aromatic and fine wine with a rounded and pliant texture before its fine tannins come along. “It is fresh,” Jean-Louis Chave. This comes from six different sites. 2030-32 Oct 2016 Previously Dec 2015 **** 1) Chalaix, the continuation of Le Clos de l’Arbalestrier, the name of the stream beside the Clos, young Syrah, 228-litre cask ***(*) full, dark red. The nose is softly centred, gives a plump air of mulberry and blackberry, also licorice, comes with game notes. The palate starts softly, is lightly salted, has a facile roundness, good gras, a squeezy feel. There is some trim late tannin. 12 years. 2) Bachasson, 2004 massale Syrah, 228-litre cask ****(*) dark robe. Licoirce, crushed berries aroma with good lift. The palate is darkly fruited, the fruit glinting, having good cut. This is very long, its juice good, as its freshness. A serious wine. “This is Cornas, Côte-Rôtie quality,” Jean-Louis Chave. 14 years 3) Bachasson, the middle to high part of the hillside, 1996 massale Syrah, very decomposed granite, rich in iron, 228-litre cask ****(*) flowers and lardon, pork cuttings mix together on the nose, a subtle variety in it. The palate is neatly juiced, long and fine. “I will make a cuvée apart of this, but I want a bit more time before doing that,” J-L Chave. 16 years 4) Bachasson, the middle to lower part of the hillside, 1998 massale Syrah 228-litre cask **** dark robe. Has a sleek, mulled fruits air in a gleaming nose, one with a thick depth. This is copious, filled up, scaled wine with evident gras. The finish is coated, round. 15 years. 5) Le Clos de l’Arbalestrier, 1960s Syrah, 228-litre cask ****(*) dark red. Grilled, floral, red fruited nose. The palate offers detailed, trim red fruit, red berries such as garden fruit, strawberry and raspberry. The tannins are fine. Very good nobility of juice here, a liaison with Pinot Noir. “The nose has an air of lilac,” J-L Chave. 16 years. OVERALL ****(*) complex, interesting wine in the making, with a scented finesse and a genuine granite-inspired nature. 2029-31 Dec 2015

2013

very dark robe. The nose is attractive, combines flowers with small black berry fruits airs and licorice. This holds dark, grippy fruit with  also a darkness of tannin. This takes a dead eyed aim – it is direct, purposeful, like an arrow. The fruits have a saline quality, and deliver with an expressive width, leading to a grainy finish. Tight, slow gain wine. This is a true 2013 in style. “2013 is very linear, and could be very good – if you have the flesh to accompany the acidity and life in the wine,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2-31-33 Dec 2015 Previously Jan 2015 ****(*) various elements from different sites: 1) Bachasson, granite, barrel **** dark robe. Crushed fruits, bluberryan authentic and elemental bouquet which shows reduction and rocky tang. The palate is tight, dense, compacted, intense, based on dark berry fruit that comes with cut. The aftertaste is tangy, the length good and clear. 30 hl/ha from massale vines here. 19-21 years. 2) Clos Florentin - Clos de L'Arbalestier, 228-litre cask ***** very dark; the bouquet has a rich heart based on mulberry and blackberry – this is properly rich, and a bit smoky. The palate repeats the gras richness with a fine, persistent tannic run. There is a very close link between nose and palate. It is sustained, thorough, aromatic, darkly-fruited. Good balance, too. About 25 hl/ha. 22 years. 3) Chalaix, the continuation of Le Clos de l’Arblaestier, the name of the stream beside the Clos **** dark robe; crunchy blackberry aroma, strong airs of blackcurrant, violet and rose, and a bit of high tone. The palate is finely fruited, offers good, loose, rolling fruit, and ends on the go. Fine, aromatic, easy wine, that has nice length. 18 years. 4) Dardouille and Les Oliviers together this year because there was so little crop ****(*) lightly floral nose that holds a plumply fruited aroma, along with reduction. The palate has a juicy debut, is tightly packed, bears berried, smoky fruit. The length is good, has a near chewy finale. There is licorice on a sustained exit. “There is some clay in the granite, which means a wine that is powerful, in the direction of a Cornas,” Jean-Louis Chave. 21 years. OVERALL ****(*) the potential here is large – each contributor carries depth, character, and suggest a successful blending will provide a complex, properly deep, sophisticated Saint-Joseph. 2032-34  Jan 2015

2012

dark red, some black tints. The nose is generous – it gives a plush mulberry aroma with blackberry, some game, a grounded backdrop. There is plenty of bouquet here. The palate gives rolling, clear fruit, a good, salty clarity outside a secure heart of prune and a dark berry compote. Glints of granite are suggested. This is definitely a hillside wine with its cut and smoky grip. There is a fine, firm tannin frame around it. It has character, interesting length, is STGT wine. 13.5°. Bottled Sept 2014. From mid-2016. 2025-27  Jan 2015

2011 ()

various elements from different sites: (Les Oliviers, galet stones on clay-limestone top, granite subsoil, 1980s Syrah, 12 hl barrel) **** sound red; frisky red fruit aroma that is live and giving, has a light powdery touch. The palate bears good, fat fruit, has a sunswept gras richness, good heart, is wide spread. 15-17 years. (Bachasson, granite, 12 hl barrel) **** elegant nose – floating air of flowers, raspberry, licorice also. The palate is open and rolling with red cherry, raspberry, is tasty. Good knitting here, and a good, tight and orderly finish from its granite. 16-18 years. (Clos Florentin - Clos de L'Arbalestier, 228-litre cask) **** dark robe; ripe maturity, silky air – the nose is a very neat ensemble, shows red liqueur fruit. The palate has comfortable depth with fine, slightly oily acidity – has a gentle caress style. It builds up interesting tannins which are not suggested by the fruit. This has an intensity, a real spot of darkness at the end. This will provide a core, a big heart, to the final wine. 17 years. (Dardouille, “always powerful wine”, 228-litre oak cask) **** dark red. Roasted, raspberry fruit depth on the nose, followed by a fresh note. The palate is close-knit, robust, has a raspberry jam ripeness of taste, shows some reduction. 17-19 years. OVERALL ****(*) super-solid quality here – a classy domaine Saint-Joseph that will allow terroir to speak clearly. Given a notion of an extra half star on its potential to fuse very well from its blending – the sum being greater than the individual parts.  2028-31. Nov 2012

2010 ()

bright, rather thick red robe, which promises well. There is a silky perfume on the nose, which assembles deep red fruits with a meaty angle, but also a trail of violets and flowers. There is a lurking reduction – that meatiness – and an air of licorice. The nose is potentially complex and varied. The palate presents a finesse in the fruit and the quality of smooth tannin, and comes with a striking length and deep-seated persistence – this goes really long. A wine that is both savoury and fine, which delivers Burgundian Pinot-esque connotations. There is still tar and kick in the tannins on the finish. Very good, a wine which is in no hurry, and is well priced at NOK440 or about £37 in Norway. 13.5°. 2028-30  Sept 2015, Oslo Previously Nov 2013 **** there is a shiny brilliance in a deep, dark robe. The very filled nose, combines a serene depth of black fruit with mineral moments, a really long line of aroma delivered. There is a good undernote of profound earthiness – this isn’t at all a Child of the Granite. Violet, wee floral touches are present, but it is dark enough for an impression of chocolate via its extra thickness from oak. The palate has an enveloping fullness on the attack. This is thick wine, surges away on a full wave of blackberry fruit, not quite into the chunky league. The finale is thorough, wide – take your time with this. There is a touch of blueberry fruit as it ends, with the clarity increased there, with a smoky fullness. I am surprised that this is so opulent – it lacks the subtlety of the granite, and I find it rather geared towards a safe, metropolitan market. It is light years from the Chave St Jo of the 1980s and the 1990s, and not just because the vines have grown up. Fom mid-2016, for example. 13.5°. 2027-30  Nov 2013   Previously Nov 2012 ****(*) dark red; the bouquet is giving – it is led by its mix of raspberry and strong blackberry fruit, shows a tendency to close, comes with smoked bacon notes, a grainy influence from its Dardouille dried soils. The palate starts with a tight grip, holds full, smooth tannins, the red fruit stylish. Has pronounced spine thanks to the tannins, which flourish and “sparkle” well towards the finish. Closing down now. 14°. From late 2014. Bottled Sept 2012.  2028-30  Nov 2012

2008 ()

(large barrel) peppery, live red fruits, sound local bouquet. The palate also has a peppery start, then delivers a plump red fruit, Pinot Noir style moment, before ending a touch loose. The finish is clear and juicy, also shows the Pinot aspect there. A good effort. 2015-16 Dec 2009

2007 ()

good full robe. Blackberry, brilliant fruit aroma, light air of licorice. The palate leads with typical Syrah black fruit, is comfortably ample, more so than the merchant Offerus 2007 St Jo. There are fine tannins, and it is expressive and fat especially at the finish where there is a suggestion of coffee. Satisfying, STGT wine. Can vary well as it evolves. From 2010 spring. 2018-20 Dec 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **** (5 year cask, 1950s, 1970s Syrah from 0.7 ha on Les Oliviers, clay-limestone with some granite) sound red robe; has good, local smoky black fruit aromas – there is tar in this, reminds me of the tar of St Joseph in my youth chez Gustave Coursodon up the road. The palate holds bright black fruit that comes with a good grain and is tasty. It ends on ripe tannins, that are well entwined into the wine. Rose-petal in the taste, too. STGT wine. 12 years. ***(*) (12 hl barrel, 1993-96 Syrah from Dardouille, granite, a little clay) full red robe; the aroma gives out black fruit and chocolate with a snap of spice and pepper. The palate has direct fruit on the attack, with after that early spring out a mid-palate of red fruit that is wholesome. It ends again on the granite clarity. 14 years. This is an engine room wine, in rugby it would play in the centre of the scrum, or as Jean-Louis puts it with no fuss – “it adds structure”. **** (12 hl barrel, 1995-2001 Syrah from Bachasson at Lemps, very decomposed granite – gore) full robe; cassis, blackcurrant fruit that is smoky, nutty and also leans towards flowers. The palate is also floral – violets - has pretty cherry fruit and a bonny, smooth late texture, a caress. This has pretty juice. This is like Côte-Rôtie, the Dardouille element is like Cornas. 13 years. “It is powerful and fine,” Jean-Louis Chave. OVERALL **** a wine of some considerable poise and local character is building up here, a real little star in the making. It is promising, the fruit is very pretty and there is a fine structure within it. Life of 14-16 years in view, to 2020-22. Dec 2008

2006

full, dark red. The bouquet has aromatic raspberry fruit, with violet present – it is a little reductive, but the whole is comfortably assured. There is a grip of black fruit on the attack – the wine is on a pebbly texture today, and is enclosed and subdued. Surrounding the wine is live tannin, while the fruit is infused with a licorice and floral late wisp. From mid-2010: this can sing around 2012 to 2016, for instance. 2020-22. Bottled only 3 days ago, note. Dec 2008 Previously Nov 2007 *** from 2 samples, barrel of 13 hl, Dardouille, with clay present: *** tangy, road tar nose, very typical of Mauves. Bright, gummy fruit, has a real good interior, with licorice edges. . Peppery, crackly tannins. Barrel of 13 hl, 1999 Syrah from the old family site at Lemps *** very wide, expressive nose with some rose petal present. For this young vineyard, shows a lot of quality, is well-founded for its age. Shifts well through the palate, is a mobile wine, has good energy, with refined sides. There is a marked mineral tone on the finish. “Each year, this vineyard is making progress,” J-L.C. Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 *** (cask, from Mauves) agile berry fruit aroma, very typical of Mauves – this is from the new showcase or “vitrine” vineyard there. Good cut on the palate, a three-quarter weight wine with a lot of flowing fruit and good bit of tannin. Length is good. (cask, from Dardouille, Tournon) black fruit, smoky berries on the bouquet. Solid, chunky side to the palate, with game/gibier effects. The tannins are quite ripe and suggest sound integration. Good portents as backbone wine. Dec 2006

2005

(3 casks tasted) a wine of serious structure; packed fruits on the nose, with some refinement. Plenty of stuffing, and present tannins, plenty of them. Drink from 2009 probably. The fruit is clear-toned. Dec 2006

2004

(vat, pre-bottle) nice dark, black cherry robe. Clear, well-expressed black fruits aroma, plenty to come. Really good fruit, delicious pebbly black berries, with an elegant feel. Some tannin creeps in, length good, finish decisive. Good style here. 2013-15. Dec 2005

2003

big, healthy, dark, black-tinted robe. Intense, black berry fruited nose, a little spice, sappy fruit, some high tone from its power. Oak is noticeable. The palate delivers a surge of black fruit, right out there; tannins are present, but are well woven into the wine. This is stylish though the palate, and lasts well with some oak on the finish. Travels well, with no excess fat. The tannins bring a tasty licorice. Air actually tightens it, showing its structure and potential longevity beyond the fruit flush. Allow time for the oak to absorb. From 2008. 2016-18 US$44 at Garnet Liquors, Lexington Ave, Nov 2005, New York

2002

simple, friendly jam fruit bouquet; some spiced fruit, pepper, bit bitter on finish, also dry. Drink early.

2001

attractive, quite complete red robe; the aroma gives red fruit with a gummy, toffee nature – has reserves for the future, also a fresh-toned, green pepper air. Bright pepper and red fruit flavours lead the palate – this has a northern Saint-Joseph taste, is a clear as day wine. It is mineral on both nose and palate from its granite. The length is good, without it being a power house. An upright wine that can offer some magic around 2009-12. STGT wine. 2014-16 Dec 2008 Previously April 2003 ** floral bouquet, soft and supple. Pez sweets flavour, that sweet side. Stylish fruit, back-up of round tannins on finish. Has always held a gentle balance and pretty fruit. 2007-09 April 2003

2000

purple; open aroma, stylish bouquet, gentle black fruits; Pretty fruitiness here, perky on the attack, then tightens. Classically made. Fine juiciness. From 2002-04. To 2008-11

1998

delicate nose, even berry fruits, some fat; rounded, with grip - very much in the house style. Quite firm tannins, a keeping wine. From 2003-04. 2010-12

1995

aromatic, stewed fruit, full palate. Early fruit flourish. Plenty of live, plenty to come at 18 months' old. April 1997

1990

very full robe; good richness, animal tones on bouquet. Dries towards more mineral with air. Tighterand more refined than most St-Josephs on palate. Spiced finale. Fruit has a genuine surround, has been carefully handled. 20 years? Oct 1996