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The Wines

Syrah (1910s, with 1950s-1960s) from Le Clos de l’Arbalestrier, with touches of Chalaix sud (small granite soils), Les Côtes (S facing), Chalaix at Mauves, 85% destemmed, 3-4 week vinification, aged 2-6 year 228-litre oak casks 12 months, then 12 hl barrels 6 months, unfined, unfiltered, wine into Domaine J-L Chave St Joseph before 2015, first wine 2015, 2,000-3,000 b

2018 ()

(used 228-litre cask) dark robe; there is a frit 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. 2045-47 Dec 2019

2017

very deep robe; has a dense, thorough, very wide bouquet, the paste of black fruit, olives, toasting, grilled notes, mulberry in the second tier. The palate is large, rich and firm, promising. It has inky density, with persistence, very layered black fruits, low-key succulence. The tannins are tasty, savoury, long. The style is well apart from the classic St Jo. “The tannins are more supple than the classic St Jo’s; it will live on its concentration, the finesse of the tannins and the sun of the place, Le Clos”, J-L Chave. 2,000 b. Bottled Aug 2019. 2044-46 Dec 2019 Previously Dec 2018 **** a partial look at this via 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. This can rate higher once it is all blended together. Dec 2018

2016 ()

(cask) quite a full red robe. Has a really bright nose, a rush of raspberry – it is sunny and full of life. The palate achieves saltiness in its wave of cooked plum fruits, and a good spark of mineral. This is very good, comes with mystery, much to look forward to. It holds very perky juice, and there is a floral note on the finish. “It has class,” J-L Chave. From 2021. 2036-38 Mar 2018

2015 ()

dark red. Light reduction shows in an ample aroma, has an effusive blackberry potential, airs of cooked mulberry, even prune and damp, dark soil. The palate holds a fluid sève or sap, with silk on the texture, very polished tannins. It’s a wine of feel as well as taste. The sap of the old vines controls its form, manner over its granite origins, which play only an occasional hand in odd sparks here and there towards the finish. This is big, has southern leanings, a lot of density. There are soaked cherries flavours on the close. 14°. J-L asked me what I thought, and I replied that I would have preferred the 2016 to have been its first vintage so the terroir could speak more fully and clearly; the 2015 is masked by the extreme vintage effect, and the concurrent density and weight. The 2015 Domaine Chave St Jo is more in line with J-L’s aim of a genuine country wine from these granite slopes. From 2021. 2039-41 Mar 2018