LVT 2019 wh 2019 r There has been a gentle up curve in quality here, with son Anthony stoking some of the fires, and concentrating more on the quality of the whites, which were not his late father Alain's prime consideration; Alain died from a sudden, savage cancer in the spring of 2013, in his early 60s. Anthony's own wine is the Seyssuel red Serinae - made from the schist near Vienne, 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. His 100% Syrah Seyssuel, called Sublinae, was a cracking VALUE ****(*) wine in 2015.
The Condrieu Les Ceps du Nébadon is now stylish under Anthony's hand, a tender wine. The Condrieu Lys de Volan is more intricate, a big, mineral, emphatic wine best drunk after two to three years: it is one of the most long-lived Condrieus - the 2016 is a ****(*) wine that will run to 2026-28, the 2018 a **** likely to run towards 2031-33. The Saint-Joseph reds are modern styled, with the Larmes du Père capable of local expression. Alain's previous partner at Condrieu was Gérard Depardieu, the French cinema actor, and, more recently, Marcel Guigal, who has a share in the Volan vineyard and bought the Depardieu share.
LVT 2018 wh 2016 r Plenty of promise shown in his very early days by this ex pupil of the Beaune Wine School who has worked with François Villard. At first, there were the usual issue with many young growers of judging the oak imprint on the wine, which could have been moderated. Aurélien has now found his groove, and the wines are wholesome and natural - they come recommended. His 2015 Côte-Rôtie, made from young 2007 vines, was a ****(*) wine with flair, while the 2016 Condrieu was a nourishing and natural **** wine, and the tender, greatly charming St Jo white 2016 also a **** wine. The St Jo blanc in 2018 reflected Aurélien's leaning towards richness, being a fuelled, voluptuous **** wine, with plenty of ripe Roussanne in it.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh 2018 rosé Benoît Roseau’s family cultivated vineyards in Algeria; his father worked on a transmitting antenna on Mont Pilat, and Benoît was born in the house he now occupies in the foothills of Pilat near Pélussin. He passed exams to be an agricultural engineer, but found it wasn’t for him. He was then manager of the Domaine de Ceyrac in the Gard (30), which grew vines and cereals. In 2007, 2009 and 2010 he vinified chez Domaine de Bonserine outside Ampuis, as well as working a little at de Boisseyt-Chol in Chavanay.
He planted his first vines in 2010, 0.5 hectare of Chardonnay and Roussanne around the family home at 400 metres. He now works about four hectares; he has scooped up plots here and there – 0.2 ha of Condrieu (1986 Viognier) bought in 2013, 0.24 hectare of scrubland on the Coteaux de Tupin planted in 2014. This 0.24 hectare of Côte-Rôtie was thanks to a small announcement advertisement that he put in the paper. The main slice is Saint-Joseph – 1.1 hectares of Syrah at Serrières, part rented, part owned after planting from zero, and 0.28 hectare of white on the plateau above Saint-Désirat.
He also runs a merchant business to vinify purchased crop from Northern Rhône appellations – Saint-Péray, Cornas and a Côte-Rôtie.
Benoît works with wild yeasts in his clay-straw and bottle based cellar constructed in 2017. There is no SO2 used during the vinification. There are now around 16,000 bottles a year. He has a fine touch with the whites, which are calm and natural, from the IGP Collines Rhodaniennes up to the Condrieu from Vérin. The reds are more mixed, the two Saint-Joseph reds fair, hints of exertion in them, the use of stems in the older vine Patagone overwhelming the finish of the 2018. The 2017 Côte-Rôtie was a naked, true ***(*) wine, only 700 bottles of it, though. There is an agreeable, table-friendly IGP Syrah rosé as well.
LVT 2017 r 2018 wh I sense an easing of the extraction here - good. A modern techniques domaine, but they have backed off recently, resulting in softer, finer whites than before. As a result, they are much more drinkable, and touch the pleasure button well. The Saint-Joseph Vignoble de la Tour d'Arras - 100% Roussanne - was a fleshy, genuine **** wine, for la table, in 2015. Both 2015 Saint-Joseph reds were very good - the slightly more expensive Les Traverses a ****(*), intense wine with character, and the Vignoble de la Tour d'Arras red a nourishing **** wine. The Traverses 2016 was also good and generous, a **** wine.
Pascal and Catherine are supporters of the Roussanne - their Saint-Péray comes from 2011 and 2014 Roussanne, with the 2017 a lovely caressing **** wine, very good from such young vines. Oak use is less evident since the late 2000s. The quality of the IGP Viogniers and red is good.
LVT 2017 wh 2015 r An organic domaine. Clean Condrieu, at times even a little spartan, though the 2015 Authentic was rich and rolling, a **** wine. The organic St-Joseph La Madone is some way ahead of the regular red. Clear, dry-toned wines reflect the style of the northern St-Joseph sector. The 2014 and 2015 white St Jos called Granit were good, both **** wines. The wines are mostly organic
Business-driven Co-operative, with sales to leading name local négociants providing them with important trade. The bottled wines are very modern, very oaked, very extracted. Many of the casks have been burnt by St-Desirat, which now faces the heavy task of selling the enormous amount of very ordinary wine that was hanging around in the cellars when they went bust.
LVT 2016 r 2016 wh A Franco-American partnership, started in 2011. Julien is the nephew of Jean-Louis Grippat, the consummate quality vigneron of Tournon in my youth, who sold his vineyard, notably the Vignes de l’Hospice, to Guigal when taking slightly early retirement after the 2000 vintage. They make Saint-Joseph red and white, northern sector, granite Crozes-Hermitage red, and Saint-Péray. 2014 shows the Crozes-Hermitage red in a very good light. The 2014 Saint-Péray Gemini was an en finesse ***(*) wine, with carbonic gas present, the 2016 Gemini a nourishing **** wine. The 2018 St Jo blanc Victoria, 100% Marsanne, was extremely pared back, very New Wave, bearing just 12° on the label, a tricky assignment to love it.
LVT 2017 r Aurélien’s father Sébastien was mostly a fruit grower, centred on apricots (450 tons a year), until his death in 2017, which prompted Sébastien to take out the apricot trees. In 2005 Aurélien started to plant vines on the limestone soils of Les Machons at Châteaubourg. His wife Sarah (maiden name Vigne) is from Mauves. His first St Joseph red was in 2008, with from 2015 a Cuvée Les Machons that includes late 1990s Syrah. There is also a Cornas from 0.5 hectare on Combe, on the border with Saint-Péray, its Syrah planted in 2012. The reds are relaxed and lucid, natural country wines, with oaking not on Aurélien’s agenda. A white Saint-Joseph from 0.5 hectare will be coming on stream, half Roussanne, half Marsanne.
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r Has been one of the best Co-operatives in the Rhône Valley over many years. After a dip in the late 2000s, connected to the collapse of the Cave de Sarras, there have been more encouraging signs from 2012 and more especially 2013. By 2006 it was accounting for over 45% of all St-Joseph, following the bankruptcy of the other main St-Joseph Co-operative, the Cave de Sarras. The wines are made in a more modern style these days, and oak use is apparent on the more expensive reds, as well as the Condrieu. The Tradition Saint-Joseph red is easy to drink, and not noticeably oaked, while the Rochevine has pretty natural depth. The Septentrio St Jo red is very oaked. The Saint Joseph Côte Diane red is the best of the range, the 2016 a commendable, easy to drink ***(*) wine, the 2018 an exuberant, nicely long **** wine. The white St-Josephs are agreeable, suited for early drinking.
LVT 2006 r A quietly keen young grower. David set up on his own in 2000. His uncle has a 7-hectare vineyard in the southern Ardèche. Vineyard treatments are organic. There is supple fruit in the red, typical of the southern Saint-Joseph sector. There are some STGT leanings, and I like the lack of fuss in the wines. He also grows apricots and cherries.
LVT 2017 r 2016 wh Unassuming winemaker, who worked for two years chez André Perret; the wines show some progress but need more consistency. The style is natural, unforced - country wines here. The whites, led by Condrieu and Saint-Joseph are malo completed, the Saint-Joseph at 60% of the Condrieu price better value [the Condrieu is mainly 1995, with some 1986 Viognier]
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Good, steady progress at this domaine, with a switched-on son, Anthony, an enthusiastic recent contributor. Father Louis was at the Cave Co-operative of Péage-de-Roussillon. Measures taken since the mid-2010s - more working of the soils, inclusion of stems in the hot vintages, and increasing the cask size to 600-litres or demi-muids for the top Muletiers - have combined with a maturing vineyard to usher forward wines of increased poise and elegance.
The red St-Joseph Muletiers is based on 1965-1970 Syrah, and really hit its stride in 2018, which gave a classy, refined ****(*) wine. The white St-Joseph Méribets, 80% Roussanne mainly from the early 1990s, therefore growing up now, has been a sound wine, but really hit the mark in the hot 2018 vintage, when it was a ****(*) wine, grounded and wholesome. The Condrieu Rouelle-Midi has improved recently as the vineyard has grown up, the 2013 ****(*) STGT, and the 2015 and 2016 both ***(*) wines
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh An extremely good domaine for very classy white wines that combine Marsanne and Roussanne. Their Saint-Péray holding rose in 2006 when their cousin Pierre Darona retired. The special whites - Le Berceau Saint-Joseph and Figuiers Saint-Péray - demand some ageing to integrate their oak. They are fine and well-structured, the Le Berceau St Jo blanc an impressive ***** wine in 2015, the 2018 Figuiers a ****(*) wine. The red Saint-Josephs are full, if a little rigorous at the outset. The Berceau is spicy and chewy, a wine that can live for 15 years. There is also a great VALUE Vin de France called Cerise, 60% Carbernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, a **** wine of serious depth in 2018. This is a top domaine at Saint-Joseph and Saint-Péray, and the wines can be followed with confidence.
LVT 2017 r 2016 wh Roger Blachon died in 2007, and his widow Marytine, son Sylvain and daughter Délphine have gamely continued with these traditional wines. A new cuvée, the Hommage to Roger Blachon, was introduced with the 2006 vintage. When the wines are on song, they are true to their place, and nicely unpretentious. However, they lack consistency and can be rustic. This is frustrating because the vineyards are on some of the best terroirs at Mauves and also Tournon.
LVT 2018 wh 2019 r A domaine capable of progress and greater consistency in the coming years. There are now 7.5 ha of Saint-Joseph Syrah, 2.5 ha of white. The vineyards are mainly above and around the water jousting capital of the Rhône, Serrières, with some on the good hillside of Rochevigne at Saint-Désirat. The oldest Syrah dates from the 1950s, and goes into the all new oak, overly oaked, St Jo red called Extrêm.
Son Guillaume, who has worked in Canada and Australia, joined the domaine in 2018. The approach is natural, not forced for the pleasing range of whites - the 75% Marsanne St Jo blanc is a gentle country wine suited to la table. In the late 2010s, the new and young oak use on the Condrieu has been reduced, as it has for the Saint-Joseph reds. The 2015 Condrieu was a full, but well balanced **** wine, the 2015 St Jo blanc an excellent STGT ****(*) wine. There is also a sound Viognier vin de pays.
Very traditional domaine. Wines could be fresher. The vin de pays white is a sweet Viognier, in the style of yesteryear.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Christope Curtat has no vineyard-owning lineage. His father is a cereal, maize producer in the Isère département near Lyon airport. He has been a wine enthusiast and taster, and eventually worked at Yves Cuilleron and the Domaine du Tunnel, with stays in Killara Estate, Australia and in South Africa. He started with 1 hectare in 2005. It is good to see newcomers not knocking the daylights out of their crop to achieve some sort of muscle-bound black wine, and the presence of some amount of stems is also encouraging.
The main Saint-Joseph red is the Nomade, a wine that carries the house imprint of detail and style. There is a good, mainly Roussanne Saint-Joseph white with the appealing name of Sous l'Amandier (under the almond tree), too, the 2018 a **** wine. This has become a seriously high quality domaine, with good pedigree across the range, including on a lively IGP Ardèche Syrah, a **** w.o.w. wine in 2018, and a closely-filled Vin de France Viognier, ***(*) in 2018.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Improving wines from a domaine whose vineyards are in the unusual position of containing a lot of limestone, in the very southern part of Saint-Joseph. These are cleanly made wines, and some could possess more soul at times: the spotless, modern vinification techniques can make the wines feel hands-off. The Saint-Joseph classic red is for drinking inside seven years; the St Joseph Les Royes red is very consistent, full of rich matter and can live over 10 years or more; the 2015 was a savoury **** wine.In 2015 a third Saint-Joseph red was introduced, called La Cotte Sud, based on early 1980s Syrah: the 2015 was a rocking ****(*) wine.
There are always good whites - the Saint-Joseph Les Royes blanc, notably, is rich and well-founded, and can handle its oak. The trio of Cornas wines comes in the modern, clear-fruit Cornas style: La Sabarotte is marked by oily, lissom black fruits. They gain more local feel if aged for several years. There are sound IGP wines as well, along with a consistent Crozes-Hermitage red from Pont de l’Isère and a Saint-Péray from some veteran vines on Hongrie.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh This domaine was sold by Didier and daughter Agnès Chol to frozen food king Olivier Decelle in September 2017, with his active winemaker partner Pierre-Jean Villa at first running the operation; they already have had an association in Burgundy. The vineyard, totalling 11 hectares, situated for the most part above Chavanay in the northern sector of Saint-Joseph, was in a tired state. Olivier's son Romain is now in charge.
In the past, these have been generally traditional wines with a regional following, often found in restaurants. The classic St-Joseph red was honest, downhome wine, the Garipelées more upright, requiring some ageing. Les Rivoires has some southern depth, and can do well for 10 years or more.
Since the Decelle acquisition, and the first launch of wines with the 2017 vintage, the now three Saint-Joseph reds have become better-fruited, more polished, soft, the omens good. The plot specific Les Rivoires (1990 Syrah) was elegant, restrained **** wine in 2019, the newly introduced Izéras red from gneiss on the site of that name, also a **** wine in 2019, with well implanted richness, a juicy thoroughness. The entry level St jo red Les Garipelées was a cosy drinking ***(*) wine in 2019.
The Côte-Rôtie Côte Blonde is softened by its 15% Viognier - the 0.75 hectare vineyard, planted in 1940, was bought by Didier Chol in 1977, when prices were still very reasonable; it has a good placement not too high up the hill, but not top grade care, until now.
The whites, led by the Condrieu and Saint-Joseph [50% Marsanne, 50% Roussanne, granite, Chavanay] have become much more polished and elegant, both **** wines in 2019.
LVT 2015 r 2015 wh Wine is sold in mix of bulk and bottle. Clear, sleek fruit in the Syrah wines, modern style. The 2015 Crozes Chaubayou red was the best recent vintage at ***(*). Eric Rocher's family were wine merchants, and he also lives in Lyon. There is a 20-hectare estate at Tavel in the southern Rhone as well.
LVT 2016 r 2007 wh A domaine that hovers between giving good, local wines and ones that have missed the boat. Certainly, the latter observation is in the ascendancy recently, I am sorry to write. The shame is that there is not enough consistency and sustained fullness in some of the wines from one vintage to the next. The St-Joseph classic red is a simple, early wine; the special, older vine Les Combaud is better and more interesting, but the oak can show. The Cornas can be very good value, with a traditional depth. The St-Péray has been gaining in depth as its vineyard (1984-87) matures - it has a 30% Roussanne presence.
Yes, traditional wines, not for the urban chic among you! Hearty, tarry flavours, some wild rides here. Patience is usually rewarded, since the wines can be discordant when young, and take time to meld. Good drinking with winter dishes, stews and casseroles.
LVT 2010 r 2010 wh STGT domaine, very understated winemaking by a genuine enthusiast, but that comes with all the ups and downs of variable quality, hit and miss moments. The best are sound reds in the true, local style that reflects soft red fruits. Profound and genuine whites with - a forgotten word these days - character. Dried fruits, nutty touches - good Marsanne.
LVT 2018 r 2017 wh At last greater consistency is emerging here from one vintage to the next, as the winemaking is handled with a surer touch. There are now seven hectares, with one hectare more rented from neighbour Raymond Trollat, as Mikael is keen to clear scrubland on Ste-Epine and expand in such a marvellous location.
The main vineyard site is right in the heart of the proper Saint-Joseph appellation at St Jean-de-Muzols - the southern zone - and the vineyards' extreme age [early 1900s] and quality bode well. The approach is gentle, traditional, and quality has become more consistent, and higher, since the mid-2010s. Some of the reds are STGT, such as the 2014 and the 2017, although one other bottle of the former was corked, which rather sums things up. The labels for the reds and the whites have until 2018 borne the words Vieilles Vignes; the son Mikael's label is different from his father Michel's, although both are termed "M.Desestret". In 2018 Mikael re-named the Vieilles Vignes ["everyone calls their 20 year vines old vines"] Saint-Joseph l’élegance. In 2017 he spun off the very oldest Syrah - around 1,000 bottles of it - into a wine called Saint-Joseph Côte Sainte-Épine by Mikael Desetret red; this is raised in younger oak (1-year casks) for 24 months, double the time of the l’élegance. The **** 2016 worked well around the vintage's cool tenor, the ***(*) 2017 was more thick.
LVT 2007 r 2008 wh Pierre Boucher drinks no alcohol, a rare state of affairs for a vigneron. The younger generation are improving the fruit quality here, and things are on the up. Daughter Patricia shows promise and a more decisive outlook. Her partner Thomas Putnam is switched on, and they make very respectable vin de pays under the Boucher-Putnam name.
LVT 2009 r Young grower in northern sector of Saint-Joseph, and quality rising.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh This is good, hand made St Joseph red, whole bunch, called Les sabots de Coppi, ***(*) in 2016 and 2017, **** in 2018, very much hitting its stride. It's a new domaine run by my old chum Jef, who used to be patron of the lively Carafe aux Folies wine bar in Tournon, which he sold in 2017. He now has four hectares in Ozon, Arras and Sécheras; the base of them are his grandfather's old abandoned vineyards that had never been sprayed with chemicals. He uses 30%+ amphores for part of the raising, and is low on the SO2. In 2018, he introduced a second Saint-Joseph called Lou Taïssou, purely from Ozon, which was a **** wine of good energy.
There's also a Vin de France called Alliance [85% Grenache from near Corbières, with 15% Gamay in 2018, 50-50% in 2019], a decent *** wine in 2016, and a ***(*) w.o.w.wine in 2017. Jef chose the great vintage of 2019 to add four Vins de France - a Syrah from 1974 and 1976 Syrah, purchased harvest from Ozon, name La Maquerelle, amphore raised, a cool, peppery ***(*) wine, and a Massale Gamay that he planted in 2016 at 400 metres at Sécheras, also amphore raised, a relaxed, natural *** wine. There are now two whites, the better called le délire de Coppi, 50% Viognier, 25% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne (2015-16) from Sécheras and Arras, a wine of rounded richness. The other white is 100% Chasselas (2016), a little on its acidity in 2019.
LVT 2012 wh 2012 r Négociants for four generations, the Mouriers moved into vineyard ownership in 1990, buying land and planting themselves. The top red St-Joseph, the Cep d'Or, shows decent quality. The white St-Joseph is sound, and the Condrieu expresses white fruits in a nicely understated way. They also own 1.5 hectares of Côte-Rôtie. There is a southern Rhône range under the Michel Mourier name; it includes a good Gigondas, Les Fétoules.
LVT 2017 r 2017 wh A domaine that has been organic in the vineyard since 2002, and officially biodynamic since 2016. It is an excellent address. The Greniers moved on to vinegrowing and winemaking in 1994; they were a mixed farm before. Fairly young vineyards here. Son Rémi is a skilful white winemaker, witness the 2017 Condrieu La Côte [all massale Viognier] which was a balanced **** wine ideal for la table, fish such as halibut. The Saint-Joseph blanc Altitude 300 was a **** STGT wine in 2017. Raising is in both oak and acacia.
The reds have a natural composition, no sense of being hustled, really good country wines. The Collinnes Rhodaniennes range is also very good, the 2017 Détour white - Clairette blanche, with Marsanne, Roussanne - a cracking **** wine, great VALUE.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Paul Estève's domaine is on the plain above the Rhône, his Saint-Joseph vineyard more southern sector than northern. He bought his vineyard in 2004, and was previously a Co-operateur at the Cave de Tain, where he used to also work. The vineyard is under organic methods, and since 2011 has been biodynamic, but without a formal certificate. He is the first member of his family to have vineyards, and left school early to work in the cultivation of oranges and olives in Greece.
The wines are all on zero added SO2, and have character, good cut and definition, even if the Vin Nature leaning can be strong at times (Vin de France Madloba blanc). Taking inspiration from a visit to Georgia, Paul has used amphores since 2011; he vinifies and raises some of the wines (the Madloba St Jo red, the Vin de France Madloba white) in amphores, with no oak used since 2013. Following the coronavirus, Paul and Chrystelle, who had a lot of sales to the CHR (Café Hotel Restaurant) trade, decided to go back to grass roots, halve the amount they work on their holding and enter into a sharing arrangement with Erwan Masse at nearby Arras, meaning they will handle three hectares, doing everything themselves.
LVT 2016 r 2015 wh 2015 rosé Two very sound Saint-Josephs from mature vineyards. Excellent value Vin de pays Syrah from the Drôme, 1950s vineyards on low yields: all three reds are raised in used oak, the vin de pays for 3 years!
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r This has become a leading domaine at St-Joseph, with the priceless asset of consistency in the quality. The wines are full and often marked by oak, but grow into a sustained, deep-rooted maturity. The Anaïs St-Joseph red has become more generous and less taut in recent years. The Condrieu can start out overtly oaked and heady - a wine for food rather than aperitif, but very consistent from year to year - a good, reliable source. The plot-specific Condrieu Volan is a muscular wine from the clay-limestone, schisty soils there.
LVT 2019 r 2018 wh A buzzy, modern outlook here, stimulated by Stéphane's work and experiences in the New World. There have been lashings of new oak in the wines, but that is reducing, and late 2010s reds have real stature, and come well recommended. Rich years can absorb the oak. Patience is needed - the reds are not for immediate drinking. The Cuvée du Papy Saint-Joseph red has genuine depth and the potential to live over 20 years or longer. Stéphane cites the ****(*) Papy 2015 as one of his most beau vintages of it since 1990, while the 2017 was both Rock n'Roll and serious, another ****(*) wine. There are wholesome white St-Josephs. The Condrieus have toned down from a ripe crop style, with the Chanson really performing well recently. Côte-Rôtie Les Grandes Places [raised 36 to 39 months] is usually a full wine that demands four or five years' cellaring, and is establishing a very high level of quality these days; it's a rare Grandes Places to contain 3% Viognier.
Stéphane has considerably increased his vineyard size since the mid-2000s, and the range includes a one hectare monopole - the only one at Côte-Rôtie - on the lieu-dit Bons-Arrêts in the southern sector at Tupin. This is extremely consistent and terroir-marked from one year to the next, carrying a Burgundian purity that Stéphane feels may be down to the site losing the sun around 5 pm in the summer. In December 2017, Stéphane bought a 20 hectare property at Cornas called the Domaine de Clarencon, which included 2.5 hectares of potential vineyards en friche [overgrown], at 350 metres. The part standing at Saint-Péray included 7.5 hectares of potential vineyards, also en friche.
The inclination at this domaine is towards STGT. Well-made, individual wines, with well-expressed fruitiness. Didier Crouzet has been here since 1996 after working in education in Lyon. He aims to work with low sulphur amounts during vinification. It is well worth trying these wines.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh An old mixed farming family who went into making their own wine commercially in the late 1980s. They still grow apricots. The brothers have plenty of drive, and are making fruit-filled wines that can be enjoyed from an early stage. The two Saint-Joseph reds in 2015 were both **** wines, for example, the Lautaret STGT wine. The Lautaret is the more serious of the two, based on older vines than Les Coteaux. There is consistent quality, with standards on the rise, and this is definitely a name to watch. Cellar techniques are modern and active. The Cornas wines are approachable and can be drunk from 3-4 years old. In 2018, all three were successful, the Empreintes a ****(*) wine just ahead of the Prémices and the Confidence, the last-named the most expensive of the trio. From 2012 there has been an elegant Saint-Péray (**** and w.o.w.in 2016, **** in 2018) and, also from young vines, a white Saint-Joseph from 2013. This is hitting its stride now, the 2018 a **** wine. There's a handy IGP Ardèche made from 30 year Syrah, too.
LVT 2018 wh 2017 r An organic vineyard since 1972, a long way back. The Saint-Joseph red is carefully made, with good fruit purity - natural, elegant wine. The Condrieu is tightly textured, stylish, and receives less new oak than in the past, as Emmanuel seeks more freshness. The Vins de pays are really good in thier grade, most unfussy and agreeable. There's a good Viognier vin de pays, a good value Marsanne, a free drinking Merlot (since 2014), and respectable Syrah vins de pays also. The second St Jo red, terra Nostra, introduced in 2007, is a little on the oak, since it's fermented and raised in new oak - and it's 50% more expensive than the classic un Autre Monde St Jo red. Emmanuel [pictured, right, with Théo Allemand, son of Thiérry] used to grow peaches and apricots organically, but is now much reduced, down to 1.5 hectares.
He also works another 3 hectares under the title SCEA des Toreyres, with a friend called Bertand Lachal; the latter worked in metallurgy until changing in 2009 and spending four years with François Villard. This is split 1.5 ha St Joseph, 0.3 ha Condrieu (newly planted on Arcoules at Limony) and 1.2 ha vin de pays. Their first St Jo red is L’Audace from the Toyères site. The Viognier vin de pays is called L’Aplomb.
LVT 2006 wh 2004 r Wines here are made in the modern vein - there is often a grilled effect on bouquets, and black fruit off the Wine Superhighway. The white Saint-Josephs show some promise, with 2006 the most successful recent vintage
LVT 2006 r Since the harvest of 2009, owned by the J-L Chave family of Mauves, just down the road from this idiosyncratic domaine which has always ignored the latest whims and fashions - hats off for that independence of spirit. The ageing is traditional - no fresh, zappy fruit here; mature, smoky red berry flavours in the reds. The whites are STGT - lovely food wines, plenty of character and a rustic vigour. The Florentins have always stabled a horse to work the vineyard, even in the dark, chemical days of the 1970s.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh An STGT domaine par excellence, and fantastic value and consistency - these red Saint-Josephs are top notch Syrahs. Production increased from 2006, and now runs at 25,000 in reduced vintages such as 2016 and 2017 to 30,000 to 32,000 bottles. The Vieilles Vignes red, occasionally produced in small quantities [800 bottles, one cask], is exceptional.
The Gonon brothers, true countrymen and taught by their father, make delightful, delicious wines of genuine pedigree. There is a sensible transfer of fruit from mature vineyards to the cellar, where methods are calm and watchful. No new oak in sight. The white is a high-class example of Marsanne, laced with a little Roussanne from a top, south-facing vineyard, Les Oliviers. Both red and white can evolve well over 20 years in the good vintages. There is also an extremely good IGP Ardèche Syrah called Les Îles Feray from the plain, with a few young hillside St Jo Syrah, pre 10th year, on tap also. The Chasselas from an old Raymons Trollat vineyard is also a little gem that has gained in quality in recent years, its cut and shape guided by the poor granite soils.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Guy Farge used to sell his crop to the Cave de Tain, then Delas. He made his first wine in 2007. The approach is traditional, the Saint-Joseph wines aided by their vineyards standing on prime sites at St-Jean-de-Muzols. Usually these have been genuine, and agreeable wines, very true, from a man seeking to improve all the time. They reflect their often granite origins well. However, the quality of the reds has been more up and down in the 2017 vintage, while the style of the whites is for fat, ripe wines. The 2015 Cornas harmonie was a ***** wine, pre-bottling, long and well balanced, the 2018 correctly generous and sunny, a ****(*) wine. The 2015 Saint-Joseph vania white showed carbonic gas, a ***(*) wine, while the 2015 Saint-Joseph Passion des Terrasses red was an STGT ****(*) wine when tasted pre-bottling
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh An STGT domaine, but the wines can be rustic as well, with dry late tannins in some vintages. The outlook is traditional, with old-fashioned virtues. There is no crazy behaviour in the cellar, the wines are allowed to come along quietly. The brothers continued to propagate their own cuttings by hand from old vines in the 1970s, 1980s when all around them thought they were mad to do so. Many sales to private clients and the restaurant trade. Only half the production used to be sold in bottle, about 15,000 bottles, but since 2016 nearly everything has been bottled, which may be diluting the quality, an example being the 2017 red tasted pre and post bottling. The St Jo white is a nice, low-key and authentic surprise, genuine country wines capable of living well; both the 2013 and 2017 were STGT wines
LVT 2019 wh 2019 r A new name to note. Bastien Jolivet is the third generation, with his grandfather and father Alain (still active) having been members of the Cave de Tain. There are eight hectares of Saint-Joseph at Saint-Jean de Muzols, into the Doux Valley, with seven Syrah hectares and one of white vines. His first vintage was 2014. Bastien worked for over four years at Domaine du Monteillet of Stéphane Montez, as well as in New Zealand and South Africa. He is increasing the whole bunch proportion each year, and these are natural, unforced wines that reflect the fine-ness of St Jean de Muzols well.
The 2015 St Jo blanc, called Clef de Sol, was a stylish **** wine, as was the more structured, long 2017. The St Jo red, called L'Instinct, was a most praiseworthy ****(*) wine, delivered with fine detail in 2015, and has continued with praiseworthy character into 2016 and 2017. There are also 2.5 hectares of vin de pays coming through, with some Syrah dating from 1955-56.
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r This is a good address. Julien, a native of Chavanay, studied in the Beaujolais, and then moved around working on different estates – two years at Yves Cuilleron, three years in the cellars of Mas Amiel in the Roussillon, three years at Terra Remota on the Spanish-French border, with varieties such as Grenache gris, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Chenin, Chardonnay, followed from 2006 to 2009 chez Pierre Gailard’s domaine in Banyuls. In 2010 he set off back home, working with Pierre-Jean Villa in both vineyard and cellar. His parents had no wine or vine connection, so he chose the route of merchant rather than buying expensive vineyards. He produced 7,000 bottles, all white, across St Jo, Crozes, St-Péray, Condrieu and Viogner vin de pays in 2010, in a garage chez his parents. By 2019 this had grown to 80,000 bottles across around 17 cuvées.
Until 2020 he worked in the old cellars of Patrice Porte in Condrieu, cramped for the size of his operation. In 2020 he has a new cellar, which will permit longer raising for his wines, and a more measured approach.
Julien has bought small vineyards here and there, examples being 0.24 hectare at Seyssuel, Syrah planted in 2014, 0.3 hectare at Chavanay planted with Marsanne in 2015, and 0.3 hectare on Lamberte at Condrieu, planted in 2016. There are rental arrangements with the Villanos’ daughter that gives access to Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie, as well.
The whites are impressive, well made, not overly oaked, with Julien cutting back on the lees stirring from the late 2010s. Across the 2018 range, stand-outs were the ****(*) STGT St-Péray called les maisons de victor, and the ****(*) Hermitage blanc called prisme. The Vin de France Viognier mon grand-père était limonadier is also a highlight, **** in 2018.
The reds are beginning to ascend the ladder, and run from Syrah IGP/Vin de France to Côte-Rôtie, St Jo and Cornas. The Seyssuel Syrah sur schist Frontière was a serious, inky-iron **** in 2018, while the Cornas l’élégance du Caillou, made from old Elie Bancel vines, was **** in both 2018 and 2015.
LVT 2009 w r Young vineyards but their ageing over the 2000s has improved the Condrieu, and dealt an extra softness to the St Jo red. Can be good when the vintage is good.
Sébastien Wiedmann, from the Jura, started this domaine at Vion with the 2010 vintage; he previously worked in a merchant business with Matthieu Barret at Cornas. He is planting vines on the hillsides at Lemps. His wife is Lucie Fourel, who started her own domaine, Domaine de Lucie, also in 2010, at Crozes-Hermitage.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh 2018 rosé Samuel Chomel, born in 1992, is the grandson of Louis Chomel, who planted the first family vines in the 1970s. His father Laurent and uncle Xavier were members of the Cave de Saint-Désirat, which they left in 2014, taking their 13 hectares with them. 6,000 bottles of Saint-Joseph and a little Syrah IGP Ardèche were produced in 2014. Since then, 7 hectares have been bought or planted, making this a sizeable Saint-Joseph domaine, the bottle level up to 45,000, with bulk sales as well.
There is still some apricot and asparagus cultivation, but the focus has moved away from polyculture to wine – 12 hectares of Saint-Joseph Syrah, two hectares of white Saint-Joseph, three hectares of IGP Syrah, three hectares of Viognier, Marsanne and, recently, Roussanne, at Champagne next to the Rhône.
Most of the vineyards are on hillsides, 90% at Saint-Désirat, with a 10 hectare plot on the windy site of La Tolondière at 350 metres around the cellars, sandy granite soils. There is a leaning towards efficiency over lyricism here. Of the two Saint-Joseph reds, the entry level Tolondière is much preferred; it is raised 80% in used oak, and comes across as a country wine, rather inky in the hot vintage of 2018. The Dame de Coeur wastes the 1960s Syrah by being far too heavily oaked, a cellar-led wine. The St Jo blanc, half Marsanne, half Roussanne from mature vines, is a genuine local white.
The range of vins de pays de l’Ardèche are headed by a good Syrah that successfully combines young plain vines at Champagne beside the Rhône, and older hillside Syrah from 450 metres at Vernosc, on the way to Annonay. There is also a 60% Syrah, 40% Viognier red called Insolite that gives easy drinking. The Viognier also comes from altitude at Vernosc, which helps its clarity.
The wine is sold mainly in the region, Rhône-Alpes, with vineyard visits, concerts, open cellar days, a cabin in the vineyards for tasting, and an old railway tunnel on the Côte Diane at Saint-Désirat to animate its promotion.
LVT 2018 r 2019 wh STGT domaine, handmade wines. Biodynamic approach since 1996, applied with careful dedication. Jean-Pierre Monier used to belong to the Cave Co-operative of Saint-Désirat until 2001. The reds come from high up above the village of Saint-Désirat, and possess clear fruit and are understated. The Terre Blanche is intended to be the longest-lived, the Les Serves shows soft fruit and can be drunk early. All wines benefit from decanting.
There is a co-operation with another biodynamic grower, Philippe Perréol, which includes their putting their small holdings of white Saint-Joseph into one wine, the same for the red Saint-Joseph Tradition - both from Domaine Monier-Perréol. On its own, the Domaine Perréol produces a very good Saint-Joseph red called Châtelet from limestone over granite soils, its vineyard at the top of a hill partly in the commune of Saint-Désirat, partly in the commune of Andance; the 2015 was a ****(*), the 2016 a **** wine. Expensive, but notably pure wines here. Jean-Pierre has been joined by both sons after Guillaume returned from working at Champagne Bedel at the end of 2018. Guillaume himself now works with 1.7 hectares of vines already in the domaine.
LVT 2012 r 2012 wh Promising mid-2000s start up in northern sector of Saint-Joseph. After 6 months at the Domaine Courbis in Châteaubourg, Xavier Novis started on his first vintage in 2005, with his own cellar. The white St Jo La Mutine is 80% Roussanne, and a good wine for la table. Xavier was 35 in 2018, and is a local boy.
LVT 2018 r The vineyards are biodynamic; this is the domaine associated formally with Domaine Monier across the valley above Saint-Désirat. A limestone influence in the granite renders the Saint-Joseph Domaine Perréol Châtelet red a provocative, fresh wine, the 2015 ****(*), and the 2016 ****. The 2017 and 2018 both show the sun effect, are ***(*) wines
LVT 2015 r Philippe Michelas did his wine studies in Burgundy, then returned to work vineyards in St-Jean-de-Muzols in 1998. He has since expanded into Viognier (2003) for a vin de pays, Cornas from 2005 and Crozes-Hermitage red from 2010. The Saint-Joseph white is called Cessieux, and there are two Saint-Joseph reds, a Tradition and a superior wine called Les Goutelles, which comes from Vion, just north of Tournon. The 2015 Les Goutelles was a ****(*) STGT wine when tasted from the cask at one year old. The couple also have holiday lets, Gîtes.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh A long-established family domaine in the prime southern Saint-Joseph village of Mauves. An important address. The vineyards are spread across good sites. The red wines are very consistent, but at times, a touch functional. They move along a scale from the simple, young vine straight Saint-Joseph through older Syrah and on to an overt new oak, older vine cuvée called Sensonne. The Paradis St-Pierre is a personal favourite, since it mixes well fruit, tannin and vintage style. The whites are sound, with the Paradis blanc capable of evolving well over 12+ years in the vintages with good acidity levels; it was a ****(*) wine in 2018, when drinking is not recommended before 2024. The 2015 red Saint-Josephs were all sound wines, the Olivaie, Paradis St-Pierre and Sensonne all **** wines when tasted from cask. The 2016s are very good, led by the cavalier ****(*) Le Paradis St Pierre and by the rich, deep ****(*) La Sensonne, up to handling its all new oak raising. In 2018, L'Olivaie was an entertaining **** wine, with the Sensonne also on ****.
LVT 2016 r 2017 wh A domaine whose early 2000s progress seems to have rather stalled. The best red is the Nuelles Vieilles Vignes St Jo, which was a **** wine in 2015 (cask sample). It has been joined by a 2,000 bottle Saint-Joseph red called Mêverie, also from Chavanay, which was **** in 2015 (cask sample), and the 2016 a very weighty ***(*) wine. The wines are genuine and reflect a traditional approach. The Condrieu L'Amaraze is acceptable, often **(*), and its oaking has been cut back. The old vines Condrieu, M de Martial wcan be very good, with plenty of body, a true representation of 40 year old Viognier. The 2015 white Saint-Joseph, new name Charmen, was a **** wine.
LVT 2018 wh 2016 r Céline took over the domaine in 2003, their first wine in bottle having been in 2002. This is an old apple, cherry and pear with vines domaine. They make Saint-Joseph red and Condrieu, the latter from young Viognier. Quality has risen from the mid-2010s. The Saint-Joseph red is a traditional wine suited to country foods, while the all oak [50% new, 18 months] site-specific Côte Granits Saint-Joseph red (1968 Syrah) was a **** wine in 2015 when tasted from cask. The 2018 Condrieu Les Terrasses was a full, table friendly **** wine.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh An organic domaine, with a prime old Syrah vineyard at St Jean-de-Muzols for a Saint-Joseph, which is sold as Sainte-Épine, along with a Saint-Joseph called Clos des Cessieux, which comes from a low walled vineyard whose previous outside rental agreement lapsed in 2013, a vineyard belonging to Béatrice's great-grandmother. The Sainte-Épine is a more sunny wine than the Cessieux - both are very good. In the late 2010s a 100% Roussanne St Joseph blanc from St Jean-de-Muzols called L'Etrati was introduced. There is low sulphur use during vinification, and the wines benefit from decanting before drinking.
The Vin de France (ex-Vin de pays) collection is interesting, those vineyards now 11 hectares. The Gamay Souteronne is suited to the aperitif, and in a vintage such as 2019 (and 2014) is right on the monety as a w.o.w. wine. The Syrah has always been a good do, the 2018 pure and pleasing, a **** wine. The serious white Vin de France, Roussanne-Viognier, exceeds its category, and is usually best drunk with food.
LVT 2015 wh 2015 r A domaine starting to look to export after local cellar door and bulk wine sales. Makes red Saint-Joseph, 2,000 bottles of Condrieu from Limony, and vins de pays. The 2015 Condrieu Eternel was a ***(*), concentrated wine, in the shape of the vintage, and the organic Saint-Joseph Promesse red was also ***(*) in 2015, needing time
LVT 2017 r 2017 wh These are sound, cleanly made wines from a domaine in the northern sector of St-Joseph. Elegance comes through and they can be followed by lovers of stylish fruit with an oak topping. I find some of the wines in the mid-2010s functional, light - the St-Joseph red, for instance. Pierre Gaillard worked for several years in the Guigal Côte-Rôtie vineyards. The emphasis has been on oak - young or new oak is used to raise all the wines, but since the early 2010s the new oak proportion has dropped by some way, which is welcome. Gaillard's handling of oak is better than many, and his wines can integrate well. Cellar methods are modern. His trio of 2015 Côte-Rôties saw two ****(*) and one **** wine, pre-bottling. There were some improved or back on form reds among his 2017 reds, the St Jo Clos de Cuminaille regaining some of its early splendour as a ****(*) wine, while the entry level Côte-Rôtie red was a good **** wine - both of these better value than the more expensive cuvées.
Pierre has a good touch with his whites. The Condrieu is full and oily, with reliable quality. The 100% Roussanne Saint-Joseph was a muscular, deep ****(*) wine in 2015. The sweet wines, including the accomplished Vin de Paille Jeanne Elise are very good, a cut above many of these, showing better integration of the ripe fruit and the sugar than most.
A veteran grower who has let out her other 1.6 hectares on the prime St-Jean hillside of La Roue.The wines are traditional and natural, gentle and soft. Elizabeth was one of the only women running her own domaine back in the 1970s.
LVT 2019 r 2018 wh A newcomer who has started well, a range of Saint-Joseph red, Syrah Vin de France and two whites, a Marsanne and Viognier, both Vin de France. The vineyards for these wines are at Ozon and Sarras towards the middle sector of Saint-Joseph. A native of Poitiers in the West of France, Erwan worked in Bordeaux, Saint-Chinian and the Mâconnais before settling in the Northern Rhône, where he arrived in 2013. He has roamed around finding small plots to cultivate, and is gradaully accumulating some reasonable space to work, the latest being a 0.7 hectare plot at Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, where he crowd funded the expense of finishing the planting and the wooden stakes for his Syrah.
The style is agreeably low intervention, with a genuine feel to the Saint-Joseph, and a brightly fruited Syrah. Fermentation is done with wild yeasts and no new oak is used. The Marsanne, which involves a little oak, is a little more complex than the steel vat prepared Viognier.
LVT 2015 r 2012 wh An STGT domaine. These are true, countryman's wines, with genuine local feel. 2010s had some problems of cleanliness. The quality is sound, given a little rusticity. Reds are only raised in mature casks, emphasis on 600-litre demi-muids. The Tour Joviac St Jo red is a jolly wine, raised in cask for 24 months; the 2015 was a **** wine when tasted from cask.
LVT 2007 wh Claire Darnaud helps on the white wines at Delas during harvest time - her father was from Tournon. Shane McKerron is Australian, and has worked at Domaine Jean-Louis Chave. They are cultivating some of the old Raymond Trollat vines, including his venerable 1918 Chasselas, at St Jean-de-Muzols.
LVT 2017 r A recent start-up, purchased harvest, 2,000 bottles of Saint-Joseph red, a very respectable ***(*) in 2017
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh The unassuming François Dumas worked for Yves Cuilleron, François Villard and Jean-Louis Chave from 2004 onwards. He set off on his own adventure in 2011, and now works 1.5 hectares of Saint-Joseph Syrah and 0.8 hectare of Condrieu, with a little Vin de France from Malleval and nearby areas. He has been organic all along. There is whole bunch fermentation on the St Jo, restricted use of added SO2, and the wines have definite character, the raising 18 months for all three. The Syrah and Gamay Vin de France or IGP are of great interest, the 2018 Gamay, made from 1975-78 massale vines, a real little gem. Definitely a name to note if in the area looking for wines to buy.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh The busy, up front François Grenier (1981) works from the old Opel garage building in Champagne, and it is furnished with ovoid vats, steel vats, new equipment. His grandparents and parents were agriculteurs, with vines, fruit and vegetables, the grapes sent to the Cave de Saint-Désirat. There was then a gap of 20 years at the end of the 1980s when his father stopped, and the lands were split up or sold, or rented out. François wanted to resume, so from 2001 to 2003 did a bts wine degree at Davayé in the Mâconnais. He gradually assembled the land together, and sent his harvest to the Cave from 2003 to 2014, when he branched out on his own, his first vintage 2015.
The 19 ha of Saint-Joseph (18 ha Syrah) come from 71 plots across four communes in the middle, early northern section of the appellation – from south to north Andance, Saint-Etienne-de-Valoux, Saint-Désirat, Champagne. Soils mix granite, gneiss, schists, stones. In all, with the five hectares of vin de pays, François works 90 plots. There is a hankerchief of 0.28 ha of Condrieu at Limony.
There are four St Jo reds; the wine called Domaine comes from all four communes, and is the most easy going of the lot, with natural virtues, 70% vat raised, and respectful of the vintage. There are 40,000 bottles of it, with the potential for another 20.000. The other three are plot selection wines from Saint-Désirat, with increased oak influence; the Chaussonot (33% new oak) comes from a hot vineyard, the Grange Bara from a vineyard with more clay, so the latter (67% new oak) is likely to fare better in hot, dry summers. The Signature is one 400-litre cask of each of them in a super-cuvée raised 24 months. There is quite a lot of oak use on these three reds, which François likes – he likes that, it interests him, he feels it’s important.
The white Saint-Joseph is mainly Roussanne, and well made, while the Condrieu from Limony is very respectable. The range of IGP de l’Ardèche wines – a Roussanne, Viognier and Syrah – is good, and offers value for money. Most of sales are in the region, notably Lyon. The word closier in his title means someone who looks after a garden, is guardian of it.
LVT 2017 r 2017 wh Traditional, honest and sometimes agreeable wines, with much of the production sold to local merchants. Can be too homespun for their own good, with the Vieilles Vignes the better bet. Sadly, Gerard died, too young, in January, 2020
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Sound address for whites, although the oak factor has been high recently. The St-Joseph white is the best offering here, with Charnas a good village for them. The Condrieu Les Rouelles has improved as the 1992 vineyard has matured, and represents good Value, the 2013 ***(*) and the 2015 **** wine. I also like his St blanc, called Loess, with the 2013 and 2015 both ****. The reds improved in the early 2010s thanks to a lighter touch in the cellar, and less strong oaking, but there is an ongoing flirtation with extraction. The older vine St-Joseph Terra Louis red should be left at least two years to allow a chance to absorb the oak, and can show for up to 10 years: the 2015 from cask was an intense, **** wine.
LVT 2016 r 2016 wh A range of 16 reds and whites made with infinite care by a determined winemaker, whose father is a director at the Cave de Saint-Désirat; there are no vineyards. Jean-Baptiste buys harvest from precise sites, and vinifies in batches that can run from 300 bottles to 1,500 bottles in rare cases. There are 10,000 bottles all told. After winemaking twice in Australia, in New Zealand, Burgundy and Bordeaux, and a Masters at Dijon, he worked as an oenologue for Jean-Luc Colombo for a few years before starting his own business in 2014. The style is very tight, almost lean at times, in the New Wave manner; some of the wines are excessively this way - the two Cornas, for example. The four Saint-Joseph reds are a good collection, and the Côte-Rôtie Coteau de Bassenon is by some way the better of the two Cote-Roties. Of the whites, the Vin de France Marsanne was a ***(*) w.o.w. wine in 2016, and the Crozes-Hermitage Le Tout blanc a **** wine of some intrigue in 2016.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Saint-Joseph red since 2013, with white Saint-Joseph from 2014. Also IGP des Collines Rhodaniennes. His grandfather André Darnaud cultivated vines and apricot and cherry trees. Jean-François started with 3.5 hectares, some of them in St Jo and vin de pays from his grandfather’s land. Jean-François has worked full-time at the Domaine Durand, mainly in the cellar, with vineyard work in the summer. He stopped that in 2016 to devote his energies to his own domaine. The wines were initially vinified chez the Durand brothers at Châteaubourg. A new cellar in Ozon was a good step forward in 2018. Some crop has been sold to François Villard to help cash flow.
Quality is sound to good, with the promise of more to come. Cool fruit and easy drinkability feature here. The introduction of a Saint-Epine red [only 1,000 bottles] from that illustrious site at St Jean de Muzols was a great success in 2018, with a ****(*) wine of pointilliste detail and top purity. Jean-François is the only Saint-Joseph producer at Vion, just north of Tournon. There is an interesting white vin de pays (67% Marsanne and 33% Chasselas).
Jean-Louis Grippat was a master of finesse in his wines, both Saint-Joseph, where the vineyards included a rented Vignes de l'Hospice, and at Hermitage, where the vineyard included the fine white wine climat of Les Murets. He retired and made his last wine in 2000; the domaine and its stocks of wine were bought, bottled and labelled by E.Guigal. I particularly appreciated his whites. Vinfication was traditional, in large open oak vats.
LVT 2019 r 2018 wh Biodynamic since 1997, although not on the label. It is in theory an STGT domaine. Here there is unhurried winemaking, with a good backdrop of mature vineyards, and no young oak. SO2 use is zero or very little. The wines are elegant and carry a well-founded simplicity. They offer the true appeal of Syrah from the Ardèche. The Vin de France Syrah is a VALUE wine, and in 2017 was also w.o.w. The Vin de France called Glou is made from Gamay [the use of the word Gamay hinders sales, so isn't on the label] was also w.o.w. in 2019, good VALUE, too. It is best to decant the reds, and some of the whites, before drinking. The white line-up flirts with oxiadtion, but a well managed one, with freshness on the palate. This deters some of the appellation tasting commissioners who blocked the 2015 as St Jo blanc, and in 2017 it was issued as Vin de France.
In 2017 Jean entered an association with Jacques Maurice [pictured, right], who had been a Co-operateur with the Sarras Co-op, a poorly run entity that “fused” with Saint-Désirat some years ago. Jacques has been organic since 1997, with production of apricots and some pears as well as his vineyards of 1.5 ha of St Jo Syrah, 1.05 ha of white St Jo (2/3 Roussanne, 1/3 Marsanne), 1 ha of Viognier vin de pays and 0.5 ha of Roussanne vin de pays. The first wine from his vineyard on its own was the 2017 St Joseph Halo sur le Baudet, from the site of the same name at 250 metres on the plateau at Sarras: this was a cracking **** w.o.w. wine, all peppy and live, with enough depth for a good roast lamb as well.
A fruit grower only, with no wine, until 2001. Half the vineyard was planted by his grandfather in the 1970s. Countryman instincts.
LVT 2008 wh Whites have character and decent richness. Another example of the Charnas zone being good for white St-Joseph and vin de pays. The reds are more strained, their fruit not especially relaxed. Could make progress if more consistency - the potential is for interesting wines, all the more if the winemaking and the oak application calm down. Potent Condrieu.
LVT 2006 r Apples, apricots, peaches, pears, strawberries, cherries are sold just off the N86 – a good selection from their 20 hectares. The cousins started wine again in 1999-2000. Their grandfather Emile had made wine. The style is authentically traditional.
LVT 2017 r 2017 wh Alban Privat has a vineyard and cellar equipment business, hiring out to domaines. Pruning, harvesting, wall building, cellar equipment are all included. His first vintage with his own vines was in 2014. There are now 3 hectares of his own vineyards, at Peyraud, Vérin on Le Châtelard and L’Olivière, Malleval on Morzelas and at Chavanay on La Gorge and Le Bois Lombard. There are Vin de France Viognier from 2014, Marsanne and Syrah, and Saint-Joseph red, which was first issued in 2015.
LVT 2017 r 2017 wh A partnership between Emmanuel Barou, established for many years, and his neighbour Bertand Lachal, with organic vineyards at Charnas and Limony. Bertand, a native of the Loire, had a change of career when giving up his industrial designer job near Annonay, and turning to wine. For four years he was a full-time vineyard worker chez François Villard. The wine is vinified chez Barou, and this association has been going since 2012. There is a St Jo red, a St Jo white and vin de pays from slightly older rented vineyards, sold as Vin de France. The style is for soft drinking.
LVT 2017 r 2018 wh Modern style St-Joseph reds from the northern sector, marked by oak and grilled aspects. St-Joseph Cuvée des Anges, the top St Jo red, should be drunk after four to five years to allow integration beyond the oak. Condrieu Pagus Luminis, **** in 2015, is usually more elegant than Brèze, the latter a full-on Condrieu in the modern vein of oak and very ripe crop: these roles were reversed in 2018, however, the Brèze quietly complex **** wine, the Pagus a heavy *** wine. Louis is also active in the re-activated schist vineyard of Seyssuel, north of Vienne, with good Syrahs from there; the top one by some way is the Saxeolum, a wine of character and good terroir. The vins de pays or VSIG wines are sound, notably the Marsanne, also the Viognier. The domaine has a large regional following, and now is a large producer, amounting to hundreds of thousands of bottles: hence going for the more elite wines makes sense.
LVT 2016 r 2017 wh Ludovic is the son of the late Gérard, who died in January, 2020. He has started to make wine under his own name, with a Cornas [OK, a bit rustic] and a Saint-Joseph blanc, the latter a sound country wine
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Cousins who are fourth generation nurserymen. They have recently started to make their own wine from a mix of family vineyards, their own plantings and rentals. There are 4.5 ha of Crozes, 1.5 ha of Saint-Joseph on three sites at Tournon, and 0.8 ha of Saint-Péray. The wines are vinified in the old Ozier cellars in Mauves. The **** 2018 Saint-Joseph Les Cerisiers red was some way ahead of the rather dry **(*) 2018 Crozes-Hermitage Terre du Sud red, indicating the relative trouble with vinifications at Crozes in 2018. There is a fairly satisfactory Saint-Péray called La Source, 70% Marsanne, 30% Roussanne.
LVT 2016 r Fairly recent start-up, organic wines, whole bunch fermentations, small production of the three cuvées. 2014 is the first vintage with which I have been fully satisfied across all three wines - they have been rustic at times before. La chave is from 1957 Syrah, the 2016 with sero added SO2, luc is from 1971 Syrah – good, mature vineyards. The luc biologique, first tasted in 2014, is SO2 free, raised only 8 months, and just 250 bottles are produced: the 2014 was good.
LVT 2014 r 2014 wh These are organic wines. The white is in the current mode of being airy rather than profound. There are two sound red Saint-Josephs.
LVT 2015 r 2015 wh First wine, the red, in 2002. Faced three tricky vintages straight away. Good whites, done with a fine touch. Promising wines, definite future here, both w.o.w. (St Jo 2014 red) and some STGT. From 2011 vinifications have been in a new cellar. This has meant the use of stainless steel vats and a cooling system.
Both studied at Beaune Wine School, Thomas has worked chez André Perret Started in 2004, and show promise. The Vin de pays Syrah is good value for money.
LVT 2017 r Fruit and wine. The family have been sur place since 1870. The vineyard was slightly abandoned in the 1960s. Pierre’s father Jacques sold his harvest; Pierre started in 1995, the first bottling in 2001. He now has 0.9 hectare of Saint-Joseph, and 0.1 hectare of vin de pays. The wines are relaxed, natural, country style. The fruits are peach, apricot, cherries, strawberries, with asparagus as well, sold from the farm.
LVT 2016 r 2016 wh A winegrower on the plateau in a hamlet near Charnas, the first in four generations to make wine commercially from the family vineyards. Pierre Finon has a good touch with the white wines; the Les Rocailles St-Joseph red has enough core to evolve well. Solid and understated quality.
LVT 2017 r 2015 wh Pierre-Jean left Les Vins de Vienne, where he had contributed a lot to improving the wines and running the business, after the 2008 vintage, and set up on his own. His wines aim for a cool style, clear flavours, precision and poise. He is now well established as the source of such refined wines. A good example is the ****(*) 2016 Côte-Rôtie Carmina, 30% 1950s Syrah on Fongeant, 70% 10 year Syrah from Verenay, artfully blended to be a giver of energy, with purity and detail. Pierre-Jean has risked his health in being in too many places at one time, with outside interests having been a 3.5 hectare Burgundy business with Olivier Ducelle, Mas Amiel and Bordeaux châteaux owner, with 0.5 hectare at the Côte Brouilly and a mini-négociant affair covering Nuits-Saint-Georges, Pommard, Volnay etc. He consults to Les Terriens at Chavanay, and continues to be very busy.
LVT 2007 r Incomparable Rhône veteran, has always eschewed fashion and followed his own family's local, traditional thinking. Very old vineyard, the wines are unpretentious and softly textured. Raymond is winding down now, and makes a little wine for his own consumption. Most of the vineyard is rented out, to Desestret and Gonon. I always liked the white, full of true local authenticity.
LVT 2007 r Young team that cultivate vineyards for houses such as Paul Jaboulet, and started to make wine in 2005. Whole bunch, low sulphur fermentations, and a definitely promising start.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Natural, unforced wines from a domaine that started to bottle with the 2015 vintage. The vineyards are on good sites at the accomplished village of Saint-Jean-de-Muzols, one of the founder communes when Saint-Joseph first became an appellation in 1956. This is an address I heartily recommend - the wines are super natural, unforced, hand made, including a great Vin de France Syrah. From 2018 the two Saint-Joseph reds have been called Alban and Margiriat, the latter the more expensive wine from Margiriat, a mix of 1930s Syrah low down and 2004 Syrah higher up the hillside. The 2018 Alban was a **** wine of character, and the 2018 Margiriat a ****(*) whole bunch fermented wine, a lovely marriage of speckles of terroir and speckles of old vine sève. The Isaline white St Jo is also aromatic and joli.
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh Sylvain Gauthier (1983), is from Lorraine, where his father Claude was an educator, as well as owning a vineyard in an area where vineyards had dwindled from 300 hectares to just six, as well as being an educator. Sylvain did studies in Burgundy, and lived in Tournon for five years with a girl whose family worked with fruits and vines.
Having separated from her, he heard about the farm at Chéminas, and set up on his own with a rented vineyard of 0.5 hectare at Sarras, old vine Syrah, in 2007, plus clearing scrubland – 0.4 ha planted at Arras in 2004 and 0.4 hectare planted at Vion in 2007 - and buying small plots – all three approaches. Between 2010 and 2015 Sylvain bought land at Ozon and Arras, and cleared it for vineyards. Sylvain now works six hectares of Saint-Joseph, 4 ha red, 2 ha white, and 0.5 hectare of vin de pays. His old vine 1930s-1950s Syrah Saint-Joseph comes from a rented 0.5 hectare on Aubert, the Trollat hillside, near the Gonons, at Saint Jean de Muzols.
Bottle production has risen to 25,000, with a potential for 50,000 b over time. From 2009 the cellar was at Chéminas, and from 2020 it has been at Ozon, with much more space. All vineyard work is manual.
The wines are calm, like Sylvain. The range is expanding quite rapidly, and things are very much on the up. The whites are especially good, both the 100% Roussanne St Jo and the Vin de France Viognier. The reds are led by a good, natural St Jo red that is essentially from Sarras in the middle part of the St Jo appellation. The Aubert is solid quality wine, **** in 2018, ****(*) in 2019, when he is introducing a 1930s only special Aubert cuvée as well, with a St Jo red from Lussas at Ozon, a young vines cuvée that contains 10% Roussanne. His limited cellar at Chéminas saw some difficulties in 2018 with the vin de pays reds, that include a 60% Gamay, though Sylvain suppressed that in 2019 [the 2018 Gamay was 16°].