Calling all Northern Rhone enthusiasts, stylistically speaking, what do you think the differences and similarities between these two regions are?
What are some of your favorite producers within them?
I think that there is more investment in the Northern Rhone as a whole, which has spread to some of the "fringe" areas like St. Joseph. Maintaining the vineyards on the steeper slopes has always been very difficult, and without a market to sell one's wine to, i would have to imagine there were very few willing to take on the work.
I would not be surprised if climate change has helped produced more consistent high quality wines, as the Northern Rhone is the most northern area that can ripen Syrah in France. However, at the same time that climate change has become a factor, the understanding of winemaking has improved substantially as well, which has also increased overall quality and cut down on under ripe, bad or flawed wines.
I am sure there are others that I am missing, but Chave and Gonon has been making wine in St. Joseph for decades, and Raymond Trollat, one of the superstars of the Northern Rhone has been making wine there for even longer.
The raw ingredients have always been there, as long as there were producers willing to make the wine.
Levi Dalton (I'll Drink to This) just had a fantastic interview with Jean Gonon of Pierre Gonon discussing St. Joseph in great detail. I highly recommend checking it out.
Thanks! And I'm always looking for new podcasts to keep me company on my commute. so thanks for that as well.
A law/decree was passed in 1992 for a 30 year plan to reduce AC potential vineyard area from 7000ha to 3500ha eliminating sites in high plateaus and flat plains. The Original AC was only 90ha.
So would this mean that the potential vineyard area in Crozes would be more the St Joseph?
Add Domaine Rousset to the Crozes conversation, particularly the Picaudières cuvee. And interestingly, they also make a St Joseph, which I don't think is as good.
He most definitely does.
I was essentially pointing out the overall area that St. Joseph covers versus that of Crozes. St. Joseph encompasses 26 comunes while Crozes has 11. Crozes has more ha of vine and produces more wine by volume, but end to end it is a much smaller area. For me, a more compact area provides less variation, which was the main point that I was trying to address. St. Joseph was once much more productive than it is now, and based on what Mark Cochard is siting, St. Joseph will never get back to its pre-phylloxera production size. And to answer the question of the potential size of the vineyard are of St. Joseph versus Crozes: the delineated area of Crozes Hermitage is approximately 2400 ha, meaning that it is over half planted. If St. Joseph were to grow to its new limit of 3500, that would mean that plantings and production could triple before it would reach its max.
Remember that St. Joseph has been an important wine for centuries, not decades. The Chave estate was founded in St. Joseph in the 1400's, and was built on its success there first and not initially on the hill of Hermitage.
The terraces go back to Roman times, or earlier. However, post phylloxera, there has been little interest until the mid to late 1980s. The retired Jean Louis Grippat and Raymond Trollat are the earliest producer of significance that I am aware of. (though there could be others, and i would love to learn about them!)
The Chave family received the Mauve estate as a gift in the 1400s, but post phylloxera commercial production did not really start until the early 1990s. There are a few vines that do date back to the 1950s, but i don't believe much interest was invested in the property until the current JL Chave started to focus time there at the beginning of his career.
Gonon also existed before the 1990s (at least back to the 50s), but it was with the 1989 vintage that quality began to increase significantly (if i remember my podcast correctly).
Edit: Apologies Jonathan, rereading my earlier post, I see that I did not clarify at all that I was speaking of Saint Joseph in in terms of modern history (the last couple of generations).
No Apologies. You are correct that St. Joseph's viticultural history, along with all organized viticulture in France starts with the Romans when they invaded Gaul. Post-phylloxera production in St. Joseph had a slow start, but Chave made wine from that land for centuries before phylloxera. That is the history that I am referring to. Yes that Grippat and Trollat are the earliest post-phylloxera producers of note, but again I think we need to look at the entire history of the region to truly understand it.
So, I tracked down some 2015 Gonon Blanc, that's the only thing my distributor had. I've had mixed luck drinking white rhone young. Been slapped in the face by Chave Blanc, enjoyed Beaucastel VV Roussanne before it slipped into its dumb phase. Recognizing the answer won't be absolute, would it be infanticide to pull a cork on this?
It delicious now. Tasted it at Reboule and it stopped me in my tracks - though I haven't had any with age.
Great thread. Thank you, all.
How about Delas?
The Chasselas or the Les Oliviers?
I like Domaine des Lises for some off-the-beaten path Crozes, but don't know enough about Msr. Graillot's son's efforts to contribute in the context of this geeked-out chat.
Les Oliviers and it was delicious