St Joseph, L'Instinct, 2016

  Domaine Jolivet

2016 was a late vintage, Bastien starting picking his St Joseph grapes around the middle of October. This shows nerve and vitality yet also offers density and depth. Sensual, with nicely rounded tannins binding the ripe autumnal red and dark berry fruit. A granitic salty kick brings interest, focus and freshness to the elegant and lifting finish. Incredibly persistent and easy to enjoy. Refinement and distinct Rhône character wrapped together in perfect harmony. A blend of ten St Joseph parcels from St Jean de Muzols all vinified separately according to location on the slope and vine age. On average 20% of the final blend will have been fermented with whole bunches. Aged for 14 months in barriques and larger demi-muids barrels with very little new wood.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine Jolivet

Exciting things are happening in the Northern Rhône. Young, artisan producers with top quality terroir at their disposal are starting to sprout up everywhere. We believe that Bastien Jolivet, our latest discovery, is one of the most thrilling of this talented crop. There are 9ha of prime vineyard, located on the steep, high south-east facing granite slopes of one of the original St Joseph communes, St Jean de Muzols. Bastien’s father always worked the land and produced the crop only to sell it to the local cooperative. After travelling and working within France and abroad, Bastien finally returned home to the family domaine in 2014, his first vintage. Intelligent and passionate about what he does, Bastien is already making startlingly brilliant wines that mix precision and energy with authenticity and character. The winemaking is thoughtful, light-handed and adaptive. A percentage of whole bunches are employed during vinification depending on the plot, vine age and vintage. For young vines grapes are de-stalked. Ageing is for 14-16 months in a mixture of barriques and larger demi-muids, of which rarely more than 10-15% are new. A great domaine of the future. Bastien had not blended the components of his 2016 St Joseph when we tasted so we are offering his 2015 which is blended and in bottle.

Appellation: St Joseph

A Northern Rhône appellation that produces red wines from the Syrah grape and white wines that can be a blend of Marsanne and Roussanne. Potentially some very good quality wines can be produced on the steep east-facing granite slopes, however the vineyard area was expanded in the 70s and 80s to the less suitable land on the plateau too so the appellation is now a large one and quality can be variable. The vineyard area stretches a long way from Condrieu in the North to near Valence in the south spanning over 900 ha. Tournon, Mauves and St-Jean-de-Muzols are some of the main towns around which the original terraced vineyards of St Joseph were and still are planted. St Joseph Red and white lacks the weight and ripeness of a Hermitage or the complexity of a Côte Rôtie.

The average wine is designed for early drinking over 2-3 years after the vintage, being soft and supple in its youth, perhaps less round and smooth than a Crozes-Hermitage but with more acidity. However there are a number of very good producers in the region now that make reds to be drunk 4 - 8 years after the vintage, the best can reach heights very rarely achieved by Crozes-Hermitage and make for excellent value. The whites can be very good too, full-bodied and floral, often with low acidity, so they are usually best drunk within three years of the vintage. Some of the most highly regarded examples of St Joseph come from, Andre Perret, Francois Villard, Pierre Gaillard, Jean-Louis Chave, Coursodon and Gonon.

The region is also home to some of the most exciting young winemaking talent in the Rhone. Producers such as Bastien Jolivet are taking back family plots previously leased the big houses and are making high quality, artisanal wines of great personality.

Grape Type: Syrah/Shiraz

The great red grape of the northern Rhône where it reaches its optimum levels in the violet-scented muscular wines of Hermitage and the graceful sappy Côte Rôties, which in the latter case is sometimes blended with Viognier. The wines of Cornas are renowned as producing Syrah-based wines very close in quality to Hermitage, while St Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage also represent some good value examples. It is also a component of many southern Rhône reds, namely Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. As Shiraz, it is Australia's most important red variety, found in various guises from ripe fruit-forward commercial wines to intense concentrated old vine cuvees such as Grange and those of Clarendon Hills. In the best instances Syrah/Shiraz produces deep, spicy, age-worthy wines.