Some days, you just get lucky. St. Joseph has gone from a geeky misunderstood AOC to the new hot AOC with prices that are converging on Cornas and Cote Rotie.
1. This wine is from an established star winemaker in Cote Rotie.
2. It is from the epic 2015 vintage
3. The wine is incredibly good - complex, delicious, structured and ageworthy.
4. .....but it is the first vintage of this wine ... so it's cheap.
This wine is made by Julien Barge who is the winemaker at Domaine Gilles Barge in Côte-Rotie. Any of you who have cracked open the Barge wines know how talented he is. Amongst my favorite producers of Côte Rotie. So I was super amped to taste this stunning new St. Joseph.
Mozart was writing symphonies before he could walk and when I was tasting today's wine, the 2015 Julien Barge St. Joseph which can be had for as little as $34.99 a bottle for a 4-pack, it has that same type of thing. This was a barrel sample and it was so good, and so rich and with enormous freshness, that I could have bottled it up right there and brought it back with me and drank it and blown people's minds. It has an enormous wealth of fruit that is just ridiculous. But what makes these ridiculous levels of fruit so ridiculous is the unbelievable freshness that comes with it. It pushes it all over your mouth. I have never had this combination of deep fruit and freshness in any Northern Rhone reds I have ever tasted. I had to offer this as I want to get as many 2015's over here for the Fall. It is very inky as all '15's are with a deep enveloping aromas at this point and then a sick just sick palate. Massively concentrated with juicy, dark and very floral Syrah fruit. The juicy fruit, the depth, the concentration, the purity and the freshness are world class here. The finish is forever as many will see on the 15's that is also an inherent quality.
Barge purchased these grapes from a grower in the steep slopes and different hills of Malleval, which is the medieval village at the beginning of the Cote Rotie appellation. It's an amazing place and they have been making wine there since the 10th century. The key of these slopes, which the average age of the vines is 40+ years, is that they must be facing south. Just like the other famous St. Joseph places like Mauves or St. Jean. These do and the quality of the steep south facing slopes shines through in 2015. The soils are all wonderfully decomposed granite which Julien says is the real star of the show. He is also very lucky that 2015 is the debut vintage for this project as quality is exceptional. I love this style of St. Joseph. It reminds me of the wonderful Habrard St. Epine I offered a few months ago but just better because this is 2015. It is from a few different plots but what they all have in common is this "beautiful decomposed granite" in the words of Julien Barge. - from Rockss and Fruit magazine