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The Wines

from Chavanay - 57% from La Voturerie (1 ha 1968 Syrah, very sandy), 29% from La Voturerie, Chanson (0.5 ha 1997 Syrah, sand, limestone), 14% from 0.25 hectare on granite soils at 400 metres on Richagnieux at Pélussin (due to be declassified from St Joseph in 2022 due to exceeding the 350 metre altitude), usually destemmed, 3-4 day cool maceration at 12-15°, 3 week vinification, a little cap punching during 1st 10 days, pumping overs, aged new to 4-year 228-litre & 600-litre oak casks (new 20%, 70% 228-litre, 30% 600-litre) 12 months – until 2004 was 1-4 year oak 12 months – unfined, filtered, 6,000-8,700 b


(used 228-litre cask) dark red; there’s reduction, but that will go, with sizzle in the fruit, cherry fruit, bacon fat, a violet undertone on the nose. There’s a good stream of engaging fruit that is really clear and swooping on the palate, with refined tannins within. This has good spark. It’s 14° to 14.5° “the balance is belle; I am well content with 2019, which doesn’t have the Syrah of the South in it – it has that freshness of green growth – we have the luck to be in the North of the Valley,” F Merlin. 2034-36 Dec 2019

2018 ()

dark red; there’s a joli curve to the bouquet, fluid bounty, bacon fat, sweet overtones. It lines up cherry fruits. The palate has a supple, rolling style, good fruit definition, life in the tannins, ending on the up, a raspberry flavour. This is good, active St Jo that engages well. It will be nice to drink on its youthful energy. 13°. 2027-28 Dec 2019

2017 ()

1) (the younger Syrah, 4 year 228-litre cask) *** bright dark robe, a lot of purple. Reduction hovers above an aroma of soaked black cherries, cool instincts within, the fruit ripe. The palate is rich, rolling, up front, has no hidden corners, is a right obvious wine, gives succulence after half way. This is very sunshine wine, ripe in style – some people will adore this. Decant it. From mid-2019. To 2026 2) (the older Syrah, used 228-litre cask) ***(*) full, dark red. The nose has good presence, black berry, black olives of the south, licorice, is well together. This is tasty on the attack, holds good coulis, appealing black fruit. The tannins are bendy, and fit in well, the length is better than the first part, a touch of late salt here. Has good foundation and length. 11 years. March 2018


clear red robe. There is a funnel of raspberry, lead pencil from the nose, some crunchiness. The palate has a clipped, direct manner, bright fruit such as cassis, white pepper; its nature is tenacious. There are cool fruits, tangy tannins, is a cutting edge, linear wine. 13°. Bottled Sept 2017. From spring 2019. 2023-24 Mar 2018


(oak vat, sugars completed, malo not) very belle robe, very dark. Has a bursting aroma, big black fruit airs. This is go-go wine, holds rocking fruit, really on the move. This is long and racy, with a foundation of gras richness. 2027-28  Oct 2015


(assembled, bottling in 9 days, tronconic oak vat) dark red. Brightly fruited nose, pepper and flowers, cloves. The palate holds quiet, attractive cassis, blueberry fruit, a wee note of oak late on. The gras is squeezy. Nice and clear wine – good drinking at the zinc bars. “It has gourmandise – I took a lot of trouble,” François Merlin. To 2020  Oct 2015


dark red. Meaty, brothy aroma, airs of brewed black berries, inner depth. This attacks on fluid black cherry with some dried herbs. The bounty is good here, a nicely full and running wine it is. A good St Jo. There is lots here, good character, a wine of nuances, plenty of stimulus for the drinker. It is long. Red meats good to eat with this. 12.8°. 2023-25  Oct 2015


bright robe, a full red and purple. The bouquet gives an air of black fruit jelly, a sweet tooth pleasure aroma, with violet also. This is straightforward, drinkable St Jo: lots of fun and ease; the fruit lasts well, in a smooth register, captures the wine bar solo drinking styte well. Not complicated, not especially structured, but drinks in the here and now, its fruit ticking over well.  “It isn’t a Grand Vintage, lacks a bit of structure, but drinks OK with its faults,” François Merlin. Good with saucisson. Bottled 29 August 2013, this open for two days. 12.5°. 2016-17  Nov 2013  Previously Oct 2012 (vat, 10 days old) bright purple; round fruit inside the nose. Aromatic palate, clear fruit, sympa length, peppery end. “Now I need to work on its structure,” F.Merlin.  Oct 2012


bottled two weeks ago: easy red robe, a little purple. The nose is spice and pepper speckled it is fresh, and the fruit jam is agreeable, cosy: blackberry, licorice, and active notes. This is nice, free-going wine, with a slight build of tannin into a pocket on the finish. The fruit is clear, and has the local snap-snap at the end, tar, pepper and licorice. The length is sound. From spring 2013, a get on and do wine. It lacks a little late matter, but is pleasurable, undemanding. “It is gourmand, does not have a grand structure,” F.Merlin. To 2018  Oct 2012

2010 ()

(2 year 228-litre oak cask, malo en route) nice dark red; full, spice and pepper nose. Lucid fruit on the palate, has a fine grain, is expressive, shows decent depth. Drinkability thanks to its sleek fruit potential. 2019-20 Nov 2010


full, comfortable red with dark tints. Has a well-sealed nose, shows the effect of its bottling in mid-September, 6 weeks ago, so is reserved. There is a couch of dark red fruit, also spice. Bright cherry fruit leads the palate, comes with a sleek texture, lengthens steadily, is rounded until a tight finish. Offers good potential to drink well, esp from mid-2011. Nice and natural, has good stuffing. 2016-17 Nov 2010 Previously Nov 2009 ***(*) (3 year oak, malo not yet done) handsome deep red, purple robe. Classic road tar, blackberry fruit nose with oak outcrops. Thrusting black fruit on the palate, with a lining of virile tannins. Well-filled wine, but a clear one also. 9-11 years. (new 600 litre oak cask, 1961 Syrah, 30% whole bunch crop, malo not yet done) **** crimson, deep robe. Big, reductive nose, a lot of fat, ripe aroma, black chocolate here also. On the palate it is a bulky, big wine, a solar child, but the finish is clear, restrained. There is a lot in this, it`s just on the edge with reference to the extreme ripeness of the fruit. From 2013. 13-14 years. “I may make a separate cuvée with this,” F.Merlin. Nov 2009

2008 ()

bright, quite full robe; black cherry aroma in a reserved nose, but one that is sound, has depth. The palate presents fine boned, oak-lined black fruit with a pocket of late, low-key richness. The length is OK. Pure, really clean wine, STGT that has a black cherry, licorice end. “It has belle roundness, with no vegetal notes,” F.Merlin. From 2011. 2016-18 Nov 2009

2007 ()

bright, good dark red robe; Blackberry aroma with a smoky touch, a little road tar – this aroma travels across the glass. The palate fruit is gummy after a direct start. Has sound length and good freshness. A pure style of Syrah and St Jo. For now, decant it, but it is close to the mark. 2012-13 March 2009 Previously Jan 2008 **(*) 1) (new oak cask, young vines, malo not yet done) *(*) bright quite full red; open, black cherry aroma, young and easy. The fruit is very drinkable, nicely expressive without great variety or nuance. Sound wine, with some quite live tannin present, length good. 2) (new oak, 30% 1997 Syrah, 70% 1968 Syrah, malo not yet done) *** quite dark robe; well-founded black fruit in the nose, promising. Good, freshly styled black fruit on the palate, with well-set, ripe tannins that have a correct late kick. The length is good. Definite potential here. 10-12 years. Like a superior 2004. Jan 2008


red, mauve touches in the robe; the nose is a bit dumb, has a couch of quiet black jam, is not yet out and about. I find some ripe cherry, François finds kirsch. The palate black fruits are gummy, come in a jam manner with a little late kick - a pepper or licorice tang. Approachable, bonny wine for quite early drinking. Open, not complicated, nicely fruited wine, ideal for the CHR trade. w.o.w. wine. 2011-12. “The wine was very open this year, so I bottled it a month early,” F.Merlin. Jan 2008, two different tastings

2005 ()

bright robe, a mix of dark red and black. The nose travels across the glass, with some pepper and life in it – sets up what should be a good palate, with a wee bit of jam and a little earthiness present also. The palate fruit has a depth but also a subtlety that imply there is more to come as it evolves. Has good, clear lines. The length is good, the tannins quite gummy, are OK. 2015-17 Jan 2008

2002 ()

some black, restrained aroma; peppery edge to black fruit, fresh, skips a beat. 2005 on. Classic Chavanay style. 2010-11


black fruit/white pepper nose, OK depth; solid, clear black flavour, can yield, bit of end oak. Pepper end. 2007 on. 2013-14