E. Guigal

Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc 2016

Saint-Joseph

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Guigal’s Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc comes from the vineyard that gives the Saint-Joseph appellation its name, and is one of the finest sites in the Northern Rhone Valley. Made in minuscule quantities, the Lieu Dit Blanc is one of the most original and distinctive whites in the Rhone.

Guigal believes, as do a number of top producers working in the area, that Saint-Joseph will be one of the great stories in the next few decades, reaching the renown it received several hundred years ago. Saint-Joseph Blanc is a serious wine, with weight and complexity, and is deeply reflective of its vineyard sites. A seamless balance of freshness and fruitiness, pleasure and interest, and flavors and structure. Guigal’s specialty in whites is especially evident in this wine.

VINEYARD

This Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc is comprised of fruit from the exceptional Lieu Dit vineyard previously owned by  Domaine J. L. Grippat (purchased in 2000). Vines average in age from 20 up to 75 years, and are planted on steep slopes of Gneiss with granite.  The white grapes are more specifically planted to 95% Marsanne and 5% Roussanne.

How Guigal came to own these vineyards needs its own chapter, but we will try to summarize. In short, the Guigals for years wanted to purchase land in Hermitage. Jean-Louis Grippat, considered the best producer in Saint Joseph at the time, had no heirs interested in taking over his family business, and told the Guigals he was going to sell his vineyards, including land he owned in Hermitage. The catch was that the sale was all or nothing; he would not parcel out his vineyard holdings.

Marcel and Philippe drove the 45 minutes down to Saint-Joseph from Côte-Rôtie, and somberly discussed in the car how they would have to explain to Jean-Louis that they were not interested. It was not something they could do over the phone, hence the drive. When they arrived, rather than sitting down for a discussion, Jean-Louis took them right to his Saint-Joseph vineyards. Though they live only 45 minutes north, the Guigals had never seen the region through the eyes of one of its top producers, and never walked vineyards of this quality. They fell in love, and made the purchase. 

WINEMAKING

Fermentation is in stainless steel, with a slow pressing allowing the wine to stay on its skins. Aging is in a combination of new (50%) and second use (50%) barrels, all coopered by Guigal at Château d’Ampuis.

VINTAGE

Following the spectacular 2015 vintage in the Northern Rhône, the 2016 is another excellent vintage, though the path was not nearly as straightforward as in 2015. The spring was cool and wet and the vintage looking very late and complicated. Hot weather in July and no rain until September meant that vines were stressed from the other direction. Good weather in October delivered a wine with great concentration and freshness, and an uncommon openness given the intensity of both these factors.

TASTING NOTE

Straw yellow with golden tints. Ripe, honeyed nose with complex aromas of toasted hazelnuts and yellow fruit. There’s a full-bodied attack on the palate, with fleshy fruit and notes of orange marmalade that linger. Balanced with trademark roundness that is emblematic of the appellation.

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Marsanne, Roussanne

Appellation

Saint-Joseph

Farming

For nearly 4 decades Guigal has used only environmentally sustainable methods of pest, disease and weed control. They work to conserve biological diversity, water resources, soils and ecosystems on their land. Packaging materials are recyclable or biodegradable. Lastly, they are committed to achieving a zero waste target.

Suggested Retail Price

$75

Reviews

Jeb Dunnuck - "I was blown away by the 2016 Saint Joseph Lieu Dit Saint Joseph Blanc, which is up with some of the top vintages of this cuvée. Terrific notes of sautéed white peach, caramelized citrus, brioche and crème brûlée all give way to a medium to full-bodied, seamless, impressively balanced white. Coming from the namesake vineyard of the appellation, a south facing, granite hillside south of Tournon, this beauty will keep for over a decade."

Wine Advocate - “A blend of 92% Marsanne and 8% Roussanne fermented in 50% new oak and 50% second-fill barriques, it’s ripe and honeyed, marked by aromas of toasted grain, then eases into flavors of toasted marshmallow and orange marmalade before gliding to a long, spicy finish.”

Trade Materials

Other Wines by this Producer

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