E. Guigal Saint Joseph Vignes de l'Hospice 2019
|France, Rhone, St-Joseph
Grown on the vineyard directly across from Hermitage and planted on the same rock formation, dramatically perched above the town ofTournon, the Vignes de l’Hospice makes perhaps the most persuasive argument as to why Saint-Joseph at one time was considered superior even to Hermitage. It shares with the best Hermitage a powerful intensity, yet the elegance of Saint-Joseph is beautifully apparent in how the wine draws out and finishes.
This steeply terraced vineyard was in the recent past divided into three, which Guigal now owns through the purchase of the De Vallouit and Grippat domaines, and the sale by the local hospice of their vineyard to Guigal. It was Guigal’s work in preserving the walls of the vineyard, a never-ending and costly labor of love, that in fact led the hospice to ask Guigal to take over their vineyard and carry on the history and tradition. Guigal vinifies this 100% Syrah wine in the same fashion as their Côte Rôties crus and Ermitage Ex-Voto. After fermentation, it is aged for 30 months in 100% new barrels, clarified by racking only, and bottled unfiltered. Guigal is oft en asked when they will produce a fourth “LaLa”, and their response is that their fourth single vineyard phenomenon of the Northern Rhone is already being produced: the Vignes de l’Hospice.
Scheduled to be bottled two weeks after this tasting, the 2019 Saint Joseph Lieu-Dit Saint Joseph is brilliant, offering a ripe, powerful, yet incredibly pure style as well as ample cassis and blackberry fruits, notes of spicy oak, flowers, and violets, ripe tannins, and great overall balance. It will benefit from just 2-4 years of bottle age and shine for over a decade. It’s always a riper, sexier Saint Joseph compared to the Vignes de l’Hospice, which always requires more patience.
Perennially among the best bottlings from the appellation, the 2019 Saint-Joseph Vignes de l'Hospice looks set to rival the tremendous effort bottled in 2015. Enticing scents of crushed stone, pencil shavings and cassis appear on the nose (it ages in 100% new oak), and while this full-bodied wine packs plenty of power, it also shows characteristic granite-derived restraint, delivering a tense balance between ripeness and structure. It should be a beauty, but give it time, as the tannins are prominent at this early stage of its evolution.
Very ripe, vibrant berry fruit to the fore with good blend between the fruit and oak and a little fresh kick on the finish. No drying tannins, all ripe and well balanced. Sleek and impressive, this is very good indeed. The best vintage yet for this cuvée. 13 months in new oak barriques. Drinking Window 2028 - 2035. (MW)