Domaine Les Alexandrins Saint-Joseph - 2020
A partnership between three winegrowers in the Rhône Valley – Nicolas Jaboulet, Guillaume Sorrel and Alexandre Caso – Domaine les Alexandrins crafts wines in the purest tradition of the Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations. They are made from exceptional terroirs, ensuring the very finest expression of the appellation. Our four-hectare Saint-Joseph vineyard is located in Tournon-sur-Rhône. The average age of the vines is 25 years. It enjoys a superb east/south-east exposure.
Granite soil, interspersed with pebbles. The vines are tended in a traditional way, using methods that respect the terroir, thereby encouraging biodiversity and drawing out the very best from the grapes.
After the hail damage of 2019, we had to nurse our vineyards back to health with a range of gentle but complementary nutrients. This made 2020 a technically exacting year, especially since the weather reserved many surprises for us. Spring was extraordinarily hot and dry and, despite a short break in June when some welcome rain fell, summer saw a continuation of drought conditions right up until the harvest. With a high risk of mildew at the start of the season, constant and unpredictable winds, powdery mildew half way through the season and the threat of high temperatures and scorching, we were spared nothing, and it required a major effort to cope. Fortunately, the occasional shower, fairly cool nights and morning dew meant the vines did not suffer too much from the summer heat, and all our hard work seems to have paid off with the promise of a fine vintage. To avoid the hottest moments of the day, we began picking from 6 am so as to pick the grapes while they were cool. We began with the whites on August 19 and continued with the reds through until September 16. First tastings revealed aromatic wines of great freshness, with degrees rarely exceeding 13.5°. After so many twists and turns, it is a vintage that reverts to origin in a very “Northern Rhône” style, after the mediterranean vintages of 2018 and 2019.
An Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in the northern Rhône Valley since 1956, the Saint-Joseph vineyard extends along the right bank of the Rhône, on the 45th parallel. The vines are planted on steep hillside terraces dating back to Antiquity. Once called “Vin de Mauves”, it was given its current name by Jesuits in the 17th century.
- Harvested by hand.
- Traditional vinification.
- 70% destemmed.
- 3-day cold maceration.
- Punching down and pumping over in alternation to break down and push in the pomace cap and draw out the aromas and tannins.
- Barrel fermentation for 20 days.
- Aged for 15 months in 2-year-old demi-muids (60-litre capacity barrels).
Attractive deep-black colour with beautiful shiny undertones. The elegant nose reveals subtle aromas of black pepper and wild berries. The mouth is rich and opulent with powerful tannins, perfectly balanced by a superb freshness brought by the minerality of the granitic soil. A sophisticated and very elegant Saint Joseph which is still young and needs to be kept for a few years.
Game that is grilled or in a sauce.
Serve between 16°C and 18°C. Right now: powerful and full-bodied. Cellaring time: ideally, 7 years to give the tannins time to relax and the aromatic palette to grow in complexity.
Syrah : 100 %
Extravagant red fruit with wonderful definition and juiciness on the nose: cranberry, redcurrant, brambles. Lovely sweet spice on the palate and smooth, succulent refreshment on the finish.
Jancis Robinson , 16,5/20 , 2019-10-01
The 2020 Saint Joseph Les Ponts is terrific, although probably not for the staunch traditionalists out there, as it has plenty of background oak. Ripe red and black fruits, cured meats, spice box, and dried herb nuances flow to a medium to full-bodied, concentrated, beautifully textured 2020. I love its mid-palate, it has ripe tannins, and will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age.
Jeb Dunnuck , 92+ , 2022-12-15