Dense, Opulent St-Joseph - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Dense, Opulent St-Joseph

The St-Joseph vineyard (Photo courtesy of E. Guigal)

Long known for wines from Côte-Rôtie, Marcel Guigal and his son Philippe never planned to acquire land in St-Joseph, about 40 miles south. But they changed their minds when they took a look at the parcels Jean-Louis Grippat was offering to sell them in 2000: His land was in the historic heart of the now-sprawling appellation, and included Lieu-Dit St-Joseph, the parcel from which the appellation takes its name. Here, the slopes incline at over 50 percent and are built of gneiss and granite; the vines range in age from 20 years to more than 70. They handled the heat of the 2018 vintage well, turning out a wine as elegant as it is firm, almost forbidding in its polished, well-oaked façade. Those mahogany tones course along lean lines, the wine compact and concentrated, a nugget of dense black fruit wrapped in tannins and lashed with notes of licorice and spice. The wine in our bottle remained unchanged for days after opening, opulent in a stand-offish way. Of course, we opened it years before its prime—so you don’t have to. Better to wait at least another ten years, or even twenty.


E. Guigal 2018 St-Joseph Lieu-Dit Rouge

Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.

is W&S’s editor at large and covers the wines of the Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe for the magazine.

This story appears in the print issue of December 2021.
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