Syrah “Offerus” St. Joseph 2007 J.L. Chave Selection
In Hermitage, the name Chave is as important as any other, and is perhaps held in the highest esteem. Since 1481, the family has made wines in the famed Northern Rhone Appellation. Hermitage is the hill on the eastern side of the Rhone River, where inky, ageworthy Syrah has dominated for centuries. Chave owns about half of the vineyards on that hill.
JL, is Jean Louis, a graduate of UC Davis, and the heir of famed Hermitage house. His father, Gerard, is the King of Hermitage. In 1999, they went into business together as négociants. In France, négociant are master blenders and merchants. They purchase grapes or finished wine from other producers, and blend and market the wines under their own label. For producers like Chave, this model has many benefits. Foremost, they already have their own vineyard holdings of high quality, and many of the growers they partner with are old relationships. They can be discerning about the grapes they purchase, and their size and longevity provide them with the knowledge and infrastructure to efficiently manage all facets of production and export. It is a win for them and the growers. Even us, the consumer, typically benefits because this "outsourced" farming lowers the cost of the wine.
Back to Chave. The "Offerus" is from the St. Joseph Appellation. The wine is a blend from several different growers, each of whom vinify in their own cellars before selling to Chave. The wines are aged in used oak barrels for 12-14 months. St. Joseph is the appellation on the west bank of the Rhone River. While it doesn't quite have the same cachet as Hermitage, it does have the name Chave on the bottle, and you realize quickly the important role and pedigree of this producer.
At 5 years old, this wine has grown from infancy and showing signs of a long and beautiful maturation. The nose has a deep core of purple fruit, violets, licorice, and a distinctive olive aroma. The palate reveals a deep spice, dark fruit andtart finish. It's an excellent example of Old World Syrah, from one of the world's best.
Posted May 7, 2012 • Filed under Wine
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