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Jean-Louis Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Circa 2013

  • W&S93
  • WS92
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
Jean-Louis Chave makes Circa from a parcel of roussanne grown on granite, an interesting counterpoint to the roussanne he grows in Hermitage on clay and limestone (also recommended here). While it has roussanne’s russetted flavors—roasted almonds and pears, savory honey and spice—it feels brisk and firm, energized by fresh, cool acidity that tempers the wine’s oily richness and focuses the attention instead on its delicacy.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Bright, with high-pitched lemon curd, white peach and yellow apple fruit aromas and flavors, followed by lots of verbena and honeysuckle details. The rounded, lightly buttered finish stays focused thanks to well-embedded acidity.
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Jean-Louis Chave

Jean-Louis Chave

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Jean-Louis Chave , France
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Some experts feel that the greatest maker of Hermitage is the firm of Jean-Louis Chave. The Chave family has been growing grapes at Hermitage since 1481. They have a reputation for making good wine in poor years, and excellent wine in good ones. They use low yeilding vines (average age 60 years) and a late harvest to produce the ripest fruit, and there is virtually no intervention in the winemaking and bottling with no filtration.

There are a dozen or so named vineyards in Hermitage, and Chave owns vines in most of them. They vinify each separately, which allows them to blend for greater complexity before bottling.

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St.-Joseph

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Spanning the longest stretch of river in the northern Rhône—from Condrieu in the north, to Cornas in the south—the heart of St.-Joseph lies directly across the Rhône River from Hermitage. While its soils are basically the same as Hermitage: granite, supplemented by sand and gravel, its east facing slope receives less sunlight than Hermitage, which causes less overall berry ripening on its Syrah vines. However, some of the best of them can rival any fine expression of Hermitage, Cote-Rotie or Cornas with concentrated black fruits, dark spices, crushed rock and violets. A general advantage of the region is that its Syrahs typically don’t need as much time in the bottle compared to a Cote-Rotie or Hermitage and are much easier on the bank account!

A textbook St.-Joseph red is firm with a core of minerality that is enhanced by savory and peppery qualities. Aromas and flavors of smoke, olives, herbs, and violets are common; its wines are dense in red and black fruit.

St.-Joseph is also a source of fine northern Rhône white wine. Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne grow well here and can be blended or made into single varietal wines. St.-Joseph whites are full and silky with citrus, pear and pineapple flavors and a rich bouquet reminiscent of honeysuckle, toasted nuts, spice and caramel.

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Other White Wine

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Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of white grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.

FRMFW6578_2013 Item# 254465