2008 Dard et Ribo St-Joseph Blanc

2008 Dard et Ribo St-Joseph Blanc

2008 Dard et Ribo St-Joseph Blanc

René Jean Dard and François Ribo are so hot right now…….they formed their domaine in 1984, and work 7.5ha of vines scattered over 7 villages in Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph and a wee bit in Hermitage.

The St-Joseph AOC was created in 1956 and was enlarged in 1969 from six villages out to a whopping 25. The original core villages surrounded Tournon (which sits directly over the river from Tain-l’Hermitage) and the original AOC was supposed to reflect the terroir of the different exposures, but similar soils within this compact area….but alas….. add in a  little vinous, political “Big-Bang theory”and suddenly we have an appellation which has great variations of microclimate, soils and exposures and has seen a rush of planting with people banging in end-posts across the horizon.

But…..I still love St-Joseph…..especially the stuff from around the original AOC area of Tournon, Mauves and St-Jean-de-Muzols….and measures are in place and the local syndicat has put legislation in place to downgrade under-performing vineyard sites to vin de pays status by 2021….still that’s going to be a nightmare but it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

The Dard et Ribo St-Joseph Blanc is 100% Roussanne (their Crozes-Hermitage Blanc is a blend of Marsanne & Roussanne) and comes from several little plots….0.6ha in total…..part of one vineyard lies in the Vallee des Champs, right next to the hill of St-Joseph just to the South of Tournon. The soils here are mainly alluvial stones and red clay with just a little of the sought after sandy granite.

The other Roussanne holding is on the sandy granite soils of St-Jean-de-Muzols (it’s on a hillside in this village that Hervé Souhaut sources his cracking Ste-Epine St-Joseph)…..the very decomposed granites here are locally called gore. A straight Roussanne St-Joseph is somewhat of a rarity for the region, as they are usually a blend and the yields are very low for the appellation.

The grapes are harvested by hand and fermented using natural yeasts. Two-thirds of the wine is fermented and raised in oak and the remaining third is fermented and raised in stainless steel. The wine is usually bottled unfiltered with just a little SO2 for export at around 15 months after the harvest, and after 10-12 months aging in oak and stainless.

Pale straw/gold in the glass.

It smells wicked…..there is almost a Chenin-like richness to the fruit on the nose….plenty of vivid stone-fruits….nectarine and juicy peach with some nice citrus cut from the lemon and grapefruit tones. There’s hints of dried honey, wax, nougat, spice, white flowers and minerals along with wafts of orange rind, hazelnut and freshly cut fennel.

There is surprising weight in the mouth but this is pulled into line by the wines precise, minerally acid line, energy and considerable palate presence…..again beautifully presented, honeyed citrus & stone-fruits are sheathed in soft spice, grilled nuts, acacia flowers, comb honey and stone with hints of fennel, candle wax & almond paste. It finishes poised with great balance and hints of honeyed cream, pithy citrus and crisp, mineral-laden acidity.

Price: $70 – Closure: Cork – Alcohol: 12% – Source: Cellar – Importer: Fourth Wave

I was a broken man when the bottle was finished…..Bill Withers style

Rad to the power of sick……

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