Above: Michel Chapoutier in Saint Joseph, an appellation that Jeb Dunnuck believes will be “the next hot commodity.”
“Chapoutier’s newest Saint Joseph, the Saint Joseph Les Clos,” writes Jeb Dunnuck in the August 2014 issue of Wine Advocate, “comes from a southeasterly facing vineyard, located high up on the slope, and only one kilometer from the Les Granits, that was replanted in 1990. While it was widely recognized for quality wine in the past, the vineyard wasn’t replanted after it was wiped out due to phylloxera. It too is all decomposed granite, yet has a different exposure than the Les Granits, and the wines show additional purity, minerality and structure. The first release was in 2011, and the quality here is shocking; these new releases have more than a passing resemblance to a top Hermitage coming from the Les Bessards lieu-dit. Hold onto your hats and jump on board, because with wines like this, Saint Joseph is going to be the next hot commodity!”
2013 Chapoutier St Joseph le Clos
The 2013 Saint Joseph Les Clos has an inky purple color to go with a tight, structured and mineral-drenched profile. Cassis, black raspberry and ample crushed rock are just some of the nuances here, and it has a brilliant mid-palate as well as juicy acidity. Showing thrilling granite character (the soils here are basically identical to the decomposed granite soils found in the Les Bessards lieu-dit in Hermitage), it should need a few years to shine, but evolve gracefully for two decades.
2012 Chapoutier St Joseph le Clos
Tasted out of bottle and shockingly good, the 2012 Saint Joseph Les Clos knocks it out of the park with ripe creme de cassis, licorice, violets, liquid rock and wild herb-styled aromas and flavors. Bottled two months prior to this tasting, this full-bodied, rich and concentrated effort is probably the wine of the vintage from this appellation.
2011 Chapoutier St Joseph le Clos
Similarly styled and getting an “awesome wine” in the notes, the 2011 Saint Joseph Les Clos shows that this vineyard is for real. Creme de cassis, licorice, crushed rock, graphite and pepper all show in the glass, and it hits the palate with full-bodied richness and depth, crazy purity and blockbuster length. It too is possibly the wine of the vintage and certainly, one of the finest Saint Josephs I’ve ever tasted.