2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin St. Joseph
Expert Rating
WS 92 points
(Read the full review below)
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Marc Perrin and Nicolas Jaboulet Beaucastel's 92pt Road Show

When Rhone enthusiasts learned that the valley's First Family was heading north, expectations were high. For the better part of six decades, the Perrin's Beaucastel has brought every critic in the world to their knees, turning out sublime blends of old-vine Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah -- while netting a half-dozen perfect 100-point scores from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. Now, Beaucastel was taking its world-class winemaking show on the road, setting up shop just two hours north, next to the cherished slopes of Cote Rotie, Hermitage and St. Joseph.

As it turned out, Beaucastel's timing couldn't have been better. After releasing a glorious lineup of small-lot, single-vineyard cuvees in 2009, the most-talked-about new venture in the region was greeted by what many are calling the greatest northern Rhone vintage in fifty years. In the fabulous seesaw vintage of 2010, the Perrins quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

The spring was cool and wet on the high ground of St. Joseph, causing berries to 'shatter,' trimming yields on the Perrins' plots by close to 35%. After a mild June, the finest Syrah vineyards in the world were treated to a climatic rollercoaster ride, full of hairpin turns and violent temperature swings.

July was hot and dry. Barely a drop of rain fell. As the vines faltered, Nature stepped off the gas. August temperatures turned mild, allowing the plants to regain their composure -- only to be rocked again by an early September heat wave.

For a second time in just 60 days, these manicured dry-farmed vines threatened to shut down. The plants drooped, desperately trying to pump water from a well that was about to run dry. Then, as if on queue, on September 20, a light, refreshing rain began to fall, continuing off and on for five days, offering just enough moisture to temper the hydric stress, accounting for a miracle harvest in the first week of October.

James Molesworth, the Wine Spectator's Rhone Valley guru, would rate the 2010 vintage in the north a whopping 98 points -- the highest rating for any vintage since 1978. As for the Perrin's tiny production of 2010 St. Joseph -- just 300 cases of which would make it stateside -- Molesworth wouldn't hold back.

Deep purple in color, with luscious primary fruit aromas of blackberry and red raspberry, tinged with Earl Grey tea. The attack is rich, juicy and forward, with fine layers of crushed black and red fruits. Silken in texture, yet high-toned, and as always with the Perrins, sublimely back on its heels and restrained, this gorgeous 2010 St. Joseph is drinking beautifully out of the gate, but will pay hefty dividends to the patient.

Tasting Notes

2010 Maison Nicolas Perrin St. Joseph
"A fleshy, forward style, with ripe plum and mulled raspberry and blackberry notes mixed with hints of singed mesquite and black tea. The silky, lingering finish shows a twinge of white pepper. Drink now through 2019. 300 cases imported."
92 points -- James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

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