WineAccess Travel Log

Read stories from the world's greatest wine trails.


Saint-Joseph is like Cote-Rotie's less sophisticated little brother: smaller scaled, less complex, and less refined. The Saint-Joseph appellation covers a larger area, stretching from just south of Cote-Rotie virtually to Hermitage, along the western bank of the Rhone River. Because these wines generally sell for a fraction of the price of Cote-Rotie and the economics of production rarely permit the use of much new oak, Saint-Joseph typically comes across as less sweet, and more rustic--and sometimes off-puttingly raw and austere to consumers who believe that Syrah should be a fruit bomb. But these wines are closer to my idea of classic Syrah than the overwhelming majority of super-ripe, high-alcohol monsters made in California, Australia, and elsewhere.

Saint-Josephs are typically best from age 3 to 10, but top wines from the strongest vintages can offer longer aging potential.