Domaine des Pierres Seches Saint-Joseph Gauthier Sylvain Blanc, Rhone, 2017
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Winemaker Sylvain Gauthier cares for his 13.5 acres of land according to organic practices, yet the estate is not certified. (Sylvain plans to pursue certification in the near future, however.) Vineyards are plowed either by horse or by hand.
Vineyard holdings include small, steeply graded plots in the communes Sarras, Arras-sur-Rhône, Vion, Ozon and crucially, in the renowned lieu-dit of ‘Sainte Épine’ in Saint-Jean de Muzols, all located in the southern portion of the Saint-Joseph appellation. The “original” boundaries and villages of the Saint-Joseph appellation (drawn in 1956) are located here in the south.
Sylvain also maintains Syrah vines in the commune of Sécheras, not far from his cellar in Cheminas, for his Ardèche Rouge.
Soils are mostly decomposed granite, the classic terroir of the northern Rhône valley.
Syrah is partially destemmed (white grapes Marsanne and Roussanne pressed full cluster) and fermented in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks on indigenous yeasts. Saint-Joseph wines are aged in older French oak barrels, from three- to four-years old; the estate Ardèche Rouge is aged in tank. Wines are filtered but not fined.
A juicy, floral, energetic white from 100% Roussanne grapes, sunny and suave and silky at once.