The appellation of St. Joseph in the northern Rhone Valley has witnessed quite the evolution since King Louis XII deemed its wines his favorite in the late 15th century. When it was designated an AOC in 1956, St. Joseph was a small collection of vineyards surrounding just six villages, carefully selected for their location and vine quality. Ten years later the region had expanded with the effect of lowering the quality of production and the illustrious reputation of St. Joseph with it.
In order to restore its reputation, the French committee on appellations (then called the INAO) drastically reduced the size of the region, declassifying poor vineyards to Vins de Pays status and capping the region’s maximum size. Pierre Gonon held on to a few vineyards in Mauves, and today his sons Pierre and Jean run the domain and work to restore the reputation of this region by carefully crafting wine from extremely well-cared for vines and minimalist wine making techniques. We’re fortunate to have two of their elegant, expressive wines to share:
Les Iles Feray is 100% Syrah that comes from a series of parcels right alongside the western bank of the Rhone. The vines used for this wine have been carefully selected over generations from the Gonon’s own cuttings and are planted in deep sandy soils. The nose has tons of purple and blue fruit qualities along with black olives and smoke. The palate is extremely refined and has savory flavors of plums, minerals, and vanilla – great complexity for its value. We only have 8 cases so grab some while you can!
Chasselas is a grape variety primarily grown in Switzerland and is believed native to the area, although some think it originated in Egypt 5000 years ago! The Gonons purchased their vineyard of 80-year-old Chasselas vines in 2005 and have been bottling this white grape on its own. If you’ve never tried Chasselas, we highly recommend you do! Bright flavors of quince, pear, and white flowers lead to flavors of minerals, white peach, and white pepper. The texture is so mouth-coatingly lush that this would easily stand up to heavier dishes like pork and hearty fishes.
Husband and wife cheesemakers Valentin Forcelledo and Anita Gonzalez first started producing cheese in Asturias, Spain as a way to create a lasting business that they could leave to their children. They chose to go against the grain and decided to produce mostly goat’s milk cheeses in Spain’s predominantly cow-covered region. They started with just a few Murciana goats and today are up to 450 in their herd – more than the human population of the cheese’s namesake village, Vare! All of the goats eat feed grown on their own farm and their high quality milk is made into just a few of these 4-inch wheels a day. The paste is smooth and firm with a fruity, floral and slightly tangy flavor. Come ask us for a taste!
Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:
18th Hour Cafe: Today, 2/14, 6-10PM, Drop-in
Spring Beer Pairing with Rich Higgins: Wednesday, March 6, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Mini European Wine Blitz Tasting – 20% off cases this night only!: Tuesday, March 12, 6-8PM
The Hills are Alive: The Volcanic Wines of Hungary: Wednesday, March 20, 7-9PM, Ticketed