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LIVE24SEVEN // Wining & Dining


WINE E X P E R T - PAT R I C IA T E R R Y Think BBQ, Think...


It is clear that we are in BBQ season…and I am pretty sure there are people out there who purchase a new one every second year because they failed to put it away the year before and now it is covered in more rust than the rustiest bridge ever!!


Saint-Joseph


It is often assumed that because we BBQ then there is little point in drinking better wines and that wines that we normally would steer clear of are acceptable. I beg to differ…there are many contenders for 'wine of choice' on such occasions, but never far from top on my 'hit list' is a Saint-Joseph from the Rhône Valley.


Saint-Joseph can be difficult to place geographically; it has been called the Chile of the Rhône Valley and is often confused with Saint-Julien in Bordeaux. One village in the region is called Champagne! There must have been numerous visitors disappointed to find that the wines there contain no bubbles and that Champagne (the Region) is a few hours’ drive further north!


Saint-Joseph is in the northern part of the Rhône and is home to indisputably glamorous appellations such as Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie, producing wines with a very defined sense of place because they come from tiny vineyards – a single hill in the case of Hermitageand two neighbouring slopes for Côte-Rôtie.


On the other hand, Saint-Joseph stretches across about 40 miles of the right bank of the Rhône, taking in more than two dozen towns and villages in two 'Departments': the Ardèche and the Loire. Its northern limits are only about half an hour from Lyon, yet in the South, across the river from the city of Valence, the region has the sunny influence of the Mediterranean.


Although long, Saint-Joseph is extremely narrow, but rather than a single contiguous vineyard, it is a collection of vineyards, mostly within view of the Rhône. It is because of the somewhat strung-out geography of Saint-Joseph that it is sometimes compared to Chile, but whereas South America is known for bold, fruity wines, Saint-Joseph produces tightly focused reds, whilst the whites have more in common with the wines of Burgundy than their New World counterparts.


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