Many merchants harbor aspirations of ‘making a producer,’ but the truth is, these wines are headed for the top and all we will be able to take credit for is some small effort in expediting this success. J-B deserves it, and your first whiff of these transportive ‘17s will show you why. The assuredness of the wines, their rootedness in place, will recall Burgundy but ultimately beckon you back to their own locales. That said, the purity, detail, and transparency of these remarkable Syrahs will make it hard for a Burgundy lovers mind not to wander…
2017 Crozes-Hermitage ‘Les Habrards’ - this (tiny) parcel is on granite as opposed to the more calcereous (and also tiny) parcel of ‘Les Baties.’ ‘Habrards’ presents as earthier than its more airien stablemate, the fruit arranging itself around a deep core of stone. Textural refinement, a family trait chez Souillard, is hard to miss.
2017 Côte-Rôtie ‘Coteaux de Bassenon’ - the southernmost vineyard in the appellation, just above Condrieu. It’s a vineyard prone to yielding soft-textured, gentle wines, very subtle and persistent. There is lovely perky purple-ish fruit, good savory persistence and wonderful flowery suggestions throughout. Vineyard and vigneron converge memorably here.
2017 Saint-Joseph ‘Bergeron’ - From a parcel among the highest-elevation in St.- Joseph, Bergeron produces a wine with a more slender silhouette than other wines from its home in the Saint-Epine Valley. I just love this style of St. Joseph, and find its more relaxed and confident personality a welcome antidote to the flashier carbonic style so much in vogue today. This starts stony and tight, then stretches out at a careful pace to reveal suggestions of wild herbs and lovely pure fruit. More black fruit, but not a nit overripe. One of the more fascinating wines in the range.
Jean-Baptiste Souillard is a deeply serious young winemaker with an impressive background, having worked at Ch. Latour, Comte Armand (with Benjamin Leroux) and Jean-Luc Colombo- not to mention several stints abroad. After 5 years of working in an oenological lab in Cornas he was ready to begin his ambitious Northern Rhône project, equal parts modern and deeply traditional. As Souillard says “I generally follow the ‘Cistercian method’. One parcel = one wine.” This micro-parcellaire project where vineyards but rarely exceed a minuscule 0.1ha is a fascinating enterprise. Take advantage of our 3 pack to get a great window on what Jean-Baptiste is up to- and go see him at La Tablée if you can.