2014 St-Joseph Cave de Chante Perdrix ‘Empreinte’
Region: St. Joseph < Rhône Valley < France
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: certified organic, sand, gravel and granitic soil, 200-330m elevation, cement and neutral wood used for fermentation and aging (12-14 months)
Winemaker: Philippe Verzier
Philippe Verzier, youngest of seven children, was not expecting to get the call at age 19 to return to his family’s farm, but that’s what happened after his father’s untimely death. He ditched his studies and took on the responsibility of 10 hectares of grapes, orchards, and grains. While his father had been selling the grapes to the local co-op (a common practice after World War II), Philippe immediately started bottling his own wine. For pretty much everything else, he stuck to tradition – green harvests to reduce yields, old barrels for aging and very light filtration and sulfur usage. And we must say, having tasted multiple vintages of this wine and falling in love every time, he seems to have mastered the ‘traditional’ Syrah. Exuding elegance, power and Syrah-ness, this wine is packed with cinnamon, dark, ripe fruit, some stemminess and exotic pepper and spice. I can taste the sandy red, Rhône soil in every glass – still that combination of elegance and power that I remember – and so freaking delicious!