Saint-Joseph Appellation, Cru of the Côtes du Rhône
A vineyard with steep slopes, Saint-Joseph is the backbone of the northern Côtes du Rhône.
History of the Saint-Joseph appellation
Delicates and delicious, these wines were first called “Vin des Mauves” and first served to french Kings during the 12th century. It was given its present name in the 17th Century by the Jesuits of Tournon. The terraces were built by the vintners and contributed to the wines’ reputation. In the years between 1956 and 1969, all the vineyards of this part of the Côtes du Rhône were grouped together and were consecrated Local AOC Saint Joseph. Nowadays the appellation area includes 26 villages.
The Controlled Appellation
The vineyard is 650 hectares large, the only red grape variety allowed is Syrah (with up to 10% Roussanne or Marsanne). For white wines the varieties are Marsanne and Roussane. For both wines the same minimum percentage of alcohol is required (10%) to produce A.O.C. wines. White Saint Joseph represents 20% of the whole production.
Facing the slopes of Hermitage, the vineyard (40 km long!) is the largest along the right bank of the Northern Rhône. The slopes of St Joseph are not easy to cultivate, the soil is poor (schist and gneiss) and vintner, after strong rainfall, have to move washed-away lands back up