Saint Joseph Domaine Les Alexandrins

Domaine Les Aleandrins

2016
Saint-Joseph
This wine is deep ruby in colour with aromas of black fruit and freshly cracked black pepper and roasted cocoa. It is beautifully structured and full bodied with fine tannins. The finish is long and very harmonious. The wines come from four hectares of vineyards that are sustainably farmed in Saint-Joseph. The vines are grown on the round pebbles of the Les Chassis plains. The vines are on average 25 years old and are trained on a Goblet trellising system. The soil in Saint Joseph is mainly composed of granite. The vineyard spreads out 60km along the right bank of the Rhône river. The aim of the winemakers was to make a balanced wine using grapes from two different locations: from the north of the appellation, which bring minerality and fruit, and from the historical centre of Saint Joseph that give more flesh to the wine. The blending makes wines with great distinction and wonderfully balanced. 2016 has been hailed as a great vintage but it wasn’t without its challenges. The growing season did not get off to a great start. Spring was marked by cloudy and wet weather. Hail storms also posed a threat with some loss of yield but luckily it was early enough in the season for vines to recover vegetative growth. As a result of this weather, flowering and budburst were delayed. The summer months were very hot and dry but sorely needed rain fell at the beginning of September. Fortunately, good weather then resumed until harvest, which resulted in fruit of good quality and moderate alcohol levels. 13.5% alcohol
Variety
Syrah/Shiraz
Alcohol-abv
13.5%
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£30.60 £34 -10%
Rhone Valley

Rhone Valley

The Rhone Valley is a key wine-producing region in the southeast of France. It follows the north–south course of the Rhone river for almost 150 miles (240km) from Lyon to the Rhone Delta (the Bouches-du-Rhône), near the Mediterranean coast.

The length of the valley means that Rhone wines are the product of a wide variety of soil types and mesoclimates. The region's wine-producing areas cover such a distance that there is a widely accepted division between its northern and southern parts. Rather neatly, they are separated by a gap of 25 miles (40 km) between the towns of Valance and Montelimar, in which almost no vines are grown.

This Rhone Valey region is dived in two subregions: Northern Rhoen and Southern Rhone. The smaller northern section focuses almost entirely on Syrah for red wines and Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne for whites, while the larger south employs a much longer list of varieties. The most notable of these are the red varieties Grenache and Mourvedre, which are combined with Syrah to produce the so called 'GSM' blend so characteristic of the southern Rhone. While the granite-blessed slopes of the north are paired with a continental climate, the rocky, sandy soils of the flatter south enjoy the warmer winters of a Mediterranean climate.

France

France – the home of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire and Champagne – is arguably the world's most important wine-producing country. For centuries, it has produced wine in greater quantity – and of reportedly greater quality – than any other nation. Wine is ingrained in French culture at almost every level of society; it is the drink of both the elite and the common people, and a key symbol in Roman Catholicism, France's majority religion.

The diversity of French wine is due, in part, to the country's wide range of climates. Champagne, its most northerly region, has one of the coolest climates anywhere in the wine-growing world – in stark contrast to the warm, dry Rhone Valley 350 miles (560km) away in the southeast. Bordeaux, in the southwest, has a maritime climate heavily influenced by the Atlantic ocean to its west and the various rivers that wind their way between its vineyards. Far from any oceanic influence, eastern regions such as Burgundy and Alsace have a continental climate, with warm, dry summers and cold winters. In France's deep south, Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon enjoy a definitively Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot summers and relatively mild winters.

France's appellation system was created in the early 20th century and has since been imitated in many other countries. This complex system of laws ultimately defines each wine region and its boundaries and imposes strict rules around winemaking practices. Protecting the names of French wines and guaranteeing the quality and provenance of the products themselves are its key objectives. No other country has developed its appellation system to such an extent; as of 2012, there were more than 450 controlled appellations under the AOC titles and a further 150 Vin de Pays/IGP titles.