In the spring, contrasting, predominantly humid weather conditions, and ensuant cryptogamic pressures, rekindle still fresh memories, feeding the concerns of conscious Vignerons. The threatening shadow of 2018 hangs over the heads… A fear exacerbated by the prospect of a bountiful harvest, an aggravating factor in this circumstance… In hindsight, these rather substantial spring rains will prove to be beneficial, contributing to the replenishment of water reserves.
Indeed, a terribly dry summer period will follow this rather wet start of the year. Dry once again. Once more. Bitter observation : 2020 is the third year in a row to suffer so badly from harsh drought… Fortunately, the nights are cool. As a result, the few “mean” rains granted by Mother Nature become “life-saving” blessings. The vines survive, adapt… And this is relevant to epigenetics, according to the learned term used by one of our Confreres…
However, as the harvest approaches, while “technological maturity” soars, the actual phenolic maturity remains at a standstill… This phenomenon chiefly affects early sectors, young vines, and substantially loaded vines : at the dawn of the harvest, Vignerons are thus facing a “Cornelian dilemma”…
Uncommon occurrence, the wisest of the Vignerons, they who take the risk of awaiting the famous “equinoctial rains”, will not necessarily benefit from their fortitude. One could therefore state that, in 2020, Virtue was not rewarded. One exception to confirm the Rule... Yet, hard, extremely hard finding for a year that proves to be exceptional in its own special way… Only the Very Old Vines, meticulously worked, meet the expectations of the most demanding Vignerons. At the cost of low to extremely low yields... Nevertheless, by the grace of their deep roots, once again, the Very Old Vines recall that they are the key to success, in an odd Vintage too !
Les Oliviers sur Mauves – La Ribaudy sur Chavanay – La Roue sur Saint-Jean de MuzolsAgeing
10 months in new, one and two old barrels
Marsanne : 85 % Roussanne : 15 %
The 2020 Saint Joseph Vieilles Vignes Blanc will be impressive. Lots of quince, toasted spice, and honeyed flower notes define the nose, and it's rich and medium to full-bodied, with good concentration and a great finish. It's unquestionably an outstanding white in the making.
Jeb Dunnuck , 91-93/100 , 2021-08-11