2018 J.L. Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Blanc Circa
2018 J.L. Chave Selection Saint-Joseph Blanc Circa Jean-Louis Chave runs his family’s winery, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, which has been making wine with the same grapes since 1481. This white is made in an area known largely for red wine in the Rhône Valley of France. The (only) grape used to make it produces wines that are full in body and flavor without using oak. It’s called roussanne, and you’re not likely to see it outside of this region.
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave is a powerhouse producer located in the northern Rhône, making wine under the Hermitage and Saint-Joseph appellations. Chave’s red and white Hermitage wines – based on Syrah and Marsanne and Roussanne respectively – are some of the most important in the Rhône Valley, commanding both high prices and 100-point scores.
The estate has 14.5 hectares (36 acres) of land in Hermitage, making it one of the largest land owners in the appellation. The vineyards were planted when the Chave family arrived in Hermitage in the late 19th Century after phylloxera had devastated much of France. The vineyards were terraced and today cover eight different plots on the hill, providing a range of meso climates and terroirs for the Chave wines. Many of the vines are between 30 and 60 years old.
The plots are brought to the winery and vinified separately, to give the winemakers more control over the blending process. Grapes are usually destemmed, and are fermented in stainless steel before being aged for up to 18 months in oak, a small portion of which is new. All of the wines are bottled unfiltered.
Jean-Louis Chave make several wines under the Hermitage banner. The generic red and white Hermitage wines are Chave’s flagships, although the range is headed by the Cathelin cuvée, one of the Rhone’s most collectable wines. Chave also make a couple of wines from Saint-Joseph and a Côtes du Rhône wine.
The Chave family have been growing grapes since 1481, and today the domaine is run by Gerard Chave and his son, Jean-Louis.