TN: 2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne St. Joseph

While Gonon continues to be the gold standard of the appellation Jean-Claude Marsanne still does not seem to get a whole lot of love. No problem, I am up for the task. I don’t buy many wines in quantity but I did buy some here with this 2014 vintage because it serves my needs perfectly: while I have plenty of really good, authentic Syrahs from all over the Northern Rhône most of them are for ageing, not guilt-free drinking whenever I feel like it. This bottle is 100% unadulterated Syrah from the heart of the appellation but unlike Gonon and Chave you don’t need to wait for it to unleash its potential and the price just feels silly in comparison.

  • 2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne St. Joseph - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (6.4.2019)
    Textbook nose offers perfectly ripe and bright blackberry fruit, beef jerky, ground black pepper and olives. On the palate it is medium-bodied, chewy and remarkably juicy. The abundant blackberry fruit has a beautiful autumnal tone and is savory all the way - no one would fail to think this is a 2015. Obviously the acidity is there to provide tremendous lift and the tannins are nicely sticky but not hard at all. This is one Buddha of a wine when it comes to balance and harmony, just a really well-rounded wine.

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I hate winemakers who name themselves after a grape - can’t they be more original than that?
Does Marsanne actually make a marsanne? At least Brunelli makes a Brunello.

Yes, I believe their Saint Joseph Blanc is 100% Marsanne.

Yep it’s a pain when your family name is the same as the grape variety.

Yes, after all, it’s a common fact that people name themselves once they become winemakers and only the most unoriginal of the lot name themselves after a grape variety.

Well, this is what pop and rap stars do…

Two years since my previous bottle, at least as delicious now as it was before. I have a couple of bottles left but as soon as another classic vintage (only 12.5% ABV here) comes along I will be buying in quantity. Hard to think of another wine at this price point (20-25 €) that takes you straight to Mauves in such a transparent way.

  • 2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne St. Joseph - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (21.2.2021)
    Popped and poured, enjoyed over three hours. Markedly savory and sauvage on the nose with blackberry fruit, olive tapenade, black pepper, bouillon and iron. Totally unadulterated and authentic and very detailed. On the palate sports nicely ripe and chewy blackberry fruit, gently gripping tannins and solid acidity. Autumnal and savory, not unfruity but so much about the soil and all the non-fruity things. Good concentration but very little weight, if any. Totally seamless, finishing clean and bright. Pure and honest, a very classic example of the appellation. Might not get any better, but very tasty and vivid right now.

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Among my people, we always advise to choose your parents wisely

My final bottle, but I feel I timed it pretty well. Could go for a few more years effortlessly as is not close to drying up but the tannins are quite soft at this point.

  • 2014 Domaine Jean-Claude Marsanne St. Joseph - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, St. Joseph (2.4.2024)
    The nose is full of olives and capers with delightfully rich blackberry fruit, ground black pepper, violets and charred beef. Bright and detailed, NRS all the way. On the palate medium bodied with great bright fruit and lip-smacking acidity. At this stage very transparent and still very refreshing. Weightless with a very clean finish, this practically drinks itself. Very far from primary but immensely pleasurable with good fruit still, surely at its peak.

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Yes, fine drinking wines. And so is the St. Joseph Blanc (100% Marsanne of course).

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