The vineyards of Saint-Joseph
stretch from Chavanay south to Guilherand, covering about 50 kilometers (31 miles) along the right bank of the Rhône and extending into 23 villages in Ardèche and three in the Loire department. The light soils of schist and gneiss sit on a granite bedrock, and the vineyards mainly face south-southeast. The moderate continental climate here brings hot, dry summers and regular rain the rest of the year. The delicate, delightful wines grown here were already famous in the 16th century, and they were well loved by the kings of France. The Jesuits of Tournon gave the zone the name of Saint-Joseph in the 18th century, and it became an official appellation between 1956 and 1969.
Saint-Joseph comprises about 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of vineyards that produce around 35,000 hectoliters of wine each year. The red wines grown here are almost exclusively Syrah, with an occasional addition of up to 10% Roussanne and/or Marsanne. These two white grapes are also used for the appellation's white wines. Red wine vinification is traditionally done with long vatting and an élevage of at least 10 months and up to two years in oak or chestnut barrels; white wines spend 15 days in open vats and age for several months before bottling. The stars of the appellation include M. Chapoutier, Delas Frères, E. Guigal, Domaine Jean-Louis Chave, and Domaine Ferraton Père & Fils.
More informations on the website of the wines of Saint-Joseph