Domaine Georges Vernay
2018 'Terres d'Encre' Saint-Joseph AOC
France: Rhône Valley
Collectors! Rhone cognoscenti! Anyone who wants to experience a taste of greatness from Northern Rhone, from a producer described as a “reference point domaine” by Wine Spectator.
Get in here!
And do so quickly because only 75 cases of this double-93-point “sweet and expansive” red were brought to the USA. We bought every last one they’d part with and then slapped a mind-bending 48% discount on it. From $85 to $44… Wow, be still my rhone loving heart!
First let’s back up to a few weeks ago. Agent Noir was depressed. Where have all the Vernay gone? Between importers? He NEEDED more Vernay to carry on… but he gave up as they were nowhere to be seen for a while, until…
There they are, BACK with a new importer! Albeit, the word was out meanwhile and the prices kept climbing as many a French producer who reaches cult status sees. The dang tariffs didn’t help either…
Yet just when he was about to give up, VOILA. Here’s a PERFECT Vernay bargain that flipped his eyeballs inside his head upon tasting that all too familiar Vernay-ness in the glass. He went back to the day when the very first Vernays he ever experienced sent shivers of sensual pleasures up and down his spine. It’s that intangible X factor in wine that gives these their universal allure. So much more than wine.
Before we dive in deeper, scroll down to the Store to see two extreme collectibles from Vernay that we had them throw in with this deal of the century, if we were you, we’d scoop those up first as the bottles available can easily be counted with two hands. One, buy the way is “a Montrachet of the Rhône” and the other is a Côte-Rôtie nonetheless, the crown jewel red of North.
Anyhow, back to this Saint-Joseph, where you find extreme values hidden in the vast spread connecting Condrieu with Cornas. Not everything Saint-Joseph is worthy of your time, but this one is.
Insert critics raves - just a couple to not overwhelm with the constant influx of superlatives for Vernay from every corner of the wine world.
Jancis Robinson puts it well; “The Domaine, George Vernay, still bears the name of its founder, the late hero of Condrieu, credited with saving both the appellation and its grape variety Viognier from extinction. In the 20+ years since his daughter Christine (Paul’s wife) has been making wine here, their range of reds has come to equal the reputation of the whites.”
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous joins the chorus with “Vernay’s Condrieus are usually at the top of the heap for the appellation, vintage after vintage, and starting about five years ago her reds began to make their case for inclusion in the upper tiers of their own regions. Those familiar with this legendary Domaine’s elegant, highly expressive white wines won’t be surprised to find that their red siblings are also of the graceful school, eschewing weight and brawn for a lighter touch that emphasizes terroir as well as vintage expression.”
Okay last one emphasizing how hiller Vernay’s reds are, promise, from Wine Spectator - “While often thought of by consumers as a white wine Domaine (principally for Condrieu), I can’t express often enough to you how the reds have improved at Georges Vernay over the past decade. This is a reference-point Domaine for the Northern Rhône.”
Deep, deep ruby with crimson and midnight blue wrapping the glass. It continues to offer up the kind of nose you want to get lost in, with berries red and black, spices, herbs, earth, and all. At once gratifyingly sweet and savory once sipped, while dry and braced up with a fine tannin firmness. The long, long finish barely quits after over a minute, blooming with florals, finesse, and a fabulous fruitiness. While this can cellar for years, it’s irresistible as is, but decant to elevate a simple but top notch roasted whole chicken meal with decadent sides.
Worth every bit of the $85 it normally goes for. At nearly half off here today, bringing it down to $44 makes this a back the truck up kinda opportunity.
“Lovely” says the Wine Spectator, warning that there were only “75 cases imported.” Here are most of them, minus what we looted for our own shameless gratification, forgive us.
Be nimble, collectors, Francophiles, and all winos really, this one is not coming back when gone.
93 Points – Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“In 2018 the northern sector of the region, meaning upper Saint-Joseph and Côte-Rôtie, suffered less from the drought, heat and mildew issues that slammed their neighbors to the south, Christine Vernay told me. Old vines were able to produce fresher fruit, and fortunately for this Domaine, they have a lot of them. “There was true phenologic ripeness but not really to the point where there’s confit character to the wines, happily,” Vernay said, adding that she thinks it’s a vintage that is built to reward some patience “because you don’t really have to worry about the fruit drying out.” Deep, glistening ruby. Ripe black raspberry, cherry liqueur, olive paste and floral scents are energized by cracked pepper and mineral flourishes. Sweet and expansive in the mouth, offering intense red and blue fruit, spicecake and candied violet flavors that become deeper as the wine stretches out. Shows sharp delineation and spicy cut on a very long, smooth finish framed by well-integrated tannins. Made from fruit grown on the granitic soils of Malleval. Drink 2024-2032.”
93 Points – Wine Spectator
“This offers up a refined mix of bitter plum, loganberry and black cherry compote flavors infused with violet, black tea and mesquite hints and carried to a fine-grained, mineral-edged finish. Lovely. 75 cases imported. Drink now through 2028.”
Deep, deep ruby with crimson and midnight blue wrapping the glass
The kind of nose you want to get lost in, with berries red and black, spices, herbs, earth, and all
At once gratifyingly sweet and savory, while dry and braced up with a fine tannin firmness
Barely quits after over a minute, blooming with florals, finesse, and a fabulous fruitiness
Decant to elevate a simple but top-notch roasted whole chicken meal with decadent sides
What the Winery Says
- Christine Vernay
- 100% Syrah
- Saint-Joseph AOC, Northern Rhône
- Ribaudy on Chavanay
- Vine age
- 30+ years
- Total acidity
- 3.69 g/L
- Residual sugar
- <1.5 g/L
- 12 months
- 100% neutral French oak
- 3 barrels