On Tuesday, March 15th, the Sons of Bachus (SOBs) and two Daughters of Dionysus assembled for a tasting of Saint Joseph Wines. The appellation is situated south of Condrieu in the North Rhone Valley. The principal grape is Syrah and up to 10% white grapes may be added (Marsanne and Roussanne) and the wines are similar to those of Cote Rotie. Ten wines were tasted in three flights and there was a taste off of the top wines in each flight.

The top three in order of ranking, with my notes and scores

2006 Domaine de Miguettes - This was my second choice, but by a small margin. It showed a deep ruby color with a garnet edge (an indication of a maturing wine) and a sultry, smoky nose of grilled berries and meats, and garrigue (lavender, Provencal herbs). The flavors were thick and pure Syrah. 19+/20 points.

2010 Domaine Courbis, "Les Reyes" - This was my first choice. It showed a purplish color and an intense, spicy blackberry and cassis nose and well-structured Syrah flavors. It really opened up on aeration, showing classic depth and a long finish with notes of spices and toffeee. 19.5/20 points.

2011 Qupé Syrah, Edna Valley, California, Lundquist Vineyard - This was the "ringer" of the tasting. I picked it out as such for its lighter color and body, indicative of a warmer climate Syrah. It offered attractive aromas of wild berries, tobacco and spice, with chewy, medium bodied flavors that showed fine depth and length. 19/20 points.

Other noteworthy wines

2006 E. Guigal "Lieu Dit" - This is a bottling from Guigal's estate vineyards. This one showed a purplish color and a spicy nose of blackberries, currants and spices. In between the traditional and modern styles, it had fine depth, Syrah purity and a lasting finish. 19/20 points. There was also a 2011 Lieu Dit which showed a bit less complexity and depth. 18.5+/20 points.

2012 Stephane Robert "Domaine du Tunnel" - This showed an inky purplish color and a perfumed nose - lavender, violets and incense - and mouth encompassing flavors, followed by notes of orange peel and burnt charcoal and a dryish tannin finish. 19/20 points.

2010 Guy Farge "passion de terrasses" - Deep ruby colored, this showed a deep ruby color and aromas of tobacco, cedar and roasted berries. The flavors were thick and meaty, with notes of dried friit, roast coffee, earth, leather and ripe, grainy tannins. This was my first choice in its flight. 19+/20 points.

Thanks to Jamie Kennedy for hosting this fine tasting.