Domaine Aléofane; A New Crozes-Hermitage & Saint-Joseph Star?

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Few know of her, Natacha Chave. But if you’re into Rhône, the Chave name probably made you curious. Natacha is the younger sister of Yann Chave and since a few years she produces a red Saint-Joseph and more recently she’s added a Crozes-Hermitage to he portfolio.

Natacha’s wines goes under the name Domaine Aléofane and she’s producing them both in the old premises of her older brother. By pure coincidence I bumped into her name when reading about Yann before my trip to the Rhône Valley and in Tain l’Hermitage I just had to meet her.

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After Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph is the second largest appellation in the north parts of Rhône. More than 150 producers are to be found here, competing for your attention. And today many deserves it. From having produced quite sturdy red wines, many St. Joseph’s now add elegance. Of course the location of your parcel matters and in the case of Natacha she only has a small 1.5 hectares plot in the appellation. A good spot though, with old vines on the granite filled soil.

Formidable I’m tasting the 2011 Saint Joseph with her and it is pretty seductive. The identification marks are there; violets, spices, smoked sausages and blackcurrants mixed with a dash of raspberries. But the spices are more of the oriental kind and the fruit is pure and inviting. I love this wine. Oozing wet rocks with a dash of smoke, then that gorgeous violet scent, the clean berry taste and the long taste. Excellent structure and will keep and evolve for probably 7-8 years.

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Formidable  The 2011 Crozes-Hermitage is a new addition and comes from even older vines. I normally don’t like to speak in terms of whether a wine is a great find or not – quality price ratio speaking – but in this case it’s simply impossible to not mention Natacha’s 2011 which delivers a very vintage typical wine with a cool nose and restrained fruit, lovely herbal notes, violets, iron taste (bite yourself in the tongue if you lack the reference….) and raspberries. It will keep for sure and should be allowed to just settle for half a year or so, but believe me, it’s impossible to keep hands off this one. Buy a case!

Try to find the wines of Domaine Aléofane. They are true expressions of what can emanate from Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph of today. If you’re an importer this is a must-visit winery!

Find the wines of Natacha? Use the wine-searcher box in the top right corner of the page. If you’re in UK, Genesis Wines have already found Aléofane.

Wonder about the scores? It’s simply my way of making wine fun and less about numbers! Check it out here.

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