- WinemakerEdouard Guerin
- RegionRhone Valley
- Farming MethodOrganic Practices
Ogier Baligant Saint-Joseph 2018
This wine has the sort of beautiful purity of color and depth of concentration that Northern Rhône does better than anywhere else. At first shy, the aromas whisper of warm, spice box and flinty mineral notes. As the wine opens, inky black fruits of plums and blackberry appear, with complements of licorice, kirsh, crushed violets, graphite, and roasted sage. On the palate, palatial depth is achieved with considerable intensity, length and breadth across the entire mouth – intensely berry driven without jamminess, with a soft and supple smokiness that is classic syrah. An hour in the decanter is ideal, with cellaring potential up to a decade.
Clearly, the family loves their history and folklore... “Ogier the Dane” was a fearsome giant of a soldier in Charlemagne’s army, who solidified his reputation in Charlemagne's campaigns in the Basque country before settling nearby in southeastern France’s Massif Central region. His descendant, Antoine Ogier, established himself in the wine business back in 1859, and generations of Ogiers have increased the holdings and the quality throughout the Rhône ever since. The Baligant vineyard is located in the Northern Rhône Valley on the right bank of the Rhône river, between flowery Condrieu in the north and rustic Cornas in the south. A vineyard comprised of granitic terraces and loose schist, “Baligant” is named for the Babylonian admiral and chief antagonist of Emperor Charlemagne in the battle for Zaragoza – a cunning and skillful enemy who earned great respect from Charlemagne, eventually falling to him in hand-to-hand combat – according to France’s oldest epic poem, the 11th century "The Song of Rolland".
The growing season is primarily influenced by the local Mediterranean climate and the enigmatic Mistral winds. After hand harvesting, Ogier’s oenologist (and technical director of Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes) Edouard Guérin justified his choice to remove all stems, stating that, “Full de-stemming owing to the minerality of the soils. What we are seeking here is the purest expression of a Syrah planted in granite soils with notes of flint and ink, a certain austerity that is characteristic of wines from Saint-Joseph.”
As fermentation progresses, the production team gradually increases the temperature of the tanks – both assuring that fermentation goes completely dry before pressing, while also encouraging a greater extraction of color and concentration from the must. Additionally, there is an extended maceration of 20-35 days in warm tanks (82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) before separation from the skins. Following pressing, 60% of the wine is matured in concrete, 20% each in large wooden vats and barrels that range from brand new to less than 2 years old. The wine ages for 12-24 months, depending on the vintage, before bottling.
We’ll say it again, not much to be had on this one. It deserves a spot in the collection of any aspiring Rhône Ranger, or simply any and all who love rich, concentrated, and complexly structured wines. For under $30, this wine packs a serious punch, guaranteed to impress and delight all manners of wine lovers. Grab some before it is gone forever!