Jeff Welburn Selections

Rhone Valley

Domaine Vallet, Saint-Joseph

Louis Vallet and his son Anthony preside over this small artisan domaine. In addition to carrying on a 150-year-old family wine growing tradition on the steep slopes of Saint-Joseph, the Vallets still farm cherry and apricot trees on the plateau below.

They tend a combined 30 acres of vines including parcels in four distinct terroir zones around Serrières, one of Saint-Joseph’s 26 communes located in the northern part of the 37 mile-long appellation. Anthony now calls the shots in both the vineyard and the cellar, but Dad is still a very active advisor.

The domaine produces three red wines from 100% Syrah, two limited-production white Saint Josephs, and a similarly limited quantity of Condrieu. The Saint-Joseph Cuvée des Muletiers is named for the men who used to transport wine up to market in St-Étienne by mule-drawn wagons. The Vallets push the envelope on ripeness with the domaine’s oldest vine parcel (planted in the 70s), do more punching down, and age Muletiers longer in barrel than their cuvée Méribets.

Domaine Facts

Vines: 28 acres in AC Saint-Joseph:
25.5 acres of Syrah, 1.5 acres Marsanne, 1 acre Roussanne
Approximately 2.47 acres (one hectare) in Condrieu planted to Viognier
Wines: Saint-Joseph Cuvée Méribets: 100% Syrah from three lieux-dits in Serrières: Les Rouasses, Le Grand Moure and Charamelin
Saint-Joseph Cuvée Muletiers: 100% Syrah from 45-year-old 3.7 acre parcel in Serrières called Cimes des Côtes
Saint-Joseph Blanc Cuvée Méribets: 60% Marsanne, 40% Roussanne vinified in combination of cuves and barriques
Saint-Joseph Blanc Cuvée Ephémère: 85% Marsanne from selection of 40+year-old vines with 15% Roussanne
Soil: Méribets parcels consists of clay and granite sands over base of granite. Cime des Côtes parcel used for Cuvée Muletiers is degraded granite and granite sands on base of granite. The domaine's Marsanne and Roussanne are planted in Les Rouasses which has high clay content, and the lieu-dit Les Côtes, which is predominantly schist.
Harvest: Harvest is conducted entirely by hand using small bins. Several of the parcels are on steep slopes so mechanical harvesting is not an option.
Yields: 35 hectoliters/hectare on average for Muletiers (Cimes des Côte). 40 hectoliters/hectare on average for Méribets.
& Elevage:
All fruit is destemmed. Traditional vertical press used. Fermentation takes place in open vats. Indigenous yeast only. Remontage (pump over) for Saint-Joseph Cuvée Méribets twice daily for three week cuvaison. Saint-Joseph Cuvée Muletiers gets pigeage (punching down) three times a day during 25 day maceration with temperature regulation. Méribets is aged entirely in neutral, older barriques for 11 months. Muletiers is aged in barriques for 15 months with small percentage of new barrels (10%-20% depending on vintage). Up to 70% of Méribets Blanc is aged in neutral barrels on fine lees with 30% to 40% aged in temp-controlled cuves.
Annual Production:
55,000 bottles / 4583 cases