The 2021 vintage of Domaine Bernard Gripa is here and in full flight with 90+ ratings for his complete collection. While a harrowing vintage for many, Bernard's small pocket of vines in the Northern Rhone region managed to escape the bulk of the frost and came out with a selection of cuvees in reasonable quantities that I am honoured to offer you today.
As Fabrice Gripa continues to take over as complete custodian of the vines, the evolution of the Saint-Joseph and Saint-Peray wines has been gradual and slight. His family's winemaking traditions have remained the focus of operations in the Domaine, with his father Bernard Gripa over seeing all areas of the process. The delicate and driven nature Fabrice and his team hold allow them to undertake every task by hand, ensuring the meticulous work is all within their principle of using purely organic agricultural methods.
"It’s an interesting time for wineries in the Northern Rhône valley. On the one hand, demand for their wines, especially for small-production, single-vineyard bottlings, is higher than ever. On the other, nature hasn’t been playing nice for the last several vintages. Luckily, the best producers have handled the increasingly challenging conditions with aplomb." - Josh Raynolds on the 2021s, Vinous
As a small yet elite producer, Fabrice and his father have handled the rise in renown smoothly and humbly, and we honour their wines by providing you with their full range to open the doors of the Rhone Valley to you in an accessible and exciting way every year. With ageing potential reaching up to 15 years, Domaine Gripa's wines are all made traditionally and masterfully, do not delay in purchasing today.
BERNARD GRIPA - ST JOSEPH WHITE 2021 - $107
An expressive nose of flowers, beeswax, almonds, milk caramel and anise. It’s medium-bodied with bright acidity. Great volume and poise on the palate with an array of juicy fruit coating the mouth, and a vibrant, zesty finish. Drink or hold. 93 points, James Suckling.
BERNARD GRIPA - ST JOSEPH "BERCEAU" WHITE 2021 - $167
2021 vintage not yet tasted.
While the regular cuvée displays honeyed ripeness, Gripa’s 2019 Saint Joseph Blanc Le Berceau - old-vine Marsanne from the lieu-dit Saint-Joseph in Tournon - features scents of crushed stone, pencil shavings and citrusy fruit. Entirely barrel fermented and aged, it’s medium to full-bodied, concentrated and shows ample length and freshness on the finish. I’ve been deliberately conservative with my aging estimate but wouldn’t be surprised to see this drink well for a decade or more. It’s certainly among the top white wines from the appellation. 93 points, Joe Czerwinzki, Wine Advocate. 2019 review.
BERNARD GRIPA - ST JOSEPH RED 2021 - $109
Shimmering violet colour. Primary red and blue fruit aromas, along with suggestions of olive, smoked meats and cracked pepper. Offers fleshy, appealingly sweet cherry and blackberry flavours that turn spicier and firm up through the back half. Subtly chewy tannins add grip to a long smoky finish that leaves cherry and spice notes behind. 91-93 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous.
BERNARD GRIPA - ST JOSEPH RED "BERCEAU" 2021 - $204
Saturated ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, vanilla and smoky minerals, along with floral and spice notes in the background. Gently sweet and expansive on the palate, offering primary blackberry and cherry flavours that show sharp clarity and excellent depth. Smoky and focused on the persistent, floral-tinged finish, with building tannins adding framework. 94-96 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous.
BERNARD GRIPA - ST JOSEPH "PARADY" 2020 - $149
Deep, dark purple. Powerful dark berry liqueur, candied violet, cracked pepper and liquorice scents, along with hints of olive paste, expresso and smoky minerals. Offers deep, palate-staining boysenberry, cherry liqueur, floral pastille and fruitcake flavours that show superb depth and are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Opens up steadily with air and finishes wonderfully long and spicy, with reverberating minerality, mounting tannins and lingering smokiness. 25% whole clusters and 20% new oak. 96 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous.
BERNARD GRIPA - ST PERAY "LES FIGUIERS" 2021 - $111
2021 vintage not yet tasted.
Pale, green-tinged yellow. Mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruits on the deeply perfumed nose, along with hints of beeswax, chamomile and smoky minerals. Chewy and focused on the palate, offering concentrated tangerine and pear nectar flavours that flesh out and become sweeter with air. The mineral note resonates on a long, focused finish that leaves a touch of fennel behind. These vines are about 70 years old now, Fabrice Gripa told me. 92-93 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous. 2019 review
BERNARD GRIPA - ST PERAY "LES PINS" 2021 - $83
A delicate and aromatic Saint-Peray with notes of apples, flowers and some toasted bread. Medium body with fresh acidity. Mellow and well-rounded with a fresh finish. Drink now. 91 points, James Suckling.
Brilliant straw. Incisive, mineral-tinged aromas of Meyer lemon, green apple, nectarine and tarragon take on a smoky nuance with air. Sappy and focused on the palate, offering vibrant citrus and orchard fruit flavors that become spicier and deeper as the wine opens up. A minerally nuance adds cut to the long, smoky finish, which leaves behind pear skin and peach pit notes. 91-92 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous. 2019 review