Saint Joseph AOP

Well-known for the terraced vineyards situated on the right banks of the Rhône river, this appellation is the product  of the delicious Syrah* grape variety. It is one of the most well-known and amongst the best Côtes du Rhône wines, first grown in Ardèche Hermitage.


Ardèche Hermitage cradle of the Saint Joseph Appellation

In the beginning Saint Joseph wine was called “Mauves wine”. Mauves is a village situated just south of Tournon sur Rhône. Starting from 8th century this wine was much appreciated at the table of the Kings of France and particularly by Charlemagne. Later on Victor Hugo mentioned the wine in his novel Les Misérables.

My brother made him drink this good Mauves wine which he does not drink himself as he considers it to be too expensive” (Les Misérables – Volume 2 Chapter 3)

The first demand of the name Saint Joseph appellation d’origine was patented in 1919 but was not successful. The wine finally became an AOC wine in 1956 and only covered 6 villages : Glun, Mauves, Tournon sur Rhône, Saint Jean de Muzols, Vion and Lemps. The Ardèche Hermitage area is without a doubt the cradle of this great Côtes du Rhône appellation. It took another 13 years (1969) before it was extended to 26 villages covering over 60 kilometres, starting at Guilherand Grange as far as Chavanay (23 villages in Ardèche and 3 in the Loire). 1200 hectares of vines are planted on granitic slopes that mankind has modelled to grow Syrah the mythical grape variety of the Rhône Valley.


The amazing terraced vineyards

The splendid terraces that seem to hang over the river and  the walls that decorate the landscape make the beauty of the view. The low drystone walls, a genuine know-how, were listed  part of UNESCO World Heritage in 2018.

The red wines, coming from the unique Syrah grape variety, represent around 90% of the local production whereas 10% are white wines produced from Roussanne and Marsanne grape varieties. These varieties are identical to the neighbouring appellation Crozes Hermitage. However no need to be an expert to understand the important role the soil plays ! Wines produced from the same grape variety will develop very different hints and aromas. The red Saint Joseph has a strong tannin, mineral edge and also hints of pepper and violet. The white wines have more  apricot-like fragrances and beautiful floral hints like  hawthorn and other honey-producing flowers.

Our Saint Joseph producers with the Vignobles & Découvertes label

Ardèche Hermitage has been a destination with the Vignobles & Découvertes label since 2011. Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage and Saint Joseph are the appellations that make our exceptional terroirs famous.

You want to taste the best Saint Joseph of Ardèche Hermitage, find the addresses of our labeled winegrowers producing this tasty appellation:

My wine route invites you to discover our destination through its appellations. Taste the wines from our terroirs (in moderation) and discover the manufacturing secrets of our great vintages. Walk through our vineyards and enjoy breathtaking landscapes over the Rhone Valley!