Edmunds St. John

  • "If Randall Grahm brought the flash to the Rhône movement, Steve Edmunds brought the soul, a framework for authenticity that faithfully served the movement through its early years and provided a kind of moral compass. His sensitivity translated effortlessly to his wines, in blends which reflected an authentic Côtes du Rhône charm, and in meditative Syrahs. The combination got to the heart of what the movement was about... a winemaking aesthetic that would become more refined and artistic as the years progressed. Steve Edmunds has always possessed a touch of the poet, but few winemakers to this day are as committed to what amounts to an artistic vision of winemaking."
    —Patrick J. Comiskey, American Rhone


 

Although you would undoubtedly get a humble, soft spoken reply if you tried to tell him so, Steve Edmunds is one of the greatest winemakers in California and, frankly, the world. This is all the proof you need that the United States can produce incredible wines. Whether we’re talking about his classic Syrahs and Rhône blends or his more recent ventures into Gamay and atypical white blends, this is the real deal. And now, with almost three decades of practice, his wines are as remarkable as ever. He’ll never make a blockbuster fruit-bomb, and critics don’t always give him due attention, but Steve is still out there making the uncompromising wines he always has. The winery started in 1985 when Steve and his wife, Cornelia St. John, bought a few tons of grapes from some old vineyards and produced their first vintage.

The wines were Rhône inspired: Syrah, Mourvèdre, and a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style blend. Over the years Steve has worked with many other varietals but Rhône blends and Syrahs have always been the heart of Edmunds St. John. Little has changed in Steve’s winemaking since that first vintage, he starts with quality fruit from great sites and, preferably, older vines. In the cellar he keeps a light touch, using hand punch-downs and going easy on the oak. For the Rhône reds, Steve ferments them in one to six year old barrels and puncheons; for the whites and Gamay it’s all stainless steel.

The resulting wines, while delicious young, are incredibly age-worthy; they almost seem like they could last forever, growing only more complex and surprising. Even his Gamays and Whites can age for ten years or more with compelling results. They are fascinating to taste year after year; the evolution of just a few years reveal a whole new dimension to a wine you thought you had already figured out. It is remarkable to still be surprised by a winemaker after almost thirty years, but Steve never fails to challenge what we believe we already know. Surprises are an underappreciated quality in wine, and we’re fortunate to have someone out there who hasn’t forgotten that. On some bottles Steve claims to bottle by “Blind Luck and Intuition,” and it’s possible that it’s true. It has, however, been a very long streak of luck and a lot of very good intuition.

www.edmundsstjohn.com

Image PRODUCT Description Country / Region Region Materials

DB6589-14
Syrah "Barsotti Ranch"
2014
Syrah
Notes from Steve: It’s likely that every grape variety has a favorite soil in which to grow, one that permits the most felicitous... Read More
United States California

DB6588-17
Rosé Bone Jolly
2017
Gamay
Made from Gamay grapes grown at Witters Vineyard (3400 feet elevation, volcanic clay-loam, north exposure) and Barsotti Ranch (+/- 3000... Read More
United States California

DB6589-13
Syrah "North Canyon Road"
2013
Syrah
100% Syrah from Fenaughty (69%) and Barsotti (31%) vineyards. 
United States California

DB7298-17
Heart of Gold
2017
The tenth vintage of this wine! Fenaughty Vineyard, at roughly 2800 feet elevation, is located in the Apple Hill District above Placerville... Read More United States California

DB6743-16
Organic
"El Jaléo" Shake Ridge Ranch Amador County
2016
Tempranillo
One part each of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Mourvedre, and one-half part Graciano.  Notes from Steve: I’d been hearing really great things... Read More
United States California

DB2624-16
Gamay "Bone Jolly"
2016
Gamay
LIMITED; 400 cases produced. The wines that first propelled Steve's interest in working with Gamay were mainly from Beaujolais; however,... Read More
United States California