This wine is produced by the negotiant arm of the famous Hermitage producer, J. Chave. Chave also produces a more expensive St. Joseph from his estate vineyards. The St. Joseph Offerus sold for $16 to $18 when it hit my market with the 1997 and 1998 vintages, but it now costs $25 to $30 retail.
The 1998 is showing very well right now. It's deep and dark but with some burnished notes of maturity beginning to show. When first opened, the aromas and flavors were all fresh and bright red fruit and flowers--very pleasant but not particularly complex. With 30 minutes of airing, it developed considerable power and personality. The nose reminds me of a Cote Rotie--smoke, cured meats, grilled tomatoes and concentrated red raspberry--but the flavors are more supple and flowing, more in line with what I would expect from a St. Joseph. All the charm of a young Syrah on the tongue but with the complex bouquet of a mature wine--a perfect combination as far as I'm concerned. This wine will never reach the heights of a Hermitage or Cote Rotie, but it's very satisfying right now.