Maison Les Alexandrins Condrieu White 2020
The wines from Condrieu have had an excellent reputation for many generations. The Popes in Avignon worshipped it, in the XVIth century the “Chapitre Lyonnais” offered it to his esteemed guests. More recently, Curnosky described it as one of the greatest white wines in France. Unfortunately, Phyloxera the first world war, the great depression in the thirties along with the industrialisation of the region were responsible for many to abandon their vineyard.
When the appellation of Condrieu was created in 1940, only three communes; Condrieu, Saint Michel and Vérin were included in the production area and totalled 170 hectares. In 1967, this was extended to four neighbouring villages; Chavanay, Saint Pierre de Boeuf, Malleval and Limony bringing it to 387 hectares. With increasing demand from the winegrowers and in view of keeping high quality wines, the area of plantation was reviewed one last time excluding any vines above an altitude of 300 meters. An agreement with the INAO brought the appellation down to 262 hectares. A quarter of the surface was withdrawn in order to only keep the hillside vines with the best exposure, where Viognier reaches its best maturity.
The main stone found in Condrieu is granite. On the surface the soil is covered with decomposed granite and loess. This is soil is perfectly suited to Viognier and the vines benefit from excellent sunshine. When looking for winemaker collaborators, we wished to limit our research to Côteau de Cherry and Côteau de Rozay that have a bit of altitude and where the wines have a good balance and more importantly great freshness.
After the hail damage of 2019, we had to nurse our vineyards back to health with a range of gentle but complementary nutrients. This made 2020 a technically exacting year, especially since the weather reserved many surprises for us. Spring was extraordinarily hot and dry and, despite a short break in June when some welcome rain fell, summer saw a continuation of drought conditions right up until the harvest. With a high risk of mildew at the start of the season, constant and unpredictable winds, powdery mildew half way through the season and the threat of high temperatures and scorching, we were spared nothing, and it required a major effort to cope. Fortunately, the occasional shower, fairly cool nights and morning dew meant the vines did not suffer too much from the summer heat, and all our hard work seems to have paid off with the promise of a fine vintage. To avoid the hottest moments of the day, we began picking from 6 am so as to pick the grapes while they were cool. We began with the whites on August 19 and continued with the reds through until September 16. First tastings revealed aromatic wines of great freshness, with degrees rarely exceeding 13.5°. After so many twists and turns, it is a vintage that reverts to origin in a very “Northern Rhône” style, after the mediterranean vintages of 2018 and 2019.
In our search of winegrowers, we wanted to work in very specific places like coteaux de cherry and coteau de rozay, which are vineyards quite high in altitude, in order to get a nice balance and keep freshness for our wines.
Vinification partly in tanks and partly in barrels of 225 litres. Maturing on fine lees for 8 months.
This Condrieu is marked by the freshness of its vintage. On the nose, it reveals a subtle aromatic bouquet with aromas of white peaches and garden roses. In the mouth, we find the exotic style of Viognier but all in restraint and without exuberance, sublimated by the granite terroir which gives it a nice balance and tension. To be enjoyed over the next 5 years.
Drink in its youth as an aperitif with some prawns.
Viognier : 100 %