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 A quarter of the surface was withdrawn in order to only keep the hillside vines with the best exposure, where Viognier reaches its best maturity.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.
The vintage :
There was a huge amount of rainfall during the winter of 2013. This allowed to fill up the water tables.
The temperatures were very unusually hot in April but then dropped considerably in May (an average of 9 to 10 C less than usual). On top of the cooler climate, the precipitations were very significant at the end of May, which delayed the flowering of the vines.
The nice weather came back in June. Despite a temperamental spring and the vegetation being a little delayed, the new shoots look healthy and promising.
The summer was twofold: In July, the weather alternated between dry and sunny spells and storms (including a bit of impact with hale). August was a hotter and drier month of.
The accumulated delay was noticed at the time of harvest as we started around September 25th. The maturities were very consistent depending on the appellation, the terroir, the altitude.
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.
The bunches are pressed followed by a long fermentation at low temperatures of 12/15°.
20% is aged in oak barrels to bring fatness to the wine and the rest in stainless steel tanks to preserve aromas of fruit and freshness.
Viognier : 100%
Tasting notes :
A shiny pale yellow color.
The nose is aromatic, exotic with notes of citrus and slightly floral.
The bouquet is balanced and leaves a lovely impression and length.
Drink in its youth as an aperitif with some prawns.
This has a lovely creamy mouthfeel, with flavors of Jonagold apple, Cavaillon melon and fennel gliding along. Lightly buttered brioche notes frame the flattering finish.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, Note : 92/100, 2015-08-19
Made in a clean, very fresh and racy style, the 2012 Condrieu has textbook apricot and marmalade styled aromas and flavors, medium-bodied richness, and a lengthy, mineral tinged finish. It too gains in richness in the glass and is an impressive effort.
Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Advocate, Note : 90/100, 2013-12-16