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 A quarter of the surface was withdrawn in order to only keep the hillside vines with the best exposure, where Viognier reaches its best maturity.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 :
After the historically dry and hot summer, the wines give an impression of opulence, concentration and generosity. Ageing will allow the wines to soften and slowly find their balance.
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.
Viognier : 100%
Tasting notes :
Pretty yellow colour with light green undertones. The nose is fresh and aromatic with notes of exotic fruit (pineapple, acacia flower, lychee) and peach, enhanced by discreet oak ageing notes and sweet spices. Perfect balance between richness and mineral tension, this wine offers a very nice length in the mouth with a saline finish with beautiful bitterness.
Drink in its youth as an aperitif with some prawns.
The winemaking team put the brakes on the rich fruity side of Viognier here, going for more sculpted and fine citrus zest, saffron and apricot pit characteristics. It has a tight frame and a sense of slate physicality in the mouth from those granite soils. It’s aged half in barrel, half in vat for eight months, with no new oak. This vintage saw an extremely dry July and August, with just one day of rain over the whole two months, saved by a burst of 40mm falling in one day just before harvest. This will be bottled in September, and should age extremely well over the next five years. The grapes for Maison Les Alexandrins are grown on Côteau de Chéry – where Chapoutier makes a single vineyard bottling – and Côteau de Rozay on the higher slopes of the appellation.
Decanter, Note : 93/100, 2018-09-06
The 2017 Condrieu has some toasty notes and a modern
slant, yet still offers very pretty stone fruits, apricot,
spice, and floral aromas and flavors. It’s ripe, round,
and supple on the palate, with moderate acidity, and is
geared toward near-term drinking.
Jeb Dunnuck, Note : 90/100, 2018-12-20
The medium to full-bodied 2017 Condrieu Maison les Alexandrins is a worthy follow-up to the fine 2016. It shows hints of buttered pineapple in addition to the apricot aromas and flavors, then adds hints of peppery spice and a slightly chalky texture on the lingering finish.
Wine Advocate, Note : 91/100, 2018-12-28
Plump and forward, offering an exotic mix of plantain, persimmon, apricot and white nectarine flavors, laced with a thread of bitter orange through the finish. Lots of fun. Drink now.
Wine Spectator, Note : 93/100, 2020-02-02