Northern Rhône White

If you don't know the wines of Condrieu, and given the tiny volumes produced, that is likely to be the case, you owe it to yourself to find out what Viognier tastes like from its homelend here. These wines have that peachy, blossomy, occasionally lychee fruit that is so distinctive, and they also have the freshness and acidity, the herbal nuance and grace which is so often absent in Viogniers grown elsewhere. Don't take too much notice of advice to drink right away either - many of these wines benefit from a year or three in the cellar.


Reviews

‘The (2017) white wines are again solid, with charming, ripe profiles and moderate acidity, and best enjoyed in their youth.’
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com


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Domaine Benjamin et David Duclaux

Founded by Frédéric Caillet, the great-grandfather of brothers Benjamin and David, in 1928, and then developed by their father Edmond, the domaine consists of 5.8 hectares of vines above Tupin et Semons, in the southern end of the Côte Rôtie appellation, where the bedrock is gneiss and granite. Production is limited to a total of around 2000 cases a year for the whole domaine.

The brothers are aiming to make the elegant style of wine which this rocky vineyard produces - and they certainly succeed. The Chana (Syrah with 7% Viognier) is a cuvée that is simply a 'gourmandise', supple, aromatic, fresh, pure. The Germine (Syrah with 3% Viognier) and the Maison Rouge (100% Syrah) are more structured, and while they can be drunk young, they will give their best with some age. The Domaine has also produced a small volume of Condrieu since 2014.

The wine-making is gentle, there is 20% whole-bunch in the Germine, but otherwise the grapes are de-stemmed. The Chana is aged in demi-muids, the others in smaller barrels - the Maison Rouge getting 40% new wood.

2017 CONDRIEU Les Caillets Domaine Benjamin et David Duclaux

2017 CONDRIEU Les Caillets Domaine Benjamin et David Duclaux

Fresh apricot, touch of peach a little perfumed, just a touch of fatness on the palate with apple and melon but brilliantly balanced with acidity that brings in just a touch of spice, reallyFresh apricot, touch of peach a little perfumed, just a touch of fatness on the palate with apple and melon but brilliantly balanced with acidity that brings in just a touch of spice, really impressive here. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022L&S(Jan 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

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Domaine de la Mordorée

Started in 1986 by the Delorme family, Domaine de la Mordorée has become one of the top estates in the Rhône, with arguably the most consistent quality. The word 'Mordorée', literally 'bronze' or 'golden-brown' is one of the many poetic names for a woodcock, the symbol of the domaine. Other such names include the cuvée names - 'La Belle Voyageuse' (the beautiful traveller), and 'La Dame Rousse' (the russet lady). Founding winemaker Christophe Delorme's objective was to be unintrusive and maintain total respect for his terroir and the fruit it produces, striving to achieve a perfect balance between concentration, terroir and balance.

The domaine consists of 55 Hectares, on 38 different parcels, providing a rich, wide range of soils and micro-climates. The whole domaine has been certified organic since 2007.

Following Christophe's untimely death in 2015, his wife and daughter, Madeleine and Ambre, have taken on the running of the domaine, ably assisted by Rémy Chauvet, who was the cellarmaster under Christophe. As Jeb Dunnuck has put it in the Wine Advocate, 'the estate is obviously still in incredibly capable hands'.

2017 CONDRIEU 'Christophe Delorme' Domaine de la Mordorée

2017 CONDRIEU 'Christophe Delorme' Domaine de la Mordorée

Before his untimely death, Christophe Delorme invested in a .8 hectare plot of Condrieu, as he really wanted to make a Viognier from its homeland in the Northern Rhône, despite the domaine beingBefore his untimely death, Christophe Delorme invested in a .8 hectare plot of Condrieu, as he really wanted to make a Viognier from its homeland in the Northern Rhône, despite the domaine being centred in the south, in Lirac and Tavel. The style for the domaine is rich and full, but retaining a freshness and pineapple zing in the honeyed plushness. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022L&S(Feb 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 12

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Domaine Patrick & Christophe Bonnefond

Christophe and Patrick took over this family domaine in 1990. It extends to ten hectares, with small amounts of IGP 'Collines Rhodaniennes' Viognier (0.5 hectare) and Syrah (1 hectare) as well as the Condrieu and the three cuvées of Côte-Rôtie.

The Condrieu (1 hectare) comes from the granite soils of the Côte Chatillon. It is fermented in 440l barrels (with 30% new wood) at 18C and aged on the lees for ten months.

The 'Colline de Couzou' Côte-Rôtie comes from several plots in the north and south of the appellation, on schist and granite, about six hectares in total. All the reds are fermented in stainless steel with around 20% whole bunches. The Couzou is then aged in 400l barrels for eighteen months, with 20% new wood. Production hovers just above 2000 cases a year.

The Côte Rozier (0.5 hectare) is in the north of the appellation, on schist and mica-schist. The vinification is the same, but the percentage of new wood for this and the Rochains goes up to 30% and the élevage in barrel is extended to 20 months. Only about 160 cases a year. The Rochains (1 hectare), a slightly bigger cuvée at 300 cases a year, is also in the north of the appellation, the other side of La Landonne, on a soil of schist with lots of iron oxide. These are the oldest vines of the domaine.

2018 CONDRIEU Côte Chatillon Domaine Patrick & Christophe Bonnefond

2018 CONDRIEU Côte Chatillon Domaine Patrick & Christophe Bonnefond

9 months in 400l barrels (30% new). A great balance with all the exotic perfumed and spiced fruit you could wish for, but not slipping into over ripeness. This neatly divides the lively greener style9 months in 400l barrels (30% new). A great balance with all the exotic perfumed and spiced fruit you could wish for, but not slipping into over ripeness. This neatly divides the lively greener style and the rich heady style, there is a lot of apricot stone fruit, perfumed and fleshy with some nice Asian spice going on, but the oak and acidity are perfectly harmonised, giving the perfect Condrieu for quite short term drinking. 3-5 years would be the window. Drinking range: 2019 - 2023L&S(Jan 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

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Domaine Pierre Gaillard

Pierre Gaillard's passion for wine-making developed at an early age when he was discovered ploughing in the vineyard with a plough horse when only twelve years old. After studying oenology at Montpelier he went on to work for a large estate in Côte Rôtie where he steeped himself in the 'terroirs' and traditions of this famous vineyard. In 1981 he bought his own vines in St Joseph and revived the 'Clos de Cuminaille', an ancient vineyard dating back to Roman times. Since then he has bought vines in both Côte Rôtie and Condrieu, and his family have continued to develop the business.
Domaine-Pierre-Gaillard
2018 CONDRIEU Domaine Pierre Gaillard

2018 CONDRIEU Domaine Pierre Gaillard

Much more precise as you would expect, the fruit is much more expressive, ripe peach and apricot notes with a great perfumed floral feel but still a lightness of touch, alcohol is showing but I amMuch more precise as you would expect, the fruit is much more expressive, ripe peach and apricot notes with a great perfumed floral feel but still a lightness of touch, alcohol is showing but I am sure this will settle, maybe a touch light on acidity but this is for drinking now, a real pleasure to drink, has all the hallmarks of Pierre Gaillard, for such a big man he has a real lightness of touch in his whites.L&S(Jan 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond

2018 CONDRIEU l'Octroi Domaine Pierre Gaillard

2018 CONDRIEU l'Octroi Domaine Pierre Gaillard

From a small plot above the hills on the flat land on the north side of Malleval, sand & granite, 70% new oak 30% 4-5 year old - from several barrels in the cellar. Fuller weight of fruit withFrom a small plot above the hills on the flat land on the north side of Malleval, sand & granite, 70% new oak 30% 4-5 year old - from several barrels in the cellar. Fuller weight of fruit with toasted notes of light vanilla/butter, richly textured with fleshy apricot and exotic white musk perfume, almost a touch of Turkish delight, again the alcohol is here but again this will meld in with time, the acidity is more pronounced and it will need drinking 3 – 5 years, superb effort yet again and will delight the traditional Condrieu fan. L&S(Jan 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

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Domaine Rémi Niero

The smart and charming Rémi started to work alongside his father in 2004 and today is in charge of the domaine along with his wife Krystel. They are the 3rd generation of winemakers and continue the tradition of the estate's refined and pure wines from Viognier and Syrah working from their cellars in Condrieu. The domaine has recently fully converted to organic farming, the wines much like the estate are pristine and pure.

This is one of the original domaines of the Condrieu appellation, and centred on the oldest vineyard, above Condrieu itself and with a decent holding in the Coteau du Chéry, which, with the Coteau du Vernon, is considered one of the best sites.

The domaine existed 45 years ago when the whole appellation was just 8 hectares of vines (it's now 160 hectares), under the name Pinchon. Rémi's father Robert married the Pinchon daughter, so now, having been Domaine Niero-Pinchon for a bit, it has been shortened to simply Niero when Rémi took over.

The Condrieus come from just over 4 hectares of vines, all in the commune of Condrieu itself, in the parcels Coteau de Chéry, La Roncharde, Côte Chatillon, La Caille, Vergelas and Corbéry. The Condrieus are aged in tank (60%) and barrel (40%) for a year.

The Côte-Rôties come from two sites, La Viallière and Le Coteau de Bassenon, from the southern end of the appellation, a total of nearly 2 hectares. They are aged for 16 months in barrel, with 20% new wood.

2017 CONDRIEU Les Ravines Domaine Rémi Niero

2017 CONDRIEU Les Ravines Domaine Rémi Niero

A selection of Roncharde, Côte de Chatillon, La Caille, Vergelas and Corbery, average age of vines 20 years from decomposed granite soils. 30% Aged in oak, 10% in concrete eggs and 60% in stainlessA selection of Roncharde, Côte de Chatillon, La Caille, Vergelas and Corbery, average age of vines 20 years from decomposed granite soils. 30% Aged in oak, 10% in concrete eggs and 60% in stainless steel. Planted on steep hillside ‘chaillets’, all manual harvest – a blend of five sites with average vine age of 20 years, 40% barrique for 12 months and 60% stainless steel. Perfumed and floral on the nose, exotic while retaining freshness, with satsuma, fleshy white fruits, a touch of apricot stone fruit, good balance of granite and schist minerality, cloaked with great acidity which holds the Asian/ginger spice in check, long pure, attractive and very elegant, exemplary Condrieu. Drinking range: 2019 - 2022L&S(Jan 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond

2017 CONDRIEU Chéry Domaine Rémi Niero

2017 CONDRIEU Chéry Domaine Rémi Niero

From a miniscule 0.8 hectare vineyard with vines averaging 70 years old, the Coteau du Chéry is considered to be one of the finest Viognier plots in Condrieu. Lees ageing with batonnage, 40% agedFrom a miniscule 0.8 hectare vineyard with vines averaging 70 years old, the Coteau du Chéry is considered to be one of the finest Viognier plots in Condrieu. Lees ageing with batonnage, 40% aged for 12 months in mostly new oak and 60% stainless steel. Richer fruit than Ravines, more precise and perfumed with notes of apricot, jasmine and orange peel, again the acidity is fresh and gives the wine real poise and drive, the spice from the fruit is really well integrated with the balance of oak lending a touch of vanilla but nothing more, really expressive and well made. Drinking range: 2019 - 2023L&S(Feb 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond

Domaine Pierre Gaillard

Pierre Gaillard's passion for wine-making developed at an early age when he was discovered ploughing in the vineyard with a plough horse when only twelve years old. After studying oenology at Montpelier he went on to work for a large estate in Côte Rôtie where he steeped himself in the 'terroirs' and traditions of this famous vineyard. In 1981 he bought his own vines in St Joseph and revived the 'Clos de Cuminaille', an ancient vineyard dating back to Roman times. Since then he has bought vines in both Côte Rôtie and Condrieu, and his family have continued to develop the business.
Domaine-Pierre-Gaillard
2018 VIOGNIER Les Gendrines Côtes du Rhône Domaine Pierre Gaillard

2018 VIOGNIER Les Gendrines Côtes du Rhône Domaine Pierre Gaillard

(tasted from tank, prior to bottling late April.) Pure and bright on the nose, fresh notes of guava and citrus fruits – the mouthfeel is lush but with good acidity too, slight ginger aromatics and(tasted from tank, prior to bottling late April.) Pure and bright on the nose, fresh notes of guava and citrus fruits – the mouthfeel is lush but with good acidity too, slight ginger aromatics and that lovely apricot stone fruit, really impressive.L&S(Jan 2019)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond