Guigal Condrieu 2006
Viognier from Condrieu, Rhone, France
Condrieu is the original home of the Viognier vine, and is the source of one of the world's most exotic white wines. The tiny, parcelated appellation (500 acres total/200 planted) is located on steep hillsides beginning at a bend in the Rhône River just south of Côte Rôtie and continuing intermittently about 12 miles further south. Marcel and Philippe Guigal supplement the production of their own Condrieu vineyards with a small amount of grapes purchased from growers, vinifying the wine in stainless steel (two-thirds) and barrique (one-third). The delicately elusive perfume suggests pears, spice, and honeysuckle, while on the palate the wine is surprisingly rich and full-bodied, a wine equally for the intellect and the senses. Condrieu may be enjoyed as an aperitif, with foie gras, lobster and other rich seafoods, and (some say) white asparagus.
Wine Spectator - "Rich and refined, with a gorgeous mouthfeel carrying flavors of quince, persimmon and melon, all pushed by a bright minerality on the finish. Drink now through 2011."
The Wine Advocate - "Perhaps the finest basic cuvee Guigal has yet made, the 2006 Condrieu exhibits superb acacia flower, white peach, honeysuckle, and mineral characteristics in a medium to full-bodied , gorgeous style with zesty acidity in the background."
The Guigal domain was founded in 1946 by Etienne Guigal in the ancient village of Ampuis, home of the wines of the Côte-Rôtie. In these vineyards that are over 2400 years old, you can still see the small terraced walls characteristic of the Roman period. Etienne Guigal arrived in this region in 1923 at the age of 14. He made wine for over 67 vintages and, at the beginning of his career, participated in the development of the Vidal-Fleury establishment.
Despite his young age, Marcel Guigal took over from his father in 1961 when the latter was victim to a brutal illness rendering him blind. Marcel's hard work and perseverance enabled the Guigals to buy out Vidal-Fleury in 1984, although the establishment retains its own identity and commercial autonomy. In 2000, the Guigals purchased the Jean-Louis Grippat estate in Saint-Joseph and Hermitage, as well as the Domaine de Vallouit in Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage.
In the cellars of the Guigal estate in Ampuis, the northern appellations of the Rhône Valley are produced and aged. These are the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. The great appellations of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Tavel and Côtes-du-Rhône, are also aged in the Ampuis cellars. View all Guigal Wines
About CondrieuView a map of Condrieu wineries (con-dree-UH)
This tiny appellation just south of Cote Rotie produces all white wine, all from Viognier, the heady, perfumed grape that is at its best in the Northern Rhone. The slopes are south facing and made of granite, with a very specific top soil made from mica, called arzelle. Condrieu is small, with only 300 acres of vine. Within Condrieu lies Chateau Grillet, a sole estate and an appellation – the smallest one in France at under 9 acres of vine. Also a Viognier-only region, the wines from here are small production (obviously) so somewhat expensive, but not always superior in quality to Condrieu.
Notable FactsDue to Viognier's fickle nature, the yields in Condrieu are kept low and the grapes are carefully tended. This in turn leads to low production and high quality - not to mention high prices. Slopes face the south and so protect the vines from the disruptive (yet cooling) winds of the Mistral. The wine is meant to be drunk young (within 3 years) because the grape does not often have the acid to hold the wine up for longevity. Typical of Viognier, the wines exude intense scents of apricot and honeysuckle. For the true essence of Viognier, Condrieu is the wine to try.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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