Guigal Condrieu 2009
Viognier from Condrieu, Rhone, France
The delicately elusive perfume suggests pears, spice, and honeysuckle, while on the palate the wine is surprisingly rich and full-bodied, a wine for both the intellect and the senses.
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) 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 Guigal supplements the production of his own Condrieu vineyards with grapes purchased from numerous small growers, vinifying two thirds of the wine in stainless steel and the remainder in new barriques.
Condrieu may be enjoyed as aperitif with foie gras, lobster and other rich seafoods, and white asparagus.
The Wine Advocate - "The totally dry 2009 Condrieu offers exotic lychee, pineapple, peach and honeysuckle characteristics along with full-bodied fruit, good acidity and minerality, a luscious mouthfeel and heady alcohol (14.5%). It should drink nicely for 2-3 years"
Wine Spectator - "Bright, engaging persimmon, tangerine and white peach notes characterize this juicy, nicely defined white, which shows bolder anise and green melon flavors on the finish."
E. Guigal Winery
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 E. 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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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
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