Guigal Condrieu 2012
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) 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.
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 may be enjoyed as apéritif with foie gras, lobster and other rich seafoods, and white asparagus.
The Wine Advocate - "Even better, the 2012 Condrieu (same elevage as the 2011) is a slightly fresher effort that offers vibrant white peach, apricot, flowers and assorted tropical notes. Possessing awesome acidity and freshness, yet still showing the texture and depth of the appellation and variety, it is a knockout Condrieu to enjoy over the coming 4-5 years."
International Wine Cellar - "Pale gold. Pungently aromatic scents of dried pear, citrus zest, chamomile and violet, with a hint of anise in the background. Concentrated and lively on the palate, with tactile pear skin and Meyer lemon flavors given added power by deeper nectarine and honey qualities. Sharply delineated on the close, leaving chalky mineral and pit fruit nectar notes behind."
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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1 rating, 1 with reviewSchroeder - El Macero, CA410/3/2014
Never having tasted a Condrieu, but loving white Rhones from California's central coast, I decided to try the benchmark for Viogniers. The Guigal Condrieu retails at $70, cheap for a Condrieu most of which crest the century mark, but was a real bargain at $57.99 from wine.com. We popped the Guigal at a wine tasting which included a Charles Smith Lawrence Columbia Valley Viognier among several white Rhone blends from California. The Condrieu really is a whole different ball game. On first whiff, lavender popped out of the glass followed by flavors of peach and other floral notes. But it's the fruit/acid/minerality balance that really sets this apart from its New World cousins. It's subtle, yet vibrant. It made me want to drink a lot of it, so my wife and I shared a bottle with an Ottolenghi shrimp in a Pernod broth dish and, predictably, polished off all but a half-glass we shared the next day.
- Smooth & Supple
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.
- 5 Stars: