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Georges Vernay Condrieu Terrasses de l'Empire 2016

  • D93
  • JS93
  • RP91
750ML / 0% ABV
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  • WS93
  • RP93
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Winemaker Notes

The Georges Vernay Condrieu "Terrasses de l'Empire" is an excellent example of Rhone Viognier with the unique flavors of white peach and flowers with the elegance, delicacy and charm typified of this style. A Condrieu steeped in harmony, freshness with aromatic quality to finish the wine with beautiful balance.

Critical Acclaim

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D 93
Decanter
A touch of mango and green banana to the apricot fruit, with a hint of macadamia nut. This is full and flowing, with a good mineral spine and sense of freshness from the balancing acidity. Tailored and tucked in, it's a very drinkable expression among some rather flabby 2016s.
JS 93
James Suckling
Mostly stainless steel, just 10% of this sees older oak. A hint of smokiness and flintiness with extremely pure white apricot and peach, and some chalky nuances on the nose, too. The palate has a pure, smooth and supple feel. Nicely compressed and salty minerals. A gently spicy finish and pure white peach to close.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Vernay's only 2016 Condrieu to be bottled at the time of my tasting, the 2016 Condrieu les Terrasses de l'Empire reflects the restrained house style, marrying appealing notes of honeysuckle and lime with crushed stone. It expands slightly into a pleasantly plump mid-palate, then finishes dry, crisp and austere. It should drink well for a few years.
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Georges Vernay

Georges Vernay

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Georges Vernay, France
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Condrieu is the original home of the Viognier grape, having been planted here since the Roman occupation in the third century. In 1940 it was officially made an appellation. In those early days, it was Georges Vernay and his father Francis who were instrumental in guiding the appellation into the future. Francis served as the first treasurer for the Condrieu Growers' Union and it was George who was influential in delimiting the boundaries of the appellation to ensure that only those wines from the vines planted on the steep, granite hillsides could call themselves Condrieu. In 1996, Christine Vernay took over the family domaine after her father Georges retired. Under her watch, the wines have become even more delicate and nuanced. In addition to world class Viognier, she has been crafting some of the top Côte-Rôtie here, and critics have taken notice. In 2013, Christine was given the prestigious award of "Winemaker of the Year" by Bettane & Dessauve.

A pioneer in the renewal of the Condrieu appellation, Domaine Georges Vernay has always made wines of unique style, notable for their finesse, elegance and harmony. The property has become a major emblem of Rhone Valley winegrowing, from the time when Georges Vernay saved the Condrieu appellation to the international awards earned by Christine Vernay’s Côte-Rôtie. Three generations have left the mark of the philosophy on the estate, while perpetuating its traditions in the greatest respect for both vines and winegrowers.

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Condrieu

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As the source of some of the most vibrant and powerful white wines in France, Condrieu is uniquely situated in one of the northern outposts of the Rhone River. It is the original Viognier appellation with a wine growing history reaching back well over two thousand years. Like most of the wine regions of the Northern Rhone, Condrieu’s vines grow on extremely steep and narrow granite terraces. But what makes the region unique is a topsoil, locally called, “arzelle,” made of decomposed mica. This and a sheltering of the harsh northern winds, make optimal sites to produce opulent and brilliant Viognier. It is a tiny zone with no room for expansion and produces miniscule amounts of wine each year, contributing to its allure.

A fine Condrieu will have aromas and flavors suggestive of ripe stone fruit, lime peel, green almond, ginger, white flowers and toasted nuts. A honeyed smell may mislead you to think the wine will be sweet but the modern style favors totally dry on the palate. Its texture will be full and soft but a touch of mineral will provide great balance.

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Viognier

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Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône, and the only one allowed in Condrieu and neighboring monopole (an entire appellation dedicated to just one winery), Château Grillet. It is also a blending variety in several appellations throughout the entire Rhône Valley. Viognier is grown throughout much of the rest of the wine world with some degree of success. Look for great New World examples from California, Chile, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia.

In the Glass

This is an aromatic variety making rich, complex and full-bodied white wines redolent of a full bouquet of flowers, stone and tropical fruits and a dash of spice. It is lower in acidity than most white wines, lending to its heavy impression on the palate. While a whiff of Viognier might suggest sweet flavors, these wines are typically quite dry.

Perfect Pairings

Viognier is an intense, bold variety that can easily stand up to hearty food like pork loin with apricot stuffing, roasted chicken or chicken Kiev.

Sommelier Secret

While Viognier is a white grape, it also plays an important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.

RAE550001_2016 Item# 390241

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