Condrieu, Verchery, 2016

  Clusel Roch

A more savoury and sapid Condrieu than the 2015, salt and herb notes mixing with the more typical violet and white flower character. This has a wonderful shape, openness and freshness. The flavours are ripe, characterised by juicy mirabelle and greengage notes, but retain a real crunch to them. A wonderful Condrieu from a vineyard between Chery and Vernon. The soil here is black mica schist which imparts a strong minerality to the wine, which is aged in used oak barrels with malolactic fermentation completed. Production is always small as Clusel Roch holdings amount to a mere 0.5ha, yielding rarely more than 2000 bottles a year.

Contains Sulphites.

About Clusel Roch

This small artisanal Domaine, run by Brigitte Roch, Gilbert Clusel and their son Guillaume, only employs organic methods to work its vineyards and for some time have consistently had some of the lowest yields in the region. Such low yields and excellent vineyard sites help to produce excellent wines that are made in a gentle, pure and refined style. There is little new oak; depending on the vintage a large proportion of whole bunches may be included in fermentations and extractions are soft resulting in elegant, refined and characterful Côte Rôtie that age seamlessly. The standard cuvée is aged in one- and two-year-old barriques for a year, whilst wine from the old vines of Les Grandes Places require ageing in a proportion of new oak barriques, rarely more than 30-40%.

Appellation: Condrieu

An appellation in the Northern Rhône that produces white wine soley from the Viognier grape. Condrieu is situated just south of Côte Rôtie where the river bends and exposes the vineyards to the sun-blanched south. The popularity of this vineyard area waned in the sixties to the point where only 10 ha were planted however this has since rocketed up again to 100 ha, which is still tiny in comparison to most other wine-producing regions. The expansion and revival was due to an increase in quality-led producers growing and bottling their own wine. The area is small, difficult to work and yields are low, all of which conspire to make Condrieu an expensive wine. The north wind is cold and can be devastating so south facing slopes protecting the vines from the north are vitally important. The slopes are very steep so erosion is another problem growers face. Winemaking techniques vary according to producer, whether it be exclusively steel or barrel fermentation and whether to allow the wine to complete its malo or not. Condrieu is the ultimate expression of the Viognier, reaching a complexity and finesse achieved nowhere else in the world. The wine is always a floral, full-bodied one but style can vary from the ripe, unctuous and peachy to the elegant violet-scented and mineral. Among the top producers are Perret, Villard, Vernay and Cuilleron.

Grape Type: Viognier

Most famous for the unique Condrieu wines of the Northern Rhone, the best exponents being Andre Perret, Francois Villard, Clusel-Roch and Rene Rostaing, Viognier is a white grape variety widely planted in Southern France for varietal Vin de Pays wines or to use in blends. It is now also being grown in Australia and California for blending with Syrah in deference to the practices in Cote Rotie, where up to 20% of Viognier is allowed to be added to Syrah to add an extra perfume to the wine.