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France: Rhone: Condrieu

What is Condrieu?
Condrieu is a tiny appellation in France’s Northern Rhône Valley that is justly famous for one reason. It is the ancestral home of one of the wine world’s most hyped and talked about varietals—Viognier. Though popping up everywhere one might not expect, Viognier still often reaches its apex in this sunny corner of the Rhône. The reputation of Condrieu helped launch the good ship Viognier on its odyssey to the rest of the world, and the surrounding hoopla has been beneficial for the home port. With the added interest, Condrieu has probably never been better—or more expensive. Unfortunately, there just isn’t that much made. What is made is lush and ripe, with full tropical flavors and a hedonistic, if unstructured personality. Condrieu, as with all Viognier, does not age well and is best appreciated within a year or two of the harvest. Unfortunately, the grape is rather fickle and Condrieu is in the habit of having off years, as happened in the beginning of the 1990s. Fortunately 1997 and 1998 look to be fairly good vintages and this is as good a time as any to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.

Premier Producers
Delas (Clos Boucher)
Guigal (La Doriane & Regular)
Georges Vernay

Great Producers
Delas (La Galopine)
Andre Perret

Dependable Producers
Caves des Papes
Paul Jaboulet
Domaine du Monteillet
Philippe Pichon
Rene Rostaing

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