Condrieu

Condrieu, some 40 km south of Lyon, on the right bank of the Rhône, is the most known appellation for white wine in the Northern Rhône. The wines produced here are always made of 100% viognier. The vineyards (± 168 ha in 2013) lie in a strip some 16 km long, which runs parallel to the river, linking as it were the seven villages of the AOC Condrieu. They are, from north to south: Condrieu, Vérin, Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône (all AOC since 1940), and Chavanay, Malleval, Saint-Pierre-de Boeuf and Limony, which were added in 1967. There is almost no scope for expansion, which is one of the reasons why the Condrieu wines are somewhat scare and pricey. A low basic yield of 37 hl/ha (and in 2013 an average of 29 hl/ha) and the difficulty of cultivating the hillside vineyards also play a role. The soil contains granite and arzelle (a mixture of decomposed granite, mica, shale and clay). The climate is continental, with a slight Mediterranean influence.

The oldest vineyards are located in the area surrounding the village of Condrieu. They produce rich, lush wines. Further to the south, in the direction of Malleval, the soil contains more granite and the wines have a higher minerality. In general, the Condrieu wines have a supple, oily (alcohol) initial flavor with exotic fruit tones and freshness, particularly when young. The flavor has hints of blossoms and apricots. Many of these wines are stored (and fermented) in barrique. Condrieu can be drunk young, but has an average aging potential of about five years. In very good harvest years, some producers allow a limited portion of the harvest to develop a pourriture noble (the noble rotting of overripe grapes caused by a beneficial fungus).

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