Curious to know all about Condrieu wine before you buy one?
One of the largest white wine appellations of Northern Rhone, Condrieu is the homeland of Viognier and is famous for its delicious and savory wines full of seductive aromas!
What are the different Condrieu wine styles, and which are the best wines to buy in 2020?
Discover everything there is to know about Condrieu - from the various wine styles, colorful history, winemaking, and the best Condrieu wines to buy in 2020. Also, find out the easiest way to buy these fine wines!
This Article Contains
- All About Condrieu
- Food Pairings with Condrieu Wine
- Best Condrieu Wines in 2020 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)
- 2014 M. Chapoutier Condrieu Coteaux de Chery, Rhone, France
- 2017 Château Grillet Condrieu La Carthery, Rhone, France
- 2015 E. Guigal Condrieu Luminescence, Rhone, France
- 2014 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Coteau de Vernon, Rhone, France
- 2004 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Ayguets, Rhone, France
- 2015 Domaine Yves et Mathilde Gangloff Condrieu, Rhone, France
- 2014 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, Rhone, France
- 2007 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Chaillées de l'Enfer, Rhone, France
- 2017 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Vertige, Rhone, France
- 2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Condrieu Domaine des Grands Amandiers, Rhone, France
All About Condrieu
The name Condrieu comes from the French expression ‘Coin de Ruisseau’, which means Corner of the Brook.
This Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) is situated on the right bank of the Rhone river (near Vienne). It neighbors Cote Rotie, a major Syrah red wine region, and the Marsanne white wine regions of Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage located in Northern Rhone to the south of Lyon.
The Condrieu appellation also includes the Châteaux Grillet enclave - one of the smallest French wine appellations.
Condrieu vineyards are spread across seven communes (located in the French departments of Ardeche, Rhone, and Loire), which are:
Now let’s dive into everything you need to know about Condrieu!
- A Brief History of Condrieu
- Climate and Terroir of Condrieu
- The Viognier Grape - Not an Easy One to Grow!
- Winemaking in Condrieu
- Wine Styles
A Brief History of Condrieu
In the 18th century, Condrieu wines were sold in the Parisian markets and were a favorite among the locals. During the peace between France and Britain, these delicate white wines found their way to London markets and were highly appreciated there.
The late 19th and 20th centuries were a challenging era for Condrieu wines. This flourishing wine region was affected by Phylloxera pests, the World Wars, and the Great Depression.
Also, the wines produced on the hillside vineyard sites of Condrieu and the Cote Rotie appellation required extensive labor and were difficult to mass-produce.
As a result, Hermitage was the only wine exported from Northern Rhone in the 20th century.
Condrieu wines finally reached the global market with the efforts of the brilliant negociant Marcel Guigal.
He sourced his Condrieu wine from small growers of the appellation, and the sudden demand led to an increase in viticulture. Several Viognier growers went back to their vineyards that were abandoned during the World War.
In 1940, Condrieu was officially recognized as an Appellation d’Origine Controlee.
The appellation that was limited to an 8-hectare area in 1965 has expanded to over 100 hectares today. And, Guigal remains the leading producer, making 45% of Condrieu wines.
Climate and Terroir of Condrieu
One of the cooler wine regions of Rhone Valley, Condrieu experiences a continental climate with cold and wet winters and hot summers.
During the flowering period, winemakers have to worry about the fierce Northern Winds that may damage the vines.
The well-drained granite soil and the Rhone river provide a perfect terroir for the growth of Viognier grapes in cool months. The vineyards are set on the south and south-east facing slopes to give the Viognier vines maximum sunlight
The cool climate, along with the steep slopes of the vineyard sites, makes the yields famously low - the reason why Condrieu wines are so rare and expensive!
Some regions with fertile arzelle soils also have chalk, flint, and mica - the secret behind the minerality of Condrieu wine.
As for the Viognier vines, they start producing aromatic Viognier wine grapes after 15-20 years. Also, the average vine age is around 50 years.
The Viognier Grape - Not an Easy One to Grow!
Viognier is a thick-skinned grape with low acidity that produces fresh and fruity white wines.
One of the hardest grape varieties to cultivate, it requires plenty of sunlight and care to ripen. The winemakers harvest the grape when it’s slightly over-ripe, or else, the wine would taste diluted and vegetal.
The Viognier grape gives Condrieu wines fruity flavors of ripe, sweet peaches and apricots.
Often compared to Chardonnay, the wine may also have orange, honey, pears, apricot, floral, and honeydew melon flavors.
Read more: Check out this comprehensive guide to designing an ideal Wine Cellar that befits your collection.
Winemaking in Condrieu
According to the AOC regulations, the grapes must reach a sugar content of 178g/l before they can be harvested for winemaking.
In addition to this, finished wines must have a minimum of 11.5% Alcohol by Volume (ABV).
Most Condrieu wine producers vinify the wines in French oak barrels, while some others use both steel tanks and oak barrels for vinification.
Condrieu Wine Styles
The Condrieu appellation produces both dry and sweet white wines. But dry white wine has grown in demand over the years.
- On a sweet Condrieu wine label, you’ll find the words ‘Selection des Grains Nobles’. Most sweet wines are late-harvest wines since cryoextraction (freezing grapes to concentrate sugars) and chaptalization (adding artificial sugar) are prohibited.
Picking for late harvest wines begins at least eight days after the standard harvesting period.
- Viognier grapes for dry wines are harvested before the grapes meant for sweet wines. But when compared to other dry white wine grapes like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier has higher sugar levels. The winemaker performs malolactic fermentation to produce vibrant and acidic dry wines.
Also read: Find out the best Sparkling wines to add to your Wine Cellar.
So, what do you pair with these delightful wines from northern Rhone Valley?
Food Pairings with Condrieu Wine
Condrieu wine pairs really well with any seafood dish like sushi, sashimi, oysters, clams, and lobster.
You can also pair them with chicken, pork, vegetables, and cheese.
And, remember to serve it chilled at around 8ºC (46ºF) in your favorite white wine glass!
Wondering about the calories in your favorite glass of Red Wine? Here’s a detailed guide to estimate the calories in wine.
Best Condrieu Wines in 2020 (Including Tasting Notes, Prices)
When it comes to Rhone wines, the Guigal family is the most prominent winemaker you will come across. But there are several talented winemakers that produce fine Condrieu varietals.
Here are some of our favorite Condrieu wines.
1. 2014 M. Chapoutier Condrieu Coteaux de Chery, Rhône, France
A pale yellow wine from Rhone Valley, the 2014 M. Chapoutier Condrieu Coteaux de Chery has an intense floral aroma of acacia, honeysuckle, and lime with fruit notes of plum and pears. The wine has perfectly balanced tannins with hints of mineral and saline notes on the palate.
Price of 2014 M. Chapoutier Condrieu Coteaux de Chery, Rhône, France: $218
2. 2017 Château Grillet Condrieu La Carthery, Rhône, France
The 2017 Chateau Grillet is a warm and savory French wine with complex aromas.
The nose opens to a floral aroma of rose, violet, and lime blossom balanced by the fruit flavors of pear, pineapple, and apricot. The palate is warm and rich with notes of honey, nougat, hazelnut, vanilla, white truffle, and sweet spices.
Price of 2017 Château Grillet Condrieu La Carthery, Rhône, France: $167
3. 2015 E. Guigal Condrieu Luminescence, Rhone, France
Situated in Ampuis (Cote Rotie) in Cotes du Rhone, Guigal produces some of the most diverse French wines.
A late harvest cuvee, the 2015 E. Guigal Condrieu Luminescence is made from the over-ripe Viognier grapes.
This sweet wine is full of intense aromas and savory flavors. The dominant aromas include peach jam, nectarine puree, and honey. The palate is slightly acidic that perfectly balances the fruity notes of baked pineapple and apricots.
Price of 2015 E. Guigal Condrieu Luminescence, Rhone, France: $174
4. 2014 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Coteau de Vernon, Rhône, France
A brilliant vigneron from Rhone Valley, Domaine Georges Vernay produces some of the finest Rhone wines. His 2014 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Coteau de Vernon is a medium-bodied white wine that brings out the best of the Viognier grape variety.
The nose is dominated by the aromas of ripe fruit, vanilla, and creme brulee. Rich and buttery on the palate, the wine has layered notes of peach, honeydew, roasted hazelnut, lemongrass, and green apple.
Price of 2014 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Coteau de Vernon, Rhône, France: $170
5. 2004 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Ayguets, Rhône, France
This wine from the Condrieu appellation is a white wine from Yves Cuilleron winery. The 2004 vintage is a dense and sweet wine dominated by fresh lemon and apple aromas. The palate is warm, and the fine tannins leave a lasting finish.
Price of 2004 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Ayguets, Rhône, France: $135
6. 2015 Domaine Yves et Mathilde Gangloff Condrieu, Rhône, France
With an intensely aromatic nose and white flower and peach aromas, the 2015 Domaine Yves et Mathilde Gangloff is a classic Viognier wine from Condrieu. The wine is dry on the palate with balanced acidity and honeysuckle and vanilla flavors.
Price of 2015 Domaine Yves et Mathilde Gangloff Condrieu, Rhône, France: $148
7. 2014 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, Rhone, France
E. Guigal’s La Doriane is a light-bodied Viognier wine, full of floral aromas. The palate is full of juicy flavors of honeysuckle, peach, and apricots with a kick of spice. The malolactic fermentation and aging in oak barrels on fine lees gives the wine a spicy kick.
Price of 2014 E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, Rhone, France: $115
8. 2007 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Chaillées de l'Enfer, Rhône, France
A spectacular Viognier wine from France, the 2007 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Chaillées de l’Enfer showcases the true intensity of Viognier!
The nose is dominated by strong floral aromas with notes of charcoal smoke, minerals, and peach. The wine has a long finish on the palate balanced by the slight minerality and tangy acidity.
Price of 2007 Domaine Georges Vernay Condrieu Les Chaillées de l'Enfer, Rhône, France: $133
9. 2017 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Vertige, Rhône, France
Medium amber in color, the 2017 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Vertige is dominated by aromas of peach and apricot. The palate is smooth with a lasting finish of hazelnuts and chestnuts. You may also note a mineral aftertaste.
Price of 2017 Cave Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Vertige, Rhône, France: $128
10. 2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Condrieu Domaine des Grands Amandiers, Rhône, France ($107)
The 2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Condrieu Domaine des Grands Amandiers is a wine that slowly develops its flavors on the palate. Very layered on the palate, the wine gives off notes of pineapple, apricot, and honey with bright acidity and lasting flavor.
Price of 2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Condrieu Domaine des Grands Amandiers, Rhone, France: $107
But do Condrieu wines make a great long term investment?
Does Condrieu Wine Age Well?
Condrieu wines showcase intense floral notes and juicy fruit flavors within the first four years of production.
They change in character as they age - to nutty, with aromas of gingerbread, lanolin and dried citrus peel - and the taste of aged Condrieu doesn’t appeal to most wine drinkers.
That’s why they’re best to drink young! So these Condrieu wines may not make wise wine investments.
But, late harvest Condrieu wines have high residual sugar. So, a few of them from the top winemakers like Domaine Georges Vernay and E. Guigal can potentially age for up to 20 years.
If you want to invest in wines for the long term, you can easily buy the top Condrieu wines like an E. Guigal or other age-worthy wines from all over the world through a trusted wine investment platform like Vinovest.
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