Condrieu is one of the most exotic and distinctive wines in the world, with its intense aromatics and flavors of apricots, white peach and citrus, and its luscious, almost umami body. It happens to come from a dramatically steep area, and one so small that were it not for several influential people, Marcel Guigal among them, the appellation and its Viognier grape would have been swallowed by history.
The tiny, parcelated appellation (500 acres total) is located on steep granite hillsides beginning at a bend in the Rhône river just south of Côte Rôtie and continuing intermittently about 12 miles further south. The granite hillsides have sand intermixed in their soils, and the vines for this wine average aroudn 30 years of age, and only produce around 2.4 tons of fruit per acre.
After hand harvesting and sorting, 1/3 of the wine was fermented in new barrels, which it aged in for 8 months. The rest was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation.
Brilliant pale gold. The perfume (you can only call it that) has intense notes of violets, apricot, white peach, and citrus. Fresh and round on the palate, you feel the fat, the richness, yet the wine is so intensely dry and mineral. A harmony between freshness and fleshy roundness. A remarkable minerality.
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Vinous Media -
"Limpid yellow. Highly perfumed, mineral-accented pear, white peach and Meyer lemon scents are accompanied by hints of violet, saffron and honey that build with air. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering intense orchard and pit fruit and honeysuckle flavors that are sharpened and lifted by a core of smoky minerality. Finishes sappy, minerally and extremely long, leaving a hint of peach nectar behind. Guigal's "basic" Condrieu is consistently excellent but this one really stands out."
Jeb Dunnuck - "Bottled in June, the 2018 Condrieu is a rich yet elegant Condrieu with classy notes of ripe white peach, tangerine, and grapefruit pith as well as medium-bodied richness. It has a touch of salinity on the palate and is beautifully balanced. Drink it over the coming 2-4 years."
More on E. Guigal Condrieu 2018
October 28, 2020 - James Molesworth of Wine Spectator feature's legendary Rhône Valley producer E. Guigal in this weeks producer spotlight. Molesworth says that, despite the recent purchases of Domaine Les Clefs d’Or and…
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Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position they occupy in the Rhône, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
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Crozes-Hermitage can be considered the gateway to the red and white wines of the Northern Rhône Valley. Whites make up a small percentage of production in the Rhône, under 2%, but white wines are a little bit of a secret specialty at Guigal and today comprise 25% of their production. And for good reason, as the whites of the Northern Rhône are true discovery wines, immensely appealing and complex. They specifically display an expresiveness and brightness while also capturing the warmth of the area. Explosive and exotic floral and fruit aromas and flavors meld with intense mineral notes, and the silky, powerful concentration of flavors has an appealing roundness that finishes remarkably fresh.
Guigal’s Gigondas is an incredible introduction to serious Southern Rhône reds, and a show-stopper at the price. In the hands of Guigal, the rich ripe fruit and savory character of the wine bursts with sheer pleasure, yet the wine displays terrific refinement, complexity, length and ability to age.
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Hermitage is one of France’s most spectacular and famous appellations, producing small quantities of extraordinarily intense and ageworthy red wine and tiny amounts of dry white. The entire vineyard consists of 309 acres planted on a single granite hillside on the banks of the Rhône. The Hermitage Rouge is the example of a racy wine, that manages to remain seductive.
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