0800 280 2440
2012 Caprice, Viognier, Collines Rhodaniennes, Domaine Durand
The Durand brothers, Eric and Joël, joined forces in 1996 to devote the polycultural family business to the cultivation of grapes. The Domaine is based in Châteaubourg in the Ardèche and covers twenty hectares, with Syrah, Marsanne and Roussanne farmed over the appellations of Cornas, St Peray and St Joseph in addition to the IGP des Collines Rhodanienes.
Their outstanding Viognier is farmed at an altitude of 450 metres, its south-facing granitic vineyards located above the village of Mauves. With cold stabilisation and only 20% of the must fermented in This outstanding Viognier is farmed at an altitude of 450 metres, its south-facing granitic vineyards located above the village of Mauves.
The St Joseph wine is sourced on the granitic slopes in the south of the appellation, close to Cornas and is matured for eighth months, mainly in large vats (6000 litres) but with a small percentage nurtured in cement tank.
It is a poor-yielding grape that is notoriously fickle to grow, being susceptible to a whole gamut of pests and diseases. Crucially it must be picked at optimum ripeness - if harvested too early and under-ripe the resulting wine can be thin, dilute and unbalanced, while if picked too late then the wine will lack the grape's distinctive peach and honeysuckle aroma. It is most successfully grown in the tiny appellations of Château-Grillet and Condrieu where it thrives on the distinctive arzelle granite-rich soils. It is also grown in Côte Rôtie where it lends aromatic richness to the wines when blended with Syrah.
Viognier has been on the charge in the Southern Rhône and the Languedoc throughout the 1990s and is now a key component of many white Côtes du Rhône. In Languedoc and Rousillon it is increasingly being bottled unblended and with notable success with richly fragrant wines redolent of overripe apricots and peaches and selling at a fraction of the price of their Northern Rhône cousins.
Yves Cuilleron and Domaine Vins de Vienne (the Yves Cuilleron - Pierre Gaillard & François Villard joint venture) are the star performers in this Vin de Pays appellation, offering red and white wines from Syrah and Viogner. The wines are distinctly modern-styled yet filled with terroir character and show depth of fruit and powerful structure.