About this WINE
Domaine Rene Rostaing
Pierre Rostaing is now firmly in charge of this domaine and running it very successfully, working by hand and mostly organically. His holdings in Côte-Rôtie now count 30 parcels across 11 hectares. In the winery, Pierre continues to use predominantly whole-bunch fermentation and the wines are matured in both demi-muids and Burgundy barrels. He keeps the barrels for ten years, electing to use only 10-15% new oak on average. This perfectly complements the domaine’s style, which beautifully showcases the terroir and makes for extremely dark, rich and long-lived wines.
Pierre Rostaing talks of the fresh and balanced style of ’20, but it’s a shame that yields are down due to the drought over the summer. All his cuvées are superb this vintage, showing a real succulence that makes them a joy to taste, even en primeur. This year, we are delighted to offer a new single vineyard Côte-Rôtie from the lieu-dit, La Viaillère, a 0.5-hectare plot with vines up to 90 years old. This used to be a component of the Ampodium blend but Pierre is vinifying it separately for the first time in ’20.
Until you’ve tasted Viognier grown in Condrieu, you’ve never truly experienced the grape’s majesty. In the same way that winemakers the world over have planted Pinot Noir in the hope of emulating red Burgundy, so too they’ve planted Viognier in the hope of achieving the unique balance of exotic perfume, weight and freshness for which Condrieu is famed. Few succeed. Traditionally, winemakers here have used relatively inert, large wooden vessels vinification and élevage are in relatively inert, large, wooden vessels, but the new generation of winemakers are increasingly interested in the qualities of new oak.
Plantings have expanded beyond the core of the AOC, around the village itself, to 140 hectares from the low of eight hectares in the 1960s. The vineyards pick up where Côte-Rôtie leaves off, the slope continues, but the schist of the north begins to give way to a little more granite and a topsoil of decomposed mica. Today the appellation is characterised by energy and creativity, and demand for the wines from this diminutive region is soaring.
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.