About this WINE
Domaine Yves Gangloff
Yves Gangloff is a hugely talented winemaker and is, with no exaggeration, a Rhône legend with rockstar credentials. Visiting his domaine is a completely different (and rather fantastic) experience when compared to most other estates. Great music plays, creating a lively but laid-back vibe, whilst Yves pours and chats. Energy and life fill the room, reflecting the vibrancy of his wines. These are consistently among the very best of the Northern Rhône. His popularity is legendary in France, which means that not very much of the already-diminutive production is available for the export market. Berry Bros. & Rudd are fortunate enough to have had a long-standing relationship with the great man – we are delighted to offer these wines, despite the tiny volumes.
As usual, Yves releases the wines later than most. We are therefore delighted to offer his delicious 2021 Condrieu as well as his two 2020 red cuvées: La Barbarine and La Sereine Noire. Make the most of La Sereine Noire this year, as 35% frost damage in Yves’ Côte-Rôtie yields meant that this cuvée was not made at all in 2021.
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.