White, Ready, but will improve

2014 Grillet, Château Grillet, Rhône

2014 Grillet, Château Grillet, Rhône

White | Ready, but will improve | Chateau Grillet | Code:  61360 | 2014 | Viognier | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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The Producer

Chateau Grillet

Chateau Grillet

The Viognier grape spread like wildfire during the 1990s, being planted even in Brazil. However its spiritual home is in the Northern Rhône and specifically in the two small appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet. The latter owes a great deal of its fame to the fact that it is only one of two single Estate appellations in France.

It has been owned by the Neyret-Gachet family since 1840 - today it Isabelle Baratin who runs it aided by cult Burgundian oneologist Max Leglise The south facing vineyard covers a mere 4 hectares and is situated in a natural amphitheatre nearly 500ft above the Rhône. After being vinified the wines are aged in old wooden casks for 18 months.

The Grape

Viognier

Viognier

A white grape variety originating in the Northern Rhône and which in the last ten years has been increasingly planted in the Southern Rhône and the Languedoc.

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.

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