Condrieu La Doriane 2017
Condrieu is the ancestral home of the Viognier vine and is the source of one of the world’s most exotic white wines. In the mid-20th century, only 20 acres of Viognier remained in Condrieu, leaving the grape and the appellation in serious jeopardy. Guigal was instrumental in bringing this appellation back from near extinction, and today supplements the grapes from their own vineyards with grapes purchased from numerous small growers, ultimately vinifying nearly one-third of the entire appellation.
La Doriane is a luxury cuvée of Condrieu that the Guigals have produced since the 1994 vintage. A great success since the first vintage, the wine always seems richly oaked and very fruity when young, transforming in 3-4 years into a seamlessly complex, aromatic and vibrant wine. La Doriane contradicts the accepted wisdom that Condrieu does not age well.
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 around 30 years of age, and only produce around 2.4 tons of fruit per acre.
The Viognier grapes for this wine are sourced from some of the finest sites in the appellation, including Côtes Chatillon, a steeply terraced vineyard overlooking the town of Condrieu itself. The other vineyards are Coteaux de Chery and Colombier, situated further south, and Château Volan – an exceptionally steep, south-facing vineyard near the town of Malleval.
This 100% Viognier wine is fermented and aged in 100% new oak barriques for 12 months, with a higher level of fine lees included in the fermenting must to help the wine integrate the oak character more completely. It undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation as well.
Very challenging climatic conditions prompted harvest 10-15 days earlier than usual. There was not heavy rainfall, despite a few storms in August and September. Though lower yields, the wine produced is of excellent quality. There is harmony between a pleasant low acidity and a fruit that bathes in a fleshy roundness.
This wine shows freshness and pure elegance in the glass. Citrus blossom, crushed rocks, honeysuckle, and orange blossom give way to a medium to full-bodied expression of the vineyard. It lingers and gains depth over time in the glass. A joy to drink, and will continue to improve with time.
Guigal performs several green harvests during the growing season in these vineyards to keep yields exceptionally low.
Suggested Retail Price
"Seamless and subtly sweet"
Vinous - May 29, 2020
"Limpid yellow. White peach, melon, smoky minerals and exotic flowers on the intensely perfumed nose, which picks up a hint of vanilla as the wine stretches out. Juicy and deeply concentrated, offering palate-staining orchard and pit fruit nectar, orange zest and honeysuckle flavors that are lifted and sharpened by a smoky mineral quality. Seamless and subtly sweet on the impressively persistent finish, which repeats the pit fruit and floral notes."
Wine Spectator - August 28, 2019 "Intense, with a honeyed edge, this maintains drive throughout, featuring intense apricot, nectarine and peach fruit flavors, lined with mouthwatering bitter orange and anise notes. The long, unctuous finish has serious cut to match. Drink now through 2025. 1,667 cases made, 500 cases imported"
Jeb Dunnuck - May 20, 2019 "Bottled at the end of June and brought up in new barrels, the blockbuster 2017 Condrieu La Doriane is up there with the crème de la crème, and just might be the wine of the vintage in the region. Stunning notes of buttered peach, crème brûlée, white flowers, and honeysuckle all literally soar from the glass. Deep, rich, medium to full-bodied and powerful, like the base cuvée, it stays incredibly pure and elegant. Drink bottles over the coming 4-5 years. Don’t miss it."
Wine Advocate - March 26, 2019 "Slightly more forward and flamboyant than the more classically structured 2016, the 2017 Condrieu la Doriane is full-bodied, plush and opulent, loaded with flowers, melons and apricots. Yes, the oak is noticeable, but it adds a relatively restrained note of toasted almonds, serving to focus and lift the waves of succulent fruit. I'd drink this silky-textured beauty over the next few years, while it's still as showy as can be."
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