Condrieu is one of the most exotic and distinctive wines in the world, with its intense aromatics and flavors of apricots, white peach and citrus, and its luscious, almost umami body. It happens to come from a dramatically steep area, and one so small that were it not for several influential people, Marcel Guigal among them, the appellation and its Viognier grape would have been swallowed by history.
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 aroudn 30 years of age, and only produce around 2.4 tons of fruit per acre.
After hand harvesting and sorting, 1/3 of the wine was fermented in new barrels, which it aged in for 8 months. The rest was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation.
2019 looks to be a nearly perfect vintage in the Northern Rhône. Following a cool spring, flowering was normal, setting a normal crop – a relief after two short harvests. Hail impacted Crozes Hermitage, but vineyards further north were not impacted. July was the hottest on record in the Rhône, but August brought some welcome rain leading into a warm and even September with perfect harvest conditions. Guigal harvested their Condrieu vineyards between September 10th and 20th, bringing in concentrated fruit with excellent acidity – better balance than even the excellent 2018.
Brilliant pale gold. The perfume (you can only call it that) has intense notes of violets, apricot, white peach, and citrus. Fresh and round on the palate, you feel the fat, the richness, yet the wine is so intensely dry and mineral. A harmony between freshness and fleshy roundness. A remarkable minerality.
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"A textbook Condrieu"
Jeb Dunnuck - November 23, 2020 "The base Condrieu from Guigal always delivers and the 2019 Condrieu is stunning stuff, giving up a beautiful bouquet of ripe nectarines, orange blossom, honeysuckle, and exotic flowers. Just classic Condrieu in every way, it's medium to full-bodied, with remarkable purity, a fleshy opulence, and a great, clean finish. Readers looking for a textbook Condrieu can't go wrong with this."
Wine Enthusiast - July 6, 2021
"Notes of candied grapefruit peel, lilac and apricot perfume this bright, sunny Viognier. While fermented and matured in one-third new oak, it balances smoky, spicy, vanilla-cream richness well against pristine tangerine and white-peach flavors, with an invigorating lift of tangerine acidity on the finish. Delicious young, the wine should gain honeyed nuances." - A.I.
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Other Wines by this Producer
Côtes du Rhône Rouge
Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position they occupy in the Rhône, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône varieties. While only 8% of the Rhône’s production is white, a full 25% of Guigal’s production is white and they are today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley.
Côtes du Rhône Rosé
The Guigal family has made serious dry rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also serious and satisfying. While this Rosé is always a lovely aperitif, its intensity and richness make it perfect for the table, and it pairs well with all manner of cuisines. And starting with the 2020 vintage, the wine has a stunning new proprietary bottle: a subtle enhancement for an already elegant wine!
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Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Rouge
A result of its quality, Guigal’s Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Rouge comes from the “Saint-Joseph” vineyard that gives the appellation its name. This site convinced the Guigals to work in Saint-Joseph and help to restore the historic perception of Saint-Joseph as an appellation of utmost quality. The 100% Syrah wine has complex and deep black fruit, floral, spice and mineral characteristics. Despite its concentration and powerful attack, the wine retains the trademark elegance that Saint-Joseph offers.
Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Blanc
A result of its quality, Guigal’s Saint-Joseph Blanc Lieu Dit comes from the “Saint-Joseph” vineyard that gives the appellation its name. This site convinced the Guigals to work in Saint-Joseph and help to restore the historic perception of Saint-Joseph as an appellation of utmost quality. Saint-Joseph Blanc is a serious wine, with weight and complexity, and is deeply reflective of its vineyard sites. A seamless balance of freshness and fruitiness, pleasure and interest, and flavors and structure. Guigal’s specialty in whites is especially evident in this wine, as it is almost a deceptively serious wine.
Ermitage Ex Voto Blanc
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2000, Guigal acquired four exceptional vineyard parcels on this legendary site. The 2001 vintage was the first release of this estate-bottled Hermitage red and white. The quality of the intense old-vine fruit is quite special, but given the Guigal’s already strong work in Hermitage, they decided to only release an Ex-Voto red or white when the wine is utterly exceptional and clearly superior to their appellation bottlings.
Ermitage Ex Voto Rouge
Ermitage Ex-Voto represents the fulfillment of a longtime dream of Marcel Guigal’s to own vineyard land on the hill of Hermitage. Through the purchase of the de Vallouit and J. L. Grippat domaines in 2000, Guigal acquired four exceptional vineyard parcels on this legendary site. The 2001 vintage was the first release of this estate-bottled Hermitage red and white. The quality of the intense old-vine fruit is quite special, but given the Guigal’s already strong work in Hermitage, they decided to only release an Ex-Voto red or white when the wine is utterly exceptional and clearly superior to their appellation bottlings.
Guigal produces an intensely concentrated, inviting and complex Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is almost unique to the region today. Their passion for Châteauneuf, the leading appellation of the Southern Rhône, runs as deeply as that for their home sites in the Northern Rhône. The combination of working with top fruit that has perfect ripeness, along with their extraordinary patience in the cellar, results in rich and full, yet savory, spicy, seamless and balanced wines. Wines to enjoy immediately but capable of aging, and, above all, wines that leave you wanting more.
Condrieu La Doriane
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.