LVT 2019 r 2018 wh The Condrieu Clos Chanson and Chéry are STGT wines of high accomplishment. André is a great and leading exponent of the Viognier, securing rich and full complexity, notably in the Chéry. All the whites, including the St-Joseph blanc, are distinguished; they receive a longer than average raising of 12-13 months.
The reds reflect the northern St-Joseph style of pepper, and tightly textured black fruit. The old vine Les Grisières is a wine to leave until four to five years old; it gained in depth and authority during the 2010s, and in 2018, André left 20% of the stems on it, seeking incrased coolness and a slightly lower degree. Soils have been worked since 2005, and André has invested in hot and cold cellar systems: things are certainly on the go here. His little white wine, the Marsanne vin de pays, is a must buy if you are passing his door. In 2010 André bought the 1.5 hectares of vineyards of Robert Jurie des Camiers after the latter's death - these had been en metayage before - rented with part of the wine going to the late Robert under his own label. Their bright daughter Marie, who has spent time in California, is now on the domaine.
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r Christophe has worked to assemble a mix of rented vineyards and his own planted plots across Saint-Joseph notably, for red and white, with vin de pays vineyards as well. He comes from north of Lyon, and has roots on his maternal side in Alsace. He started in 2007. The whites have had a distinct New Wave, pared back style, although the most recent vintages are showing more ripeness. The 2016 Condrieu Les Vallins is a 12.5° wine, for example = very early harvesting. There is a good Côte-Rôtie from Le Plomb - a rented vineyard with mid-1990s Syrah, Saint-Joseph white and reds which are both from young vines, and a sound range of Vin de France, Syrah and Viognier. From 2019 there is a Crozes red and white from the northern sector villages of Serves, the vines planted in 2015.
LVT 2002 wh Some of the best vineyard sites and oldest Viognier (1921) at Condrieu, that 0.07 hectare of Viognier still giving fruit in the 1990s.
Jean-Yves, the son of the original owner Pierre, who was a Lyonnais textile merchant, was unable to make the economics pay and from 2004 until the early 2010s sold his crop to Chapoutier, working what was then a tired vineyard under their supervision. Chapoutier bought the vineyard in the early 2010s. From 2004 until 2009 the Rozay fruit went into the Chapoutier Condrieu Invitare. Now there is Chapoutier Coteau de Chéry on its own.
In its heyday - the 1970s and part of the 1980s - this was one of the best, most flamboyant Condrieus, delivered with real panache - gourmand richness and wavy texture. From 1969 to 1978, the grapes were vinified by Georges Vernay, with 2,000 bottles produced per annum. From 1979, the first vintage of son Jean-Yves on the property to help his father and the régisseur, until 2003, the wine was made at the Château in very basic old cellar. Jean-Luc Colombo became the consultant oenologue in 1988, which prompted the use of younger oak and a search for more freshness. I have happy memories of the 1971, the 1976 and the 1979
LVT 2008 wh A small domaine for elegant wines, that are carefully made. In his late fifties, Christian Facchin has a relaxed approach.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh Has been an STGT producer for his Condrieu, less so recently. This is a sound quality estate. The Condrieu is refined and stylish, with good, decisive flavours and a mineral content. The Caresse Condrieu is superior, and one feels the standard Condrieu has become, well, just that. The St-Joseph red is respectable. There are now three Côte-Rôties, with the Promesse gaining in quality in 2014 **** and 2015 ****(*), and the 2015 Promesse a ***** wine pre-bottling. From 2015 there has been a Cornas, produced in a sleek style
LVT 2019 wh 2019 r One of the few domaines to work organically on the tricky granite terraces. Isabelle and her husband Henri worked five hectares of fruit and vegetables - also organic since 1970 - before giving up that activity due to his ill health. He is a mason, and built their house. The first vinification was in 2009. Both the 2015 and 2016 Condrieu Légenda Bonnetta were neat **** wines, while the Les Roches d'Arbuel Condrieu is a good, grounded wine deserving of fine fish such as turbot or halibut, sea bass: it was **** in 2016. From 2016 there is small scale [3,500 b] Côte-Rôtie made by son Antoine from 1970s Syrah on Prenelle on the Coteau de Tupin. In 2019 a second Côte-Rôtie was started from a 0.4 ha vineyard of Isabelle's ex-husband's family [Gérin], that had previously been rented to Jean-Michel Stéphan. There is a gem of an IGP Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah Vieilles Vignes; I liked the 2018 so much that I bought some for my daughter Marina's wedding. Antoine looks after the reds, Isabelle the whites.
LVT 2016 r 2018 wh The Condrieu Coteau de Vernon is a majestic, complex wine, one that I define as STGT: it lives for a very long time - easily 25 years in the best vintages. This is the top house for elegant, utterly refined Condrieu. The Coteau du Vernon is a wonderful, long-lived wine; the 1983 has been in fantastic form when drunk in 2014 and late 2017. Clean winemaking accentuates well-cut fruit. There are charming, refined Côte-Rôties; the Maison Rouge can fill out well, with a tannic support in evidence. There is promising red Saint-Joseph La Dame Brune, good to drink from four years old onwards.
LVT 2017 wh 2016 r This has been a mixed farm, but son Jean-Claude is steering it more towards wine. There are still a few apricots and some cereal. The cellar was redone in 2006 - cooling and heating equipment installed and more space. Quality here is quietly on the up. The Condrieu Bonnette shows more grip and minerality than the Châtillon (except in 2006), although the latter is considered to love longer by Jean-Claude Mouton. For 37 years mother Jannette had run the Auberge opposite, an inn owned by her family since the 1700s. She retired in the early 2000s. Jean-Claude’s son Bryan, born in 1997, has vinified with Jeff Cohen in California at Sta Rosa, and has been working on the domaine since 2019.
LVT 2008 Patrice Porte goes from one set-up to the next. He is talented, used to work for Guigal, was under the vernay wing a long time ago, now has started again on his own after a break of 2 or 3 vintages. The Domaine in 2005 was called Porte-Vincent. All vineyards are well situated in the central Condrieu area. Patrice Porte comes from an old Condrieu winemaking family.
LVT 2018 wh Father Pierre made rustic, often wayward wines, but under son François since 1998 they have improved a little - is writing that they are less awful OK?, even if the vineyard is er chaotic. A mere 0.5 hectare of Condrieu which includes the notable Coteau de Chéry, and 0.2 hectare of Viognier for the Côtes du Rhône. The Comdrieu is a swerve, the Côtes du Rhône preferred
LVT 2019 r 2019 wh STGT domaine of established worth. François Merlin is dedicated to making his wines with great care and thought. With the arrival full-time of well-trained son Laurent, the vineyard care and detail has risen, second son Julien also now on the domaine. These are clear-cut wines that show good fullness and the ability to blossom after three years. The Condrieu Jeanraude correctly takes after its blue granitye site, being muscular and needing time, the blended Condrieu Les Terroirs being more aromatic and cool.
LVT 2017 r 2017 wh Formerly the home of ample, plush Condrieu, with a policy of late picking and noble rot that were directly aimed to accentuate that appeal, and also hide the youth of the vine fruit. "My wines are calmer, like me!", claimed François in late 2009. The wines have immediate flair and lots of life in them. The winemaking is modern, with new oak a constant feature. Villard has been restraining himself on the cellar techniques in the last three or four vintages, and the wines sit more comfortably in the glass as a result.
However, I have been disappointed by what I term his New Wave tendency with his whites - these can lack the gras and stuffing of which they are capable; the three Condrieu 2014s were undeniably light, and therefore bad value for money. The 2015 Terrasses du Palat and Grand Vallon were aided by the inner strength of the vintage, coming in as **** wines. And Frankie played 2015 correctly at Saint-Joseph with his whites - both were full-bodied, the Fruit d'Avilleran a ****(*) wine that achieved strength and freshness. Perhaps all is not lost, though there were more signs of New Wave in 2017 via wines with very quiet attacks. The 2017 Deponcins Viognier Vin de France stood out as a **** wine on price-quality terms, by the way.
The Côte-Rôtie La Brocarde is becoming a wine of serious stature. The Saint-Josephs are consistent, sound wines - the Reflet red with its oak needs laying down for four years or so, and the 2017 was an impressive ****(*) wine. Villard is one of the four growers running the Vins de Vienne négociant business and the Seyssuel vineyards that produce Sotanum and Taburnum vins de pays. He has half a hectare of his own Seyssuel Syrah, giving the Seul en Scène red wine.
Simple Condrieu, robust St-Joseph. Traditional outlook. Gérard very sadly died in 2017, having lived life to the full. The harvest from the Condrieu Jeanraude is now sold to Les Vins de Vienne and Julien Pilon, while Xavier Gérard has had a rental arrangement on Le Blanchard for the Saint-Joseph red since 2012
LVT 2018 r 2017 wh Low key négociant founded in 1876, then bought by frozen foods empire Picard in 2003. Picard also own Les Grandes Serres, and bought a vineyard at Cairanne in 2018. They now own vineyards in Cornas (1.2 ha) and Condrieu (1 ha). The 2015 Cornas, then called En Sauman, was a ****(*) wine, when tasted from cask. It has been *** to ***(*) since then. There are two Côtes du Rhône reds, both sound. They also produce 500 bottles of Hermitage red - **** in 2016 - and as much as 10,000 bottles of Côte-Rôtie from purchased harvest, called Les Hauts Lieux: both the 2015 and 2016 were ****, pre-bottling, while the recently introduced Saint-Joseph, for a while called Secret de Blacieux, was a **** wine in 2015 when tasted from cask
LVT 1983 wh The Pinchon vineyard in its current guise started with Émile working under one hectare that he gradually expanded to 1.5 hectares until his death in the early 1970s. Son Jean Pinchon, the father-in-law of Robert Niéro, took over, but as the vineyard didn’t give enough income to live on, Jean also worked selling cheese from a mobile shop on the place of Condrieu. Monsieur Pinchon made both a dry and demi-sec Condrieu, and was anti-new oak, telling me: “the wine is already well scented, so I don’t want an intrusion that the new casks would bring to it.” The Pinchon Condrieu was always thorough, persistent, bearing a true depth that made it a great dining companion. Jean died in 1990, with Robert Niéro having joined him on the domaine fulltime in 1987. Today, in its enlarged form, this is the Domaine Rémi Niéro.
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r This started as a négoce, a merchant business that purchased harvest that was vinified chez Pierre-Jean Villa in 2009. The first vineyard was bought in 2012 – a 0.5 hectare on Le Tinal at Condrieu. Pierre Jandros and Jean-Louis Desjoyaux [big in swimming pools] are brothers-in-law and wine enthusiasts and are gradually expanding the range. Pierre’s son-in-law Loïc Moula works with them, Pierre-Jean Villa advises on viticulture.
The largest vineyard is now the 12 hectares at Saint Julien en Alban, the interesting stretch opposite the Drome Valley – a good area for Syrah, whose potential was spotted a while back by Eric Texier; Delas have also sourced crop from there for some time.
Vineyards are now also owned at Saint-Joseph, and for Vin de Pays, with two hectares of scrubland at Saint-Péray to be developed. The Côte-Rôtie is made from purchased crop (the vineyard is converting to organic), as is the Brézème red. The organic six-hectare Lubéron Domaine des Fourques at Ansouis is also part of their ownership.
They now have a smart new building on the D86 at Chavanay. The wines are efficient rather than soulful, and I would hope they can customise the vinifications further, notably in the case of the whites, where the Condrieu is best suited to the current system. The Brézème red 2017 had character, while the 2017 Saint-Jo red from Mauves and the 2016 Cornas were both correct, with some local ID.
The expansion will probably continue into Cornas ownership next – for now it is bought-in harvest.
LVT 2018 r 2018 wh This is a reliable domaine for those who like wines with personality. Some of the wines here are STGT, and pure - notably the Condrieu Tradition. Son Lionel has taken over from Philippe. There is generally relaxed winemaking, not given to excess extraction. The style on the whites in the late 2010s is for near New Wave, hands off winemaking, purity high on the agends: this worked very well on the top Condrieu, La Berne, with a **** 2018.
The straight Saint-Joseph red is usually a sound example of uncomplicated, clean-drinking Syrah, but has lightened recently, with more effort in the special Gloriette red, which is based on 1949 Serine: it has performed very well in the 2010s, the 2015 a ****(*) wine. However, both the 2014 and 2015 Saint-Joseph Hedonism red were w.o.w. wines, so enjoy their fruit. The Côte-Rôtie Reviniscence carries an excessive 15% Viognier that can mask its clarity, but the 2015 was a genuine, nourishing ****(*) wine, pre-bottling, the 2016 a **** wine. The Côte-Rôtie Emporium, introduced in 2009, from schist soils on the Fauvier site, was a classy **** wine in 2017. The 2015 St Jo blanc showed carbonic gas
LVT 2006 wh Late picking tendency on Viognier for extra richness. Lovely opulence in these wines as a rule Good quality Vin de pays, Côtes du Rhône Viognier from own small vineyards Small merchant business working with well-chosen sites at Cornas, St-Joseph, Côte-Rôtie Pierre worked in metallurgy because holdings are so small
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r Improving quality here. Son Rémi, a mechanical engineer, came back to the domaine in 2004. He used to double up his time with work in the Vaucluse for a harvest machine company at Pertuis, until his father Robert retired in 2010. Condrieu Les Ravines is elegant, the Chéry more solid. They can be very good, and recent signs indicate a gentle upward trend in quality. A new top Condrieu called Héritage, selected in the cellar, was introduced in 2009. It is very good, but one feels some robbery from the qualities of the Chéry. The Côte-Rôtie is all bottled - the crop used to be sold to Guigal. A new wine was introduced in 2006, Vires de Serine - new oak raised, from the best crop - a good first effort.
LVT 2015 wh 2015 r 33% of the production is sold to merchants. There is a sensible, measured approach to winemaking and vineyard care. Sound enough Saint-Joseph red a recent addition, and also a Côte-Rôtie from mature Syrah on the northern schist of Côte Rozier. The Côte-Rôtie started in 2014 after a vineyard swap with Maxime Gourdain of Domaine de Rosiers, Maxime starting his Condrieu in that year. The Saint-Joseph white, 80% young Roussanne, was a stylish **** wine in 2015.
LVT 2018 wh 2018 r 2011 rosé Full, open wines from Condrieu, with a shift in style from later picking that accentuated the muskiness and exotic side of the Viognier, towards a more fresh, sleek, grippy accent from the early 2010s. Les Chaillets is one of the top wines of Condrieu. The Côte-Rôties can be marked by new oak - Lieu dit Bonnivières [ex Terres Sombres], from the northern schist soils, handles it better than the softer Bassenon, from the crumbled granite southern sector soils; the 2017 Lieu dit Bonnivières was an engaging, true ****(*) wine. Across the board, Yves' reds have improved during the 2010s, and are now fully in step with the Burgundy styling, which at times can be just a touch minimalist. Also of note is his Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Ripa Sinistra red [2002 Syrah] from Seyssuel's schist across the river near Vienne, a stylish, assured wine that is superior to its title [and more expensive than that]. At a lesser price, his Syrah Vin de pays reds drink easily, the 2018 Les Candives a **** w.o.w. wine.
Yves has a special flair for his white wines. Beyond his extremely accomplished Condrieus are two minor gems - the vins de pays Marsanne and Viognier are both very good, while the 100% Roussanne Lieu-dit Digue (ex Saint-Pierre) Saint-Joseph blanc is gaining stature all the while, as its early 1990s vines grow up. Of his three Saint Jo blanc 2015s, the Lyseras was a perfect blend, half Marsanne and half Roussanne enhancing each other, a **** wine, while the Marsanne Le Lombard 2015 was STGT, **** wine. The Saint-Péray Lieu-dit Biousse (pictured) is the new name for Les Cerfs, the 2015 a **** wine.
LVT 2017 r 2019 wh Yves set out out on his vinous journey in 1987, so is now something of a veteran, although you wouldn't know it from his approach, and rock n'roll music playing. His life was thrown into tragedy by the premature death of his beloved wife Mathilde just at the harvest time in 2011. She was in her early fifties. Mathilde was an artistic all-rounder, so suited to Yves. She sang jazz, designed soaps from grape varieties, and worked on the domaine. Friends and colleagues helped with the 2011 harvest. Their daughter Elsa started to work on the domaine in the late 2010s, and helped with the 2019 vinification.
There is beautiful elegance in the Condrieu, a wine that has gained in dimension and depth in recent years. It is always rich and perfumed, with, since 2018, a use of amphores to raise it, which Yves says brings increased freshness.
The Côte-Rôties also show the domaine's trade mark finesse and stylish fruit, with the Sereine Noire capable of sound evolution: the 2015, a ***** wine from cask tasting, should live for around 25 years. The 2017, a ***** wine, merits this excerpt from my tasting note: "The combination of rocks and flowers is most compelling, all in one glass. The fruit serves to link the rocks and the flowers, two of nature’s elements, rather than it being a wine with fruit first, plus two other touches. This is core Côte-Rôtie, a lovely swirl of red fruits criss-crossing it, is long on character, a great unbridled ride."
With a full harvest in 2015, Yves introduced a Côte-Rôtie Côte Rozier on its own (1,500 bottles, ***** quality), wine that usually goes into La Sereine Noire. It was not made independently in 2016 and later. Saint-Joseph red and white are now also offered, sound quality, with a good Vin de France Viognier from a 0.3 hectare vineyard touching the Condrieu appellation.