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L'école des vins
These are made from Viognier grapes, planted on narrow terraces, here in their spiritual homeland. The true Condrieu aficionado will know to move away from the village centre, and will explore the winding maze of hillside vineyards in search of the grapes of this famously aromatic, golden wine. The AOC area measures some 200 hectares and has become a global standard, particularly in the US.
Viognier is the only varietal grown in Condrieu, and makes smooth, generous wines. These are a pale, golden colour with a glimmer of green, and are both fresh and highly aromatic. Scents include floral perfumes, particularly violets, and fruity notes of mango, white peach and apricot. At their peak, there is also a discernible touch of musk, gingerbread and tobacco. Condrieu wines are prone to oxidation, and are best enjoyed young.
Discover the best food and wine pairing in the Rhône Valley. Specialties of the local gastronomy sublimated by wines of the region like Condrieu to thrill of pleasure the taste buds of the most greedy.
Crus des Côtes du RhôneCondrieu
It is likely that Viognier has been grown in Condrieu since the time of the ancient Greeks. Emperor Domitian had the vines pulled up in 92 AD, as he felt they were a bad influence on his soldiers. Around 280 AD, however, emperor Probus had them replanted, declaring that on the contrary, their effect on the army was beneficial. In the 12th century, the area archbishop built a fortress overlooking the town to fend off enemy attacks. It still stands today. Like Saint Michel and Vérin, Condrieu then became home to the sailors who transported goods and people along the Rhône between Lyon and Beaucaire. Wines from Condrieu have been popular for many generations; they were particularly highly regarded by the Avignon Popes, while famous epicure Curnonsky believed they were among the best white wines in France. There were difficult times, of course. Phylloxera, the World War 1, the World War 2 and industrialisation all took their toll. By the 1950s, there were only a dozen or so hectares left planted with vine, across the communes of Condrieu, Vérin and Saint Michel. A handful of winegrowers however, the AOC revival started in the 1980s. Abandoned hillsides were replanted and terrace walls were rebuilt. In 1986, the AOC boundaries were revised, retaining only the slopes with the best exposure. Nowadays the AOC covers 200 ha of vineyards.
The appellation area encompasses the 7 communes of Condrieu, St Michel sur Rhône, Vérin, Chavanay, Saint Pierre de Boeuf, Malleval and Limony, in the Rhône, Loire and Ardèche départements.
The climate is largely continental, similar to Lyon, with a Mediterranean influence. Temperatures are very high in summer, as the orientation causes the sun-baked, rocky soils to store heat.
The right bank of the Rhône Valley between Saint Romain en Gal and Serrières is characterised by greatly contrasting landscapes. The Rhône’s most recent alluvial deposits, the flat terraces, come up sharply against the steep inclines that provide access between them and the Plateau de Pélussin. This is where the vineyards grow, clinging to the parent rock in long, narrow “chayées” needing constant upkeep. The deepest part of the rocky outcrops here is granite. Inside the altered fringe, the soils have a friable texture, while the fissures are rich in clay.
The fissures provide ideal conditions for the Condrieu vines to root and flourish, not least because the clay supplies moisture when most needed. The outermost layer of the fringe never becomes thick on the slopes, and is made up of altered and unaltered minerals, rock fragments and clay. The chayée terraces ensure this section of the vineyard never compacts, resulting in a soil that is richer in organic matter.
Rendement moyen annuel
Superficie de production
8 388 hl