Domaine Georges Vernay - Le Pied de Samson Viognier - 2018 - 750 ml
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2018WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING
Wine Person of the Year 2012: Christine Vernay.
Producer of exceptional wines, the absolute pinnacle of quality in France and in the world. Bettane and Desseauve, Le Grand Guide des Vins de France 2012
Christine Vernay's 'Le Pied de Samson' bottling is not actually a Condrieu per se as it hails from the upper plateau, above 300 metres above sea level, which doesn't fall within the boundaries of the official appellation, so is bottled as a relatively humble Vin de Pays. No matter, it's a Viognier that gives many a 'vrai' Condrieu a good run for its money.
Low yields (circa 30 hl/ ha) of hand harvested grapes (gathered in the morning only, to ensure a cool start to fermentation) are brought in as late as possible to maximize ripe fruit flavours. A malolactic fermentation is normally permitted as it enhances both bouquet and stability. The wine is vinified in modern thermo-regulated stainless-steel vats and is bottled in the early Spring to preserve its fresh fruity character. This charming, upmarket Vin de Pays hails from the upper slopes, above the climats of La Caille and Mirebaudy, which are not classified as Condrieu as they lie over 300 metres above sea-level.
Far removed from the plump, languid Viogniers from less unique terroirs, Domaine Georges Vernay’s three Condrieu, remain quite unlike any other wine produced in the world. Made from tiny yields on incredibly steep granite terraces, they are not cheap, but then nor should they be. They come from one of the most challenging – and expensive to manage – vineyard areas in the world, and they are benchmark examples. In the firmament of great white wine, these are counted amongst the very best.
Befitting the civility and studious nature of this Domaine, it is appropriate that their measured evolution from a great grower in the Northern Rhône into one of the greatest growers in France has been understated. At Domaine Georges Vernay, authenticity comes in the form of old vines, low yields and the mantra of ‘minimal intervention’. We could fill pages with the recent critical success that winemaker Christine Vernay and her wines have achieved over the past few years. This is actually quite scary considering that even a few years back it didn’t seem possible for their wines to get much better. And yet, that is exactly what has happened.
Christine Vernay’s received the “Wine Person of the Year 2012” award from the two leading French wine critics, Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve. In their new guide, 2012 Le Grand Guide des Vins de France, Vernay was elevated to the top “5 Star” rating. Vernay joins a clique of only 30 French Estates - that includes Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Ausone, Latour, Margaux, Lafite Rothschild and Yquem. It’s also worth noting that Vernay probably is the most artisanal of these and is also one of the few family-owned Domaines in this class. It’s an incredible achievement, yet for those insiders familiar with the wines, it’s an achievement that will not surprise.
Region: Rhone Valley
Appellation: IGP Collines Rhodaniennes
Producer: Christine Vernay
Grape: 100% Viognier
Age of the vines: 15 years
Vineyard: The vines are located above the hillsides of Condrieu. Originally considered a part of the appellation of Condrieu, due to their altitude being over 300m above sea level, they are no longer permitted.
Aging: In oak vats of 20HL on fine lees
Total Production: 10,000 bottles