Collines Rhodaniennes: Domaine Georges Vernay 'Le Pied de Samson' 2019
"A mini-Condrieu that comes from vines just outside the appellation, the 2019 Viognier Le Pied De Samson is ideal for readers looking to understand Viognier from France while not breaking the bank. Classic notes of buttered peach, orange blossom, flowers, and subtle minerality all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, textured Viognier. This cuvée normally tends to be lighter and made in a leaner style, but not in 2019, where it competes with any number of Condrieu out there. I suspect it's best enjoyed over the coming 2-3 years. 92/100."
Jeb Dunnuck - JebDunnuck.com
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.
This wine is a classic Viognier from a celebrated producer - a bouquet of honeysuckle and violets, a sensuous mid-weight palate of apricots and mirabelles preceding an elegant, dry finish.
It makes an alluring aperitif and requires little accompaniment save perhaps a few olives. It is intended for relatively forward drinking over the next 2-3 years.
|Style||White Wine, Sec, Medium-bodied, Non Sparkling|
|Wine Region||Rhône, Condrieu|
|Grape Variety (Cépage)||Viognier|
|Food & Wine Matching||Olives, White Fish|
|Cellarage||Best drunk when young within in its first 3 years.|
|Vinification||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.|
|Alcohol By Volume (%)||14|
Domaine Georges Vernay
The Vernay name is synonymous with quality Viognier. Christine Vernay's father Georges (1926-2017) was instrumental in keeping the Condrieu appellation from extinction in the 1960s when there were only 8 hectares left under vine! The Vernays have worked tirelessly to promote Viognier and are largely responsible for its current renaissance and newfound global popularity. Christine Vernay took over winemaking responsibilities here in 1997 and is assisted in the management of the estate by her husband Paul Amsellem. Today the Vernays farm 7.5 hecatres of vines at Condrieu, which puts them in the top 3 growers in volume terms (alongside Cuilleron & Guigal). Domaine Georges Vernay is widely regarded as being among the very best sources of Condrieu, they also produce an excellent Vin de Pays Viognier, from higher altitude vines called 'Le Pied de Samson' as well as an impressive range of red wines comprising a fruity Vin de Pays Syrah, Saint Joseph and Côte Rôtie.
"Domaine Georges Vernay is the flagship of Condrieu. Its vines were planted in the AOC in 1936, and it remained the only domaine in Condrieu for many years, until others finally started believing in Viognier. Today, third-generation vintner Christine Vernay runs the estate, crafting whites that are both opulent and pure. Her Côte-Rôties are equally impressive."
James Molesworth - Wine Spectator.
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