Château Grillet Wine
The historic 3.5 hectare 'monopole' appellation of Château Grillet was bought from the Neyret-Gachet family by François Pinault and his team at the celebrated Bordelaise First Growth estate Château Latour in 2011. On a visit last October it was gratifying to see the results of their investment of capital, time, labour and care at this unique vineyard set in a natural, southwest-facing amphitheatre overlooking the river Rhône. Under the sage stewardship of former lawyer Alessandro Noli the cellars have been renovated, the terraces have been restored and the soil quality has improved tangibly. The over-arching goal here is to produce the finest wine possible, and the sublime 2014 bottling indicates that the team are close to achieving that ambition. Even Jean-Louis Chave has been taking an interest in developments, visiting to monitor progress and offer his opinions.
One bold decision has been to withhold a significant portion of the harvest from the principal production and use it to make a second wine, bottled as a humble white 'Côtes du Rhône'. It does not have the intensity, complexity or longevity of the senior wine, but it is a lovely, pure expression of the Viognier grape with subtle wild flower and orchard-fruit scents and an elegant palate of apricots and poached pears offset by nervy mineral notes. The senior wine has always been vintage-sensitive, and the diminutive 2013 harvest, when just 3 barrels were produced, was followed by the more bountiful 2014 vintage, one of the finest in living memory. The finished wine is a revelation, with beguiling honeysuckle and agrumes scents and a wonderfully delineated, taffeta-textured palate of white stone fruits underscored by a long, elegant finish. Already eminently approachable, it should cellar well for more than a decade.