Viognier Vendanges Tardives
Reasoning behind this wine : the historic home of the Viognier grape is not far from us at the little town of Condrieu, 20 km south of Lyon. As this is the most northern point of the Rhône valley, I thought there would be a good chance that Viognier could be successfully grown in our area. Not too far away and with similar granite soils seemed to be a reasonable bet. When we planted the vines I only had in mind the prospect of producing a dry wine. I hadn't imagined that the Saint Sulpice hill was the ideal situation for noble rot to develop on Viognier grapes. In certain years the proximity of the Loire river means that misty mornings alternate with sunny afternoons, hence the noble rot. As we are the only ones with vines in this area this is a local exclusivity. It is also a rare wine as few producers of Viognier have the necessary conditions for noble rot or are ready to take the risk inherent in producing this style of wine.
· Aromatics: association of the specific flavour of the noble rot with the floral taste of the Viognier grape.
· Mouth: the balance between sweetness and freshness avoids heaviness.
Good as an aperitif. Ideal partner for foie gras or blue cheese.
How the wine is made: without adding sugar (no chaptalisation), as is the case with all our wines. The main thing is to hope and wait for the noble rot to develop which it may or may not do. This can be a tricky process as the idea is to pick the grapes at just the right stage so as to have enough noble rot but not too much otherwise the fruit and freshness in the wine will be lost. Many noble rot wines can be too concentrated and too heavy making them difficult to enjoy, which is not the style we are looking for.
The grapes are hand-picked directly into small 20-kilo bins as used in Burgundy. The grapes are tipped by hand into the pneumatic wine press. The aim of this is to treat the grapes as gently as possible to avoid breaking skins that would release juice that would oxidize. Fruit is thus preserved and less sulfites are needed. The pressing is slow and gentle. The juice is left at a cool temperature to enable the heavier elements to deposit. No enzymes are used as we prefer to keep the lees for the barrel ageing. As the grapes are picked by hand, the quality of these lees is very good. The fermentation temperature is around 20°C. The alcohol fermentation will generally continue in barrels through to spring in our cellars on fine lees. Our barrels come exclusively from Meursault either new or second-hand from various growers. Aging our wines in barrels does not aim to give an oak style but to enrich it with regular batonnage and develop the aromatics
Appellation: Vin de France.
Name: Vendanges Tardives Plaisir Brumaire.
Grape :Viognier, directly grafted from the vines of Yves Cuilleron, outstanding Condrieu producer.
Terroir: the granite hill called St Sulpice is just a few hundred meters from the Loire river giving a special micro climate. This area is about 5 km from the main Côte Roannaise producing area with quite a different terroir. According to the earliest documents known, dating from the year 966, this is where vines were first grown in our region.
Origin of the grapes: Coteau de St Sulpice.
Yield: 20 hl /ha
Alcohol: 14 %, un-chaptalised with 40g of residual sugar.
Bottle: Bordeaux type in cases of 6x50cl. We use Nomacorc Classic.