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 chance that Viognier could be succesfully grown in our area. Not too far away and similar granite soils seemed to be a reasonable bet. In the world of Viognier, this wine represents a middle of the road style between the prestige wine from Condrieu and the basic Viogniers from Languedoc area.
Tasting notes: floral aromatics mainly violets, very typical of Viognier, followed by a touch of apricot and marmelade and a hint of honey in the empty glass. The texture of this wine in the mouth is achieved through a mix of its freshness and the fat of the wine. Long after-taste with a hint of oak due to 100% barrel ageing.
How the wine is made: without adding sugar (no chaptalisation), as is the case with all our wines. The grapes are hand-picked directly into small 20-kilo bins as used in Burgundy. In hot weather, the grapes are put into cold storage so when they are pressed, the fruit will be preserved. If necessary, the bunches are individualy sorted by hand to eliminate damaged grapes. 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. No sulfites are added during this period as the malolactic fermentation will occur during the summer. Aging our wines in barrels does not aim to give an oak style but to enrich it with regular batonnage and develop the aromatics. Due to the tannins absorbed by the the wine from the oak barrels, it was not necessary to fine the wine prior to bottling in June 2010 (14 months after picking). This is consistant with our non interventionist wine-making policy as is the fact that we use no additives which are otherwise commonly used such as Arabic gum, metatartrique acid, ascorbic acid etc. We only use a minimum of sulfites.
Grape : Viognier, directly grafted from the vines of Yves Cuilleron, outstanding grower in Condrieu.
Soil: the granite hill called St Sulpice is just a few hundred metres 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 : 35hl /ha.
Alcohol : 13 %, un-chaptalised.
Bottle : Bordeaux type in cases of 6x75cl. We use Nomacorc Classic.