I am back in France's Rhône Valley, this time to taste the 2009 and 2008 lineups from the region's best domaines. For more on these vintages' characteristics and links to my recent coverage of the region, check out Tasting 2008 and 2009 Rhône Wines.
E. Guigal is arguably the most recognized name in the Rhône Valley and needs little introduction. If you wish for more background, you can reference my cellar notes from visits in January 2005, November 2006, November 2007 and July 2008.
"2008 is not an easy vintage," said the plain-talking Philippe Guigal, currently the third generation to help run this famed domaine and négociant house. "People think it's as bad as 2002, but it's not that bad. For reds, it is a struggle. Whites on the other hand, are delicious."
As evidence, Guigal's 2008 Côtes du Rhône White sold out quickly; they have already switched to the 2009 for the market. The blend of 50 percent Viognier with 15 percent Roussanne, 10 percent Marsanne and the rest Clairette and Bourboulenc offers very good quality with peach, bitter almond and dried pineapple notes. The 2008 Crozes-Hermitage White, vinified three-quarters in tank and the rest in oak, is very creamy and pure, with heather, orange blossom and white peach notes. The blend of Marsanne with just 5 percent Roussanne could merit an outstanding rating when finally released.
"Because it was so cool during July and August, the acids weren't eaten up by the warm weather," said Guigal, regarding the vintage's successful whites. "That left a lot of malic acidity, so the wines are very fresh. However, yields are down 20 percent for whites and easily 25 percent for reds, due to selection."
Stepping up a notch is the clearly outstanding 2008 St.-Joseph White, which sees 25 percent new oak during its aging. Another 95 percent Marsanne, 5 percent Roussanne blend, it's very racy with green almond, white peach and honeysuckle that are bright and delicious. Continuing up the quality scale, the 2008 St.-Joseph White Lieu-Dit St.-Joseph offers more range, with bitter almond, peach skin and nectarine notes that are nonetheless very creamy and long. Vinified in all new oak, it's already absorbed its élevage and is creamy and very long. If you like white Hermitage but find it hard to stomach their typical three-digit price tags, these St.-Joseph cuvées are the next best thing.
Switching to Viognier, of which the Guigals are big fans (they dominate the AOC with 40 percent of the total crop), the 2008 Condrieu offers lilting anise, fennel and peach aromas, with a creamy feel and a long, tropical fruit- and bitter orange peel-laced finish. The wine is vinified in one-third new oak and the rest in tank.
The key, said Guigal, was to wait as long as possible while fending off the rot in 2008. The 2008 Condrieu La Doriane is from "my ripest grapes, at 14.2 percent alcohol, which in '08 was a real challenge to get," said Guigal, who has added a 0.5-hectare of Coteau du Chery to the blend in 2008.
"This should keep nicely for five to eight years," said Guigal. The La Doriane is vinified in 100 percent new oak, but you don't really feel it, even in '08, as it's very well-integrated.
"We did in '08 exactly the opposite of '09. That is, we waited as long as possible, whereas in '09 the key was not to wait too long. It was a balance between rot and ripeness, trying to get as much ripeness as possible, without losing more crop to rot."
To help against the rot, Guigal tried a new organic spray, called "serenade" a beneficial mold on the side of Botrytis cinerea, which helps to stop the spread of gray rot. Guigal tried it on a few parcels and really liked the results.
Still to be bottled among the whites are the 2008 Hermitage White (there will not be an Ex Voto bottling in 2008). Restrained, with honeysuckle, nectarine, heather honey and almond notes, it has a big core in reserve, with suave toast and a lingering macadamia nut note. The blend of 93 percent Marsanne/7 percent Roussanne is easily outstanding and really benefits from having the top parcels that normally go to the Ex Voto bottle.
Moving to the '09s, the 2009 Côtes du Rhône White blends 55 percent Viognier, 15 percent Roussanne, 15 percent Marsanne, 10 percent Clairette and 5 percent Bourboulenc. Its 40,000-plus case production was bottled three weeks ago all in one go, as Guigal's new enlarged facility can handle the task. It's very ripe, but defined, with a stony core of peach pit and nectarine covered with melon and anise.
The 2009 St.-Joseph White has not undergone it's malolactic yet. "The cold winter didn't help at all with that," said Guigal, echoing a refrain heard from most vignerons so far. The wine is very rich and plump, with pineapple, honeydew and heather notes. It's lush, even without the malo, and sports a long, lingering pineapple finish. The 2009 St.-Joseph White Lieu-Dit St.-Joseph also has yet to undergo its malolactic. It's a touch reduced, with matchstick hints and grilled hazelnut notes but has a ripe and solid core of melon and dried tropical fruits with a powerful, bitter almond-filled finish. It still has a ways to go in its élevage but is an impressive young wine.
Guigal notes that he's doing less lees contact for the Marsanne/Roussanne wines now. "In rich vintages, I think it can make the wines flabby, and there can be some digression. I was finding the wines were becoming too flabby, too quickly. Now they're staying straighter, longer."
For the 2009 Condrieu sample, Guigal asked me to "keep in mind we have a lot of samples, so this is just a part." Drawn from tank and not barrel (its malo is finished), the wine is very fresh, with mouthwatering acidity supporting lush green melon, fig and almond notes. It flirts with a sweet feel but has less than 1 gram of residual sugar, so it's bone dry.
Guigal is happy with his choice to pick earlier in 2009, to maintain some freshness in the whites following the very hot August.
"We picked all the Condrieu by Sept. 7, and still have an average of 14.2 alcohol," he said. "It was early, but if I had to do it over again, I would do the same."
With the addition of the new parcel, the 2009 Condrieu La Doriane now sources fruit from four vineyards in the appellation. The final blend is made from 1 hectare of Côte Chatillon, a schist-limestone spot that produces a very rich, showy profile; a 1-hectare parcel of Colombier, whose granite soils deliver peach, honey and fennel notes; a less than 1-hectare piece in Valon, with granite and iron oxide that results in a plump up-front wine that quickly turns almost bracing in feel; and a 0.5-hectare piece of Côteau du Chery, whose decomposed granite soils deliver pure finesse and white flowers. Put together, the blend is a gorgeous combination of power and elegance, with peach, anise, green melon, macadamia nut and almond cream notes backed by heather honey, and a long, salted butter finish that should rate classic when finally released.
From Hermitage, there will be a 2009 Ermitage White Ex Voto bottling, though it's a bit awkward to taste now with 4 grams of residual sugar still to digest and a malolactic that has not yet started. It's youthfully raw, with crisp apple and pear notes backed by hints of ginger cream and green tea—it has a long way to go before it's fully defined.
While the 2009s are a stellar set of wines in the making, the Guigals made the difficult decision to not bottle any Southern Rhône reds in 2008, focusing instead on just the Northern Rhône.
"It's a bit sad, but considering that we release late and we're selling '06 Côtes du Rhône now, I don't see myself selling '08 Côtes du Rhône red in two years, since I don't think the wine will make it," said Guigal.
None of the '08 reds are yet bottled. The 2008 Crozes-Hermitage, vinified in used barrels, offers crisp cherry and pomegranate notes, with a touch of tobacco. The tangy finish is a touch herbal and fluid; it offers potentially good to very good quality. The 2008 St.-Joseph gets a little more support from a toasted vanilla note, with darker cherry and Damson plum notes and a dash of spice on the finish, it's potentially very good. Flirting with outstanding is the 2008 St.-Joseph Lieu-dit St.-Joseph, which shows nice toasted raisin bread, licorice and plum notes and the vintage's typical dusty edge to the finish.
The Guigals changed their élevage somewhat to accommodate for the vintage's lighter profile, though they kept to the same barrel aging regimen as usual.
"We are big fans of long vatting, but we cut that for 2008. In 2003 we did five weeks, the most we've done. In 2008, we did two and a half weeks, the shortest we can do. We didn't want to extract things we didn't want in 2008 while preserving as much fruit as possible. It's not an aging vintage, so no reason to extract more tannins. With big tannins and better structure, there could have been better balance. It's not damaging the wine, but the balance could've been better if the vintage had been stronger," said Guigal.
Nonetheless, the 2008 St.-Joseph Vignes de l'Hospice, is surprisingly plush, with ripe plum sauce and blackberry fruit and lingering fruitcake notes. The long spicy finish has a lightly firm, toasty edge, but there's much more substantial material here to absorb the oak influence. The 2008 Hermitage (no Ex Voto bottling in 2008) shows nice, pliant lingon berry and linzer notes, with spice cake and roasted vanilla as well. The winery's workhorse 2008 Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde is lighter in body, but has lively briar, olive and tobacco notes that are true to the appellation, with a core of cranberry and black cherry fruit. Potentially outstanding is the 2008 Côte-Rôtie Château d'Ampuis, a cask sample made from three of the seven parcels that make up the wine shows strong olive and green tobacco notes, with a good core of black cherry and Damson plum. It has a snappy edge to finish, but silky tannins for the vintage.
The top three "La La" wines will be bottled in 2008, a decision that Guigal is confident in, noting they did the same in 2002 as well.
"I think if you taste all the other Côte-Rôtie and then the Mouline or Turque or Landonne, that you'll see it's the best we can do in Côte-Rôtie. That's the justification for not declassifying," he said.
The 2008 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline shows alluring aromatic spice box notes, with forward, slightly soft plum and cherry fruit. It has good integrated structure, though it's a bit lacy in feel. A step up is the 2008 Côte-Rôtie La Turque, with clearly more density and silkier mouthfeel too, along with hints of Valrhona chocolate, coffee and plum. The long finish is rather supple for the vintage. The best of the three, however, is the 2008 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne, which was also the last to be harvested as the northern sector of the appellation was less influenced by the early September rains. It's quite dark, with a brawny edge to the tapenade, iron and mulled currant notes and could flirt with classic in quality, which would be an impressive feat in the vintage.
As for changing the élevage for the "La La" wines, Guigal is not closed to the idea.
"I'd love to get to 42 months [aging], but we'll follow along and see. I was afraid at first the evolution might go quickly, but it has slowed down, so I'm confident for the longer term."
Vidal-Fleury is one of the historic names of the Rhône Valley. Founded in 1791, Vidal-Fleury exported its wines to the U.S after a visit from Thomas Jefferson. (I wonder if they have any bottles with "Th. J" carved on them?) Through the 1920s, it was the biggest name in the valley, first dealing only with estate grapes. After Etienne Guigal (he of the "E" in E. Guigal) joined Vidal-Fleury as a winemaker in 1924, it began to expand into a négociant business, vinifying wines in the Southern Rhône before the AOC system was even in place. That growth continued through the second World War, but quality and reputation began to slide soon after Guigal left to form his own winery in 1946.
Guigal returned to the picture at Vidal-Fleury, this time when Marcel (Etienne's son) bought the company in 1984, but kept it as a separate entity. It's been pretty much stuck in neutral for a while but major changes have taken place recently and the future is bright.
A massive new winery facility was completed in early 2008, giving Vidal-Fleury the tools it needs to modernize its operation. At the same time, the Guigals hired an old colleague from the wine business, Guy Sarton du Jonchay, as general manager and winemaker.
Du Jonchay has a diverse background: He was born in the Ivory Coast to a French father and Argentine mother, and du Jonchay's wife is Polish.
"The melting pot is not only in America," said the affable, white-haired du Jonchay with a laugh. He has worked in Argentina, Australia and southwest France. He met the Guigals while working as winemaker for the large Barton & Guestier operation from 1994 through 2002, then working for another large négoce operation through 2006. He was hired to get Vidal-Fleury its mojo back, plain and simple. It won't be an easy task.
"Guigal is our biggest competitor of course," said Jonchay of his neighbor and owner. "But we have the same philosophy now, for quality, so it should be interesting. Of the various aspects that give a wine its character, vineyards and aging are the most important," said du Jonchay.
The philosophy of aging is what du Jonchay has changed since his arrival, adopting some of the Guigal methods of long aging in wood prior to bottling the wines, ranging from almost a year for the Côtes du Rhône bottling to nearly four years for the top Côte-Rôties. The winery currently produces 800,000 bottles a year and is sending one-third to the U.S., but total production has the capacity to grow to 3 million bottles.
Vidal-Fleury has changed its barrel regime, now using barrels from Guigal's in-house cooper, though using much less new oak than E. Guigal. Southern Rhône reds are aged in foudres only, Northern Rhône mostly in demi-muids and barrels. Du Jonchay is also in the process of bringing all the Vidal-Fleury stock to the new cellar (it's currently spread out over several older facilities) as each wine is racked. Longer lees contact has also been started, with natural settling for stabilization, no more fining, and only one filtration done just before bottling.
"Filtration strips the wine of its natural protection," said du Jonchay. "So we are using a new cross-flow filtration system that moves the wine very slowly and at very little pressure and we do it just before bottling to give the wine as long an aging on its lees as possible."
At the brand new Vidal Fleury facility, all the tools are in place to turnaround one of the Rhone's historic names.
The bottling line is even bigger than the one at Guigal, and can process 40,000 bottles per day, right down to stacking palettes with a large Robocop-like arm that does most of the work. Just two people can handle the line itself and, all told, there are only eight full-time employees at Vidal-Fleury.
"We have automated as much of the process as we can, so that we can focus manual labor on just the winemaking itself," said du Jonchay.
It's an impressive overhaul, capped by brand-new labels for all the wines, regardless of vintage, as they are released from the new facility.
"The label changed because everything changed, so we needed to make that announcement in a way," said du Jonchay. "Of course marketing has always told me that if you change the label, you double your sales. Funny, but it's never worked before," he said laughing.
"Fine," you say. "But what about the wine?"
Good question. Granted it's a tough way to start a new regime with a vintage as difficult as 2008. But with plenty of stocks of other vintages in reserve, du Jonchay has made a similar decision as at Guigal—choosing not to bottle some wines in 2008 while hoping to transition to the '09 down the road without skipping a beat. The limited portfolio in the vintage does include the 2008 Crozes-Hermitage, bottled just last week, which has soft, open-knit cherry, floral and sandalwood notes.
"The problem with '08 is not the fruit, but the structure," said du Jonchay. "It was easy to make a Crozes because we age it in foudre for a drinkable style."
From there, the 2007 Cornas, aged for two years in wood before bottling, offers a fresher profile, with nice red berry and spice notes a modest twinge of mineral on the finish. It's a good introduction to the appellation, offering very good quality. The 2003 Hermitage will be the next release from that appellation for Vidal-Fleury; bottled six months ago, it has mature spice box and dried currant aromas but still has a modestly juicy core of cherry, backed by a cedar note on the finish. It's solid, if not as dynamic as other top '03s, which was a wildly hot and inconsistent year.
The winery built its early reputation on Côte-Rôtie however, and that's where it will likely regain its reputation. The 2004 Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde is a blend of about 10 different parcels, containing 8 percent Viognier. It's got nice drive, with olive, pepper and cherry notes and flirts with outstanding quality. There's a jump though to the 2005 Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde, as you might expect in this classic vintage, with the wine showing a riper core of darker fruit, more range of tea, spice and mineral notes and nicely integrated grip on the finish.
The top wine is a single-parcel bottling, averaging just 3,500 bottles per year. From one of the highest spots in the altitude and benefiting from a cool breeze, the fruit for the 2005 Côte-Rôtie La Chatillonne Blonde is typically picked late. Containing 15 percent Viognier, it's a very stylish, floral expression of Côte-Rôtie with tasty pure plum and blackberry fruit and lovely mouthfeel. It's easily outstanding. Proving it's not just a hiccup though, the 2006 Côte-Rôtie La Chatillonne Blonde is also outstanding. Just bottled, du Jonchay showed he isn't stuck to a recipe, by shortening the élevage for the wine.
"2006 is a vintage to drink before 2005, so there was no need to keep it longer [in oak]," he said.
The wine has the vintage's racy, tangy spine, along with lighter toast but nicely persistent black cherry and currant fruit. It's a very pretty Côte-Rôtie.
The current releases from this winery have only benefited from tweaks in their élevage—du Jonchay's real imprint will come starting with the 2008 and 2009 vintages, which he vinified himself in the new facility. Du Jonchay is an experienced, seasoned professional, he wasn't hired to just be a caretaker. He's got all the pieces in place to effect some real change at a slumbering giant, and lots of folks are watching to see if he can do it.
Pierre-Jean Villa is not new to wine—he's been the general manager at the Yves Cuilleron/François Villard/Pierre Gaillard-founded micro-négociant Les Vins de Vienne since 2002 (for background on that, see my cellar notes from November 2007). But in 2009, he decided to strike out on his own.
"This is a total dream for me," said Villa as he stood on a steep slope of still uncleared land, at the southwestern limit of Condrieu. It's a landlocked parcel that has been abandoned since 1937, with no access except to scramble up an old irrigation ditch.
"People have been trying to get this parcel for years, but the owner wouldn't sell the other connected parcel that included an access road, so it would have been impossible to work it," said Villa. "But luckily, my father knew him and he finally decided to sell. I know I am lucky to have these parcels, because when most vignerons start out, you just rent a parcel here and there, and you probably don't get the terroir with the great potential right away."
It may not look like much now, but these abandoned terraces in Condrieu will be renovated by Pierre-Jean Villa.
Villa also has another parcel in Condrieu set for planting, which he plans to do this spring (see the accompanying video for more). Currently, his domaine totals 8 hectares, with just 4 in production, in St.-Joseph and Côte-Rôtie, as well as a small parcel in Seysseul from his partnership in Les Vins de Vienne (which he has maintained). He's vinifying the wines at Jean-Michel Gerin's winery and plans to build his own facility, renovating an old fruit producer's building, located at the bottom of one of the hillside parcels he just purchased in Condrieu.
The 2009 St.-Joseph Preface is a blend of three parcels, made in a mix of barrel and demi-muid, none new. There's also no pigéage (punching down of the cap) and just one rémontage (pumping over) per day, for as gentle an extraction as possible. The result is a pure, unadorned violet- and kirsch-filled wine with a long, suave finish pierced by a lingering stony hint.
From his parcel in Seysseul, the 2009 Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes was vinified entirely in demi-muid with minimal punching down. It's very fresh, with succulent blackberry and violet notes and a long, smoke and mineral-filled finish, with that great twang of acidity the Seysseul wines typically have. It's still very youthful but has really gorgeous purity. All of Villa's '09 reds have yet to be racked off their lees, as he is practicing a long, gentle élevage. Vinified in a mix of demi-muid and barrel (with a total of 50 percent new oak) is the 2009 Côte-Rôtie Carmina, sourced from the Fontgeant parcel. Keeping with the style here, it's very elegant—there's a sappy core of kirsch fruit, along with violet and licorice notes—but the texture is fine-grained, pure and supple, and the finish is unadorned minerality.
Villa finishes with his second St.-Joseph cuvée, the 2009 St.-Joseph Tildé, which combines his best parcels of old vines (some planted in 1966), including some of those that used to go into Les Vins de Vienne's Les Archevêques bottling. It's even more powerful than the Côte-Rôtie, but still maintains great purity, with a vibrant, racy graphite note and lots of pastis and violet hints.
"You can see why I wait to show this at the end," said Villa proudly. "It's what we call a lazy wine. I don't do anything and yet it comes out at just 13.3 alcohol, 3.3 pH and 3.9 total acidity," he said.
The acidity really blazes through the wine, giving it extra precision and focus.
Villa picked a good vintage to start his domaine in. And don't worry: While production is small, Villa has already lined up a U.S. importer, so the wines will be coming in.
The modest Christine Vernay doesn't like to show her wines too young, so we focused primarily on 2008 as well as the last '07 to come to the market, and a peek at the '09s.
Vernay has put a lot of effort into improving the reds here, and it shows. While still considered a Condrieu domaine because of its historic connection to the appellation, this domaine is now among the elite red wine producers as well, a fact proven by a very good effort in the difficult 2008 vintage.
The 2007 Côte-Rôtie Maison Rouge was bottled in December and has integrated nicely, showing a polished texture that carries mineral, sanguine and sappy red currant notes. It's always the more structured of the domaine's two Côte-Rôties (compared to the Côte-Rôtie Blonde du Seigneur) and it offers easily outstanding quality.
"2007s are very aromatic and flattering now, and they've put on a little weight since the bottling," said Vernay. "They're not as angular as 2005 of course, but they do have good structure."
In 2008, the lineup starts with a new label, the 2008 Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Fleurs de Mai (same wine, new label). Fermented in tank and then aged in foudre, it's sourced from vines planted by Vernay's father up on the plateau above the hillsides of Condrieu, 30 years ago. It's a fresh, uncomplicated mix of red cherry, toasted vanilla and floral notes, with a friendly finish and none of the vintage's crisp feel.
"The difficulty with 2008 is the acidity, of course—it's high while the maturity is low. The mildew pressure was so high," said Vernay, who employed a selection in the vineyards as well a sorting table at the winery to manage the uneven ripening and sort for the best fruit possible.
The very good 2008 Côtes du Rhône Ste.-Agathe comes from Syrah vines planted oddly, in the Condrieu AOC, on slopes just next to the winery itself. It's tangy, with red cherry and pomegranate notes laced with iron and bay leaf hints. The 2008 St.-Joseph Terres d'Encre (formerly labeled just St.-Joseph) is sourced from a parcel in Ribaudy planted in 1970. The bay leaf hint is a little stronger here, along with slightly darker, racier cherry fruit and a dash of cherry pit on the finish. The 2008 St.-Joseph La Dame Brune is from two parcels in Chavanay, planted in 1940 and 1960. It's one of the overlooked gems of the appellation as well as one of the hardest to find. Its telltale incense and lilac aromas are evident, with a slightly firm, taut palate of red cherry and currant fruit laced with dusty tannins. With the domaine's yields averaging less than 25 hl/ha in 2008, it won't be any easier to find (just 850 bottles in '08).
The 2008 Côte-Rôtie Blonde du Seigneur has a nice tangy note of iron up front, letting the red cherry and pomegranate fruit sit in the background. It's a little taut still but the tannins are rounded enough. Vernay did not want to show the 2008 Côte-Rôtie Maison Rouge, as she considers it too early in its élevage.
In the ensuing vintage, there are two entry-level cuvées. The 2009 Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes is a delightfully fresh, floral red berry-filled Syrah with no hard edges and a lilting finish. Vernay now keeps her oldest Vin de Pays vines for the 2009 Syrah Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Fleur de May which shows medium weight and very pure red and black cherry fruit with a dusting of toast. The finish isn't as big as a typical Côte-Rôtie, but it's almost as long and has the same sanguine and floral hints typical of the appellation.
This domaine really gets a chance to shine in 2008 though. While the vintage that will be remembered for its less-than-stellar reds in general, it's the whites that savvy customers will try to grab, and Vernay has a set of excellent offerings on tap.
The 2008 Viognier Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Le Pied de Samson is a fresh, open, textbook introduction to the grape, offering bright honeysuckle, anise seed and white peach notes. The three potentially outstanding Condrieu cuvées start with the 2008 Condrieu Les Terrasses de l'Empire, which is fermented in wooden vat and barrel (but none new). It's super floral, with honeysuckle and orange blossom notes that are very persistent, while hints of green apple, lime and verbena fill out the palate. The 2008 Condrieu Les Chaillées de l'Enfer shows more richness, but doesn't sacrifice any freshness, adding quince, yellow apple and persimmon notes to the mix, along with added length and precision. The top wine, from arguably the appellation's grand cru-level vineyard, is the 2008 Condrieu Coteau de Vernon. The last to be bottled (just this past December), it's not as outwardly powerful as the awesome '05/'06/'07 trio, but the depth is there, with lush quince, dried pineapple, Jonagold apple and green fig flavors that are carried by very lively but integrated acidity. It's superlong on the finish, staying elegant all the way through, and could flirt with classic when it fully knits together.
"A vintage for 10 years," said Vernay matter-of-factly, who prefers her Viognier with some age on it.
The 2009 Viognier Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Le Pied de Samson will sit on its lees until it's bottled in May. It shows creamy-edged quince and peach flavors with a plump finish and should offer outstanding quality despite its basic Vin de Pays designation.
"In a vintage as dry and warm as 2009, the Vin de Pays wines on the plateau really benefited," said Vernay.
The 2009 Condrieu Les Terrasses de l'Empire feels as if it still has some sugar to digest, but the fermentation has stopped and it's dry.
"The fermentation was fast and easy, and the wine is really fat," said Vernay.
It's certainly weighty, with Cavaillon melon and ripe pear notes, but stays pure and elegant as the fruit is carried by a hint of fennel, and should rival the best vntages made at this estate. Vernay thought it too soon to show the 2009 Condrieu Les Chaillées de l'Enfer and 2009 Condrieu Côteau de Vernon, but the vintage is clearly impressive for this leading Condrieu domaine.
Tomorrow, more stops in Ampuis and Condrieu, including Rostaing, Cuilleron and Villard.
[You can now follow James Molesworth on Twitter, at http://twitter.com/jmolesworth1]
Hospice Du Rhone — San Luis Obispo, CA USA — March 12, 2010 11:20am ET
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