75cl * Vegan * 13% ABV * Northern Rhone, France
Condrieu is viewed as the benchmark for Viognier production due to its wines being so stunningly rich and complex. Etienne Guigal is famous for injecting energy and passion into the Côtes-Rotie and Condrieu appellations in the 1960s and has become one of the biggest and most important producers in the Rhône Valley as a result. The family motto of “No Pain No Gain” sounds more like a personal trainer’s mantra than a winemaker’s, but is a tribute to Etienne’s passion for an area that is incredibly punishing to work, but can produce some of the world’s greatest wines.
This wine is a rich and exotically perfumed Viognier, brimming with orange blossom, ripe stone fruit (white peach and apricot) finishing with just a touch of spice. Full-bodied and textural with a silky mouthfeel, this is best consumed within five years of the vintage, ideally served at 10C – 12C alongside something decadent enough to do justice to the wine, such as scallops, sashimi, lobster or scrambled eggs with truffles.
As a side note, the grapes for this wine are so precious that in 2015 a harvest crew for Guigal arrived at a Condrieu vineyard to pick their grapes and they found someone had already done part of the job! Quite a feat to steal roughly 1/3 of the fruit from such a steep vertigo-inducing vineyard the night before harvest. This meant that in 2015 Guigal could only produce four barrels of wine rather than the usual six!