Delas Freres Condrieu ‘La Galopine’
August 29, 2018, James Suckling
“The depth and punchy structure is impressive here. Aromas are very much in the apricot and peach zone with lightly spiced pastry. The palate is smooth, bright and juicy with a bold array of ripe-apricot flavors. Barrel sample.”
On the right or west bank of the Rhône adjacent to the vineyards of Côte-Rôtie, the Condrieu area is one of the world‘s most elite. The steep vineyards are difficult to cultivate, and as a result only 50 acres in Condrieu are currently under vine. Here, Delas controls a small hillside vineyard in the Vérin area planted exclusively to Viognier. Soils are granite-based with a fine topsoil of decomposed mica that washes away easily. The Viognier is finicky with low yields (about 1.5 tons/acre), yet the limited quantities of wine it produces can be exquisite.
The climate is moderately continental, hot and dry in summer, regular rainfalls during the other seasons. The vineyard has often been a victim of history and almost disappeared on several occasions, during the barbarian invasions, in the days of the “Grandes Compagnies” (in the 17th and 18th centuries) and, more recently, at the end of the 19th century, with the phylloxera infestation. Well before the modern period, the trading port of Condrieu and its river fleet carried the reputation of its wines far and wide
After hand-picking, the grapes travel to the winery in small boxes. Gentle pressing produces a must that is fermented at low temperatures 61-64°F (16 to 18°C) within temperature controlled vats in order to make the most of the complex aromas of the Viognier variety. Each year, a variable part of the crop is fermented (20% max.) in new oak casks.
The color is a straw yellow, with green tinges. This Condrieu has layers of amazingly powerful and complex aromas: violets, apricots, peaches, honey and dried fruit. On the palate, these exuberant flavors are rich, powerful, and highly seductive, with an unctuous texture and a mass of exotic fruit on the finish.
Varietals: 100% Viognier
Suggested Retail Price: $68.00