Maison Brotte Versant Dore Condrieu 2020
Located in Châteauneuf-du-Pape since 1931, the Brotte family own 3 exceptional estates in the Southern Rhone Valley. Here, Grenache is king and flourishes with its expressive fruit and is masterfully blended with Syrah and Mourvedre to add freshness and structure. Focused on protecting the environment, all Brotte Family estates are certified Sustainable by the Terra Vitis organization. As well as estate-grown wines, Maison Brotte collaborates with other growers to produce top quality wines from other appellations, including Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, Gigondas and Côtes de Provence. Their entire portfolio is consistently highly rated by the industries top publications and always reliable.
As the source of some of the most vibrant and powerful white wines in France, Condrieu is uniquely situated in one of the northern outposts of the Rhone River. It is the original Viognier appellation with a wine growing history reaching back well over two thousand years. Like most of the wine regions of the Northern Rhone, Condrieu’s vines grow on extremely steep and narrow granite terraces. But what makes the region unique is a topsoil, locally called, “arzelle,” made of decomposed mica. This and a sheltering of the harsh northern winds, make optimal sites to produce opulent and brilliant Viognier. It is a tiny zone with no room for expansion and produces miniscule amounts of wine each year, contributing to its allure.
A fine Condrieu will have aromas and flavors suggestive of ripe stone fruit, lime peel, green almond, ginger, white flowers and toasted nuts. A honeyed smell may mislead you to think the wine will be sweet but the modern style favors totally dry on the palate. Its texture will be full and soft but a touch of mineral will provide great balance.
Full-figured and charmingly floral, Viognier is one of the most important white grapes of the northern Rhône where it is used both to produce single varietal wines and as an important blending grape. Look for great New World examples from California, Oregon, Washington and cooler parts of Australia. Somm Secret—Viognier plays a surprisingly important role in the red wines of Côte Rôtie in the northern Rhône. About 5% Viognier is typically co-fermented with the Syrah in order to stabilize the color, and as an added benefit, add a subtle perfume.