Georges Vernay Chaillees d'Enfer 2017 Condrieu
The near-tragic history of Condrieu, from its origins as the favoured sweet wine of the Avignon Popes through to the closure of the local Condrieu wine market in 1950 and on to its revival in the 1980s along with Cote-Rotie, owes an enormous debt to the tireless work of Georges Vernay. At one point in the 1960s, only 8ha of viognier vines remained and the appellation was facing extinction, as no other grower recognised the potential of this singular terroir and hauntingly aromatic grape. Today the domaine is managed by his daughter Christine, herself a formidable winemaker.
The Les Chaillees d Enfer cuvee (The Terraces of Hell, referring to the back-breaking work of farming them) was first produced in 1992, and comes from a 0.08 ha parcel of vines called La Caille planted in 1957. It is sumptuously ripe, all clove-studded oranges, apricot confit, mirabelle jam and a whole orchard of delightful stone fruit, yet cut through with granite minerals and lingering long on the palate. A remarkable story, and history you can taste in the glass.