Condrieu La Doriane 2020
Condrieu is the ancestral home of the Viognier vine and is the source of one of the world’s most exotic white wines. In the mid-20th century, only 20 acres of Viognier remained in Condrieu, leaving the grape and the appellation in serious jeopardy. Guigal was instrumental in bringing this appellation back from near extinction, and today supplements the grapes from their own vineyards with grapes purchased from numerous small growers, ultimately vinifying nearly one-third of the entire appellation.
La Doriane is a luxury cuvée of Condrieu that the Guigals have produced since the 1994 vintage. A great success since the first vintage, the wine always seems richly oaked and very fruity when young, transforming in 3-4 years into a seamlessly complex, aromatic and vibrant wine. La Doriane contradicts the accepted wisdom that Condrieu does not age well.
The tiny, parcelated appellation (500 acres total) is located on steep granite hillsides beginning at a bend in the Rhône river just south of Côte Rôtie and continuing intermittently about 12 miles further south. The granite hillsides have sand intermixed in their soils, and the vines for this wine average around 30 years of age, and only produce around 2.4 tons of fruit per acre.
The Viognier grapes for this wine are sourced from some of the finest sites in the appellation, including Côtes Chatillon, a steeply terraced vineyard overlooking the town of Condrieu itself. The other vineyards are Coteaux de Chery and Colombier, situated further south, and Château Volan – an exceptionally steep, south-facing vineyard near the town of Malleval.
This 100% Viognier wine is fermented and aged in 100% new oak barriques for 12 months, with a higher level of fine lees included in the fermenting must to help the wine integrate the oak character more completely. It undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation as well.
2020 was another drought year in the Northern Rhône, with a warmer than average winter and early budbreak, and despite some rain during this time, the rainfall total for the North was the lowest in 30 or more years. The heat continued through the summer, but without the spikes seen in 2019, and the maturation and development of the crop was even, if rather early. Harvest in Condrieu commenced on August 26th and was finished on September 12th. The Viognier fruit was clean and concentrated, and the resulting wines are rich yet balanced, with excellent acidity and freshness, and perfect ripeness. A vintage to enjoy both early and in a few years’ time!
Brilliant clear pale golden yellow in color. This wine shows intensely powerful and elegant aromas of white flowers, apricot and white peaches. The palate is immediately fresh, with round, rich and full notes that are expressive of the terroir. Overall, this is a wine of great finesse and freshness; a pleasant light acidity with well balanced fleshy fruit.
Guigal performs several green harvests during the growing season in these vineyards to keep yields exceptionally low.
Suggested Retail Price
James Suckling - February 9, 2022 "What a fascinatingly smoky and flinty nose this Condrieu has! I love the touches of vanilla bean, mandarin orange peel and jasmine that emerge as you swirl the glass. It masters a remarkable balance on the expansive and subtle palate, a hint of bitterness helping to balance the softness and creaminess of the long finish." - J.S 2/22
Jeb Dunnuck - April 5, 2022 "Just about pure perfection and one of the finest Condrieu to pass my lips, the 2020 Condrieu La Doriane offers an insane bouquet of grilled pineapple, charcoal, crushed stone, acacia flowers, and white peach. It picks up an incredibly sense of salinity on the palate and is full-bodied, has blockbuster concentration, remarkable purity and focus, and a great finish. I like this beast/beauty today, but it will keep for a decade." - J.D 2/22
Wine Advocate - April 5, 2022 "While the 2020 Condrieu la Doriane matured entirely in new oak, there's just a hint of toast on the nose. The rest of the bouquet features a kaleidoscopic swirl of floral and spice notes with melon and white peach. Medium to full-bodied, it's exquisitely expansive and silky in texture, yet it remains refreshing on the lengthy, mouthwatering finish." - J.C 2/22
Other Wines by this Producer
Given that this particular wine can be the introduction to the entire Rhône Valley for a drinker, as well as the position they occupy in the Rhône, it is not enough for the Guigals to make a good Côtes du Rhône. They are relentlessly driven to produce a distinctive and outstanding wine that drives interest in exploring the entirety of the Rhône.
Guigal’s Côtes du Rhône Blanc both sets and steps outside the standard for the appellation and showcases one of the great secrets of the Guigal family: their specialization in the great white Rhône varieties. While only 8% of the Rhône’s production is white, a full 25% of Guigal’s production is white and they are today the single largest producer of whites in the Rhône Valley.
The Guigal family has made serious dry rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also serious and satisfying. While this Rosé is always a lovely aperitif, its intensity and richness make it perfect for the table, and it pairs well with all manner of cuisines. And starting with the 2020 vintage, the wine has a stunning new proprietary bottle: a subtle enhancement for an already elegant wine!
Guigal’s Vignes de l’Hospice is one of the finest sites in the Northern Rhone Valley. This steeply terraced vineyard used to be divided into three, but Guigal now owns majority of this parcel in order to restore perception of Saint-Joseph as an appellation of utmost quality. In fact, Guigal is often asked when they will produce a fourth “LaLa,” and their response is that their fourth single vineyard phenomenon of the Northern Rhone is already being produced: the Vignes de l’Hospice.
A result of its quality, Guigal’s Saint-Joseph Lieu Dit Rouge comes from the “Saint-Joseph” vineyard that gives the appellation its name. This site convinced the Guigals to work in Saint-Joseph and help to restore the historic perception of Saint-Joseph as an appellation of utmost quality. The 100% Syrah wine has complex and deep black fruit, floral, spice and mineral characteristics. Despite its concentration and powerful attack, the wine retains the trademark elegance that Saint-Joseph offers.
A result of its quality, Guigal’s Saint-Joseph Blanc Lieu Dit comes from the “Saint-Joseph” vineyard that gives the appellation its name. This site convinced the Guigals to work in Saint-Joseph and help to restore the historic perception of Saint-Joseph as an appellation of utmost quality. Saint-Joseph Blanc is a serious wine, with weight and complexity, and is deeply reflective of its vineyard sites. A seamless balance of freshness and fruitiness, pleasure and interest, and flavors and structure. Guigal’s specialty in whites is especially evident in this wine, as it is almost a deceptively serious wine.
Ermitage Ex-Voto represents the fulfillment of a longtime dream of Marcel Guigal’s to own vineyard land on the hill of Hermitage. Through the purchase of the de Vallouit and J. L. Grippat domaines in
2000, Guigal acquired four exceptional vineyard parcels on this legendary site. The 2001 vintage was the first release of this estate-bottled Hermitage red and white. The quality of the intense old-vine fruit is quite special, but given the Guigal’s already strong work in Hermitage, they decided to only release an Ex-Voto red or white when the wine is utterly exceptional and clearly superior to their appellation bottlings.
Ermitage Ex-Voto represents the fulfillment of a longtime dream of Marcel Guigal’s to own vineyard land on the hill of Hermitage. Through the purchase of the de Vallouit and J. L. Grippat domaines in 2000, Guigal acquired four exceptional vineyard parcels on this legendary site. The 2001 vintage was the first release of this estate-bottled Hermitage red and white. The quality of the intense old-vine fruit is quite special, but given the Guigal’s already strong work in Hermitage, they decided to only release an Ex-Voto red or white when the wine is utterly exceptional and clearly superior to their appellation bottlings.
Guigal produces an intensely concentrated, inviting and complex Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is almost unique to the region today. Their passion for Châteauneuf, the leading appellation of the Southern Rhône, runs as deeply as that for their home sites in the Northern Rhône. The combination of working with top fruit that has perfect ripeness, along with their extraordinary patience in the cellar, results in rich and full, yet savory, spicy, seamless and balanced wines. Wines to enjoy immediately but capable of aging, and, above all, wines that leave you wanting more.