Our tasting impressions
Viognier has remarkable floral aromas and fruit flavors that range from yellow stone fruits to almost tropical. So, the late harvest succeeds in amping up all of those and taking you on a wild and exotic ride. This is sweet but has sufficient acidity to keep everything on a pleasant keel. I expect it will develop over time but it truly is delicious right now! Certainly a special and uncommon treat.
About this wine
100% late-harvest Viognier from 20+ year old vines on south-facing granite slopes and southeast facing granite terraces. The soil in this plot is extremely shallow - on 50 to 75cm above the rock. This forces the roots very deep for nutrients and water. Yields are just 20 hl/ha. Aged in 228 liter oak barrels. The barrels are given low fills to increase oxygenation. It is only produced in vintages when the grapes achieve botrytis.
About the grape
Viognier is a relatively low acid, higher alcohol grape that can provide a full wine with delicate flavors. Usually very floral and often displaying tropical fruit flavors. The wines generally are intended for early consumption when the fruit is freshest, but the Pichons treated us to a tasting of several older vintages of their Condrieu and two out of three were interesting and enjoyable despite the vines being very young when they were produced. Just be prepared for a very different experience featuring musk and oxidative notes.
About the vintage
The winter was wet, the spring was uneventful and the summer was very warm. 2018 is a bit of a blend of the prior 2 vintages - big and rich like 2017 (alcohol levels were generally significantly higher in '18) with the acidity of 2016. So, despite their heft, wines tend to have better balance than '17. Pichon considers it a great vintage.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté
The Pichon family is a growing force in the Northern Rhône region. Corentin, the eldest of the six children of Isabelle and Christophe, is a young, talented, 3rd generation winemaker. But this is every bit the family business as all of his 5 siblings are involved, along with Corentin's partner and mom and dad.
Based in Chavanay, the Pichons produce wines of elegance and finesse in a variety of appellations spanning more than 20 hectares. Chemical treatment of the mostly Syrah and Viognier vineyards is kept to a bare minimum. In addition to those from their own vines, they also purchase grapes for other wines.
VDLT has been visiting the Pichons for many years and is proud to include them as a foundation of the portfolio.