Lionel Faury Condrieu 2020
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While Viognier’s exact origin is unknown, its spiritual home is undoubtedly the Condrieu appellation, where it is the only permitted variety. Condrieu is a southward extension of the steep slopes of Côte-Rôtie, where Syrah reigns supreme, running roughly from Ampuis to Limony, made up of soils of decomposed granite. Quality growers brought the variety back from virtual extinction, with total acreage increasing from roughly 20 acres in 1965 to over 350 acres. Today, there are over 2,400 acres of Viognier planted throughout the Rhône Valley and around 39,500 acres planted worldwide. If you like richer styles of Chardonnay, Viognier will be right up your alley, though it has more of an aromatic presence—think peaches and white flowers. It is sometimes oaked as well.
Lionel Faury took over his estate from his father, Philippe, in 2006 at the age of 23. He lowered the percentage of new oak barrels used for aging his Condrieu and even introduced some large format Acacia barrels—all in an effort to preserve purity in the finished wine. He also completely eliminated the practice of bâtonnage, or stirring of the wine during the aging process, since he felt it unnecessary to add richness to the wine. The end result is a wine that captures well the
richness of Viognier without heaviness. In that all of his wines tend toward elegance and harmony over brashness, they don’t always get the attention they deserve. - Brian Acton