Domaine Mouton Pere et Fils, Côte Chatillon

Domaine Mouton Pere et Fils, Côte Chatillon, 2016

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    Viognier 100%

This cuvée is harmonious and suave. Notes of yellow fruits, exotic fruits and flowers dominate on the first nose. Like great wines, the aromatic complexity increases with a little aeration.

The Côte Chatillon is both soft and massive, powerful and tender. The sweetness and woodiness that characterise it are embellished with more mineral notes, which help to form a beautiful, balanced whole.

About Domaine Mouton Pere et Fils

Jean Claude Mouton is a worthy representative of the new generation in the northern Rhône; who, despite the lofty location of his winery Domaine Mouton Pere et Fils, high above the mighty river, is still on an upward trajectory in terms of reputation.

He is fortunate, in this respect, in having two perfectly located vineyards in the steep granitic slopes of Côte Chatillon in Condrieu and the schistous terraces of the Côte Blonde above Ampuis in Côte-Rôtie; he makes benchmark wines in each appellation.

Generous barrel maturation in both cases allows the famous terroir a full and harmonious expression.

Grape variety

Viognier is a white wine grape variety. It is the only permitted grape for the French wine Condrieu in the Rhône Valley. Outside of the Rhône, Viognier can be found in regions of North and South America as well as Australia, New Zealand, the Cape Winelands in South Africa and Israel. In some wine regions, the variety is co-fermented with the red wine grape Syrah where it can contribute to the colour and bouquet of the wine.

Like Chardonnay, Viognier has the potential to produce full-bodied wines with a lush, soft character. In contrast to Chardonnay, the Viognier varietal has more natural aromatics that include notes of peach, pears, violets and minerality. However, these aromatic notes can be easily destroyed by too much exposure to oxygen which makes barrel fermentation a winemaking technique that requires a high level of skill on the part of any winemaker working with this variety. The potential quality of Viognier is also highly dependent on viticultural practices and climate with the grape requiring a long, warm growing season in order to fully ripen but not a climate that is so hot that the grape develops high levels of sugars and potential alcohol before its aromatic notes can develop. The grape is naturally a low yielding variety which can make it a less economically viable planting for some vineyards.

Viognier wines are well known for their floral aromas, and terpenes, which are also found in Muscat and Riesling wines. There are also many other powerful flower and fruit aromas which can be perceived in these wines depending on where they were grown, the weather conditions and how old the vines were. Although some of these wines, especially those from old vines and the late-harvest wines, are suitable for aging, most are intended to be consumed young. Viogniers more than three years old tend to lose many of the floral aromas that make this wine unique. Aging these wines will often yield a very crisp drinking wine which is almost completely flat in the nose. The colour and the aroma of the wine suggest a sweet wine but Viognier wines are predominantly dry, although sweet late-harvest dessert wines have been made. It is a grape with low acidity; it is sometimes used to soften wines made predominantly with the red Syrah grape. In addition to its softening qualities the grape also adds a colour-stabilizing agent and enhanced perfume to the red wine. In the Rhone region, the grapes normally are not affected by the fungus Botrytis cinerea though botrytized Viognier is not unheard of.

In winemaking, the grapes are often harvested early in the morning to produce the clearest juice possible. Some winemakers will allow contact with the skins. The skin of Viognier is high in phenols - compounds that can leave an astringent component to the wine if juice is left in contact with the skins for too long. Sometimes the wine is put through malolactic fermentation to give the wine more weight and to decrease acidity. In New World Viognier, the lees may be stirred in a process called batonnage in order to increase the smooth texture of the wine. The wine is then left on the lees till bottling in a manner similar to sparkling wine production.

In the creation of the dessert style Viognier, the grapes are often picked in late October or early November in the Northern Hemisphere. A common harvest technique used in the Condrieu is known as à l'assiette where a plate is held underneath a Viognier vine that is then shaken to allow the overripe grapes to drop onto the plate. Fermentation is then stopped early through the use of sulphur dioxide to allow the wine to retain a high level of residual sugar. The wine is then chilled and put through sterile filtration to ensure that the wine is stable and will not start fermenting again in the bottle.

Depending on the winemaking style the grape can often hit its peak at one-two years of age, though some can stay at high levels of quality up to ten years. Typically Condrieu wines are the Viogniers most often meant to be drunk young while Californian and Australian wines can handle age a little bit better.

About Condrieu

Condrieu is arguably the northern Rhône's most distinctive wine appellation. Created in 1940, it covers white wines made exclusively from Viognier. In contrast, its larger neighbours (Saint-Joseph, Crôzes-Hermitage and Côte Rôtie) specialize in robust reds made from Syrah.

Condrieu's whites strike an unusual balance between delicate perfume and substantial body. They are produced only in tiny quantities, and only in seven parishes. These are Limony, Chavanay, Malleval, Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône, Saint-Pierre-de-Bœuf, Verin and Condrieu itself.

Condrieu vineyards lie within in a nine-mile stretch of the Rhône Valley on a winding section of the Rhône River. The appellation name derives from a French phrase meaning 'corner of the stream'. They are typically placed on south- and south-east-facing granite slopes rising steeply from the riverbanks. This orientation enables the vines to obtain maximum warmth and sunlight in the cooler days of spring and autumn. This in turn results in ripe, flavourful wines.

Many of these slopes are far too steep to be accessible to tractors. Therefore they are harvested by hand, just as they were when grapes were first grown here about 2000 years ago. The best of them have topsoil made up of mixed chalk, flint and mica. Some believe this is responsible for the mineral aromas present in the finest Condrieu wines. The combination of these soils and the dry, warm climate of the area creates a valuable and distinctive terroir.

One drawback of these vineyard sites is that they are particularly exposed to the strong northerly winds that move up the Rhône. These can inflict significant damage to crops during the flowering period. The average yield here is famously low, which makes Condrieu wines not only rare but also quite expensive to produce.

Characterful Condrieu wines have enjoyed increasing popularity since the 1970s. In this time the Viognier grape has been brought back from the brink of extinction. In the early 1980s, there were just a few hectares of Viognier vineyard left in this area (and in fact anywhere on Earth).

There are now roughly 170 hectares (420 acres) exclusively devoted to Condrieu production. While this may still seem a tiny amount, it dwarfs the four hectares used by the Château-Grillet appellation. But to give this some further context, for every bottle of Condrieu produced, there are 10 of Crôzes-Hermitage.

In the decades since their renaissance, the wines of Condrieu have evolved stylistically. There has been a shift towards dry styles and away from the intense, sweet styles in which they were once made. Conveniently, this brings them towards a style better matched to the other appellation product made in this area, Rigotte de Condrieu goats' cheese.

In response to increasing consumer preferences for dry wine styles, sweet Condrieu wines are often now marked out by the phrase Selection des Grains Nobles. The aim of this change is firstly to bring greater clarity to consumers regarding wine styles. It also returns an element of exclusivity to the appellation's sweet wines.

Wines claiming the appellation title AOC Condrieu Selection des Grains Nobles must be produced from grapes harvested in multiple passes through the vineyard. Picking can begin no earlier than eight days after the standard harvest. Cryoextraction and chaptalisation are prohibited, although the rules do not prohibit passerillage sur souche. The latter is the process of leaving grapes on the vines to dry them out and concentrate their natural sugars and flavours.

Several Condrieu producers also make Viognier wines under the IGP Collines Rhodaniennes designation. These may be from vines outside the Condrieu zone, or possibly from younger vines within it. The wines tend to be fresher in style.

Regular price $603.00

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This is a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection. The wine is quoted as a price in S$ for purchase and transfer into a UK bonded warehouse. The purchase price is a duty/tax free price and does not include delivery to Singapore. Please contact us below if you wish to enquire delivery or storage options for a wine from our Overseas - In Bond Collection to Singapore or elsewhere.

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