2012 Domaine Marie-Paule Dumazet, Cuvée Rouelle Midi, Condrieu, $60
Winery info: A long-established, family-owned winery in the small appellation of Condrieu, in the northern Rhône Valley. The family planted its first vines in 1860 and continue to work all their vineyards by hand, using no chemical treatments. Condrieu is renowned for its white wines made from 100% Viognier. The wines are typically powerful, aromatic, and expensive, given the limited size of the region, the steep vineyards, and the fact that Viognier is a difficult grape to grow and vinify well. Made by the highly respected Pierre Dumazet, who has been called “an artist of Viognier.”
Grapes: 100% Viognier
Vineyard: A single site on steep, south-facing slopes with sandy granite soils. Fermented in 225-liter French oak barrels and aged 12 months on lees with regular stirring.
Flavor Profile: Elegant and expressive, with rich depth and complexity and balancing minerality
Availability: There is a tiny bit of this vintage left.
Drinkability: Condrieu is not a wine meant for aging. Drink this one any time.
Food Pairing: Seafood, especially halibut, lobster, or sea bass, white meat dishes, chicken.
2008 Vignalta, Gemola Colli Euganei Rosso, $42
Winery info: Vignalta was founded in 1980 by Lucio Gomiero in the Colli Euganei, a group of hills of volcanic origin on the Venetian plain in northern Italy. Lucio had always loved the Right Bank red wines of Bordeaux. The Colli Euganei lies at roughly the same latitude as Bordeaux and the same grapes thrive in that Italian location as well. Thus Lucio was inspired to produce his own stunning wines from Bordeaux grapes. Gemola means “little jewel” and is their flagship wine.
Grapes: Typically a 70/30 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, from vines averaging about 22 years in age. Aged in new French oak for at least two years, followed by 12 months in bottle before release.
Vineyard: From their Mount Gemola vineyard, formed by volcanic eruptions over 30 million years ago. The vineyard has a south/southeast exposure and soils of fractured volcanic rock.
Flavor Profile: Very elegant and well-structured, with dark red fruit and spice flavors and earthy forest notes. The highly respected Italian wine guide, Gambero Rosso, calls it “a thrilling wine.”
Availability: Produced only in good years. 2008 was an excellent vintage, but there was not a big crop that year, so this one was very limited and is long gone.
Drinkability: Drinking beautifully now.
Food Pairing: This one calls for a hearty meat-based dish or charcuterie. Think osso bucco or braised meats.