Crosswords and Condrieu


The Condrieu we tasted this evening was a powerful wine. We realised this when we started to struggle over the crossword after completing half of it at a good lick. Suddenly, the fine decoding of cryptic clues  seemed laboured. So, we gave up and devoted the next twenty minutes to just enjoying the wine.

Richard had bought this 2009 Condrieu (Coteau de Chery Dom Andre Perret) en primeur from the Wine Society as a case of three wines for approximately £30 each. [Richard: think I asked for 6 but demand was high as 2009 was trumpeted as a great vintage]. The colour was a strong lemon-yellow with a very slight green tinge, clear and very bright. The nose was so slight as to confuse my guessing the region and grape variety but it did open up slightly in the glass. This dumbness of the nose is interesting as the Viognier grape is usually more assertively perfumed, this most certainly wasn’t.

However, the palate was very complex. Words such as full, rich, oily, voluptuous were all bandied about and it still had a slight welcome acidity to keep us interested in another sip. Both of us agreed on its incredible length, the flavours just kept on coming. We did not notice the ABV at first but did recognise a certain heat at the end – evidence of the alcohol which the label proclaimed at 15%. No wonder the crossword suddenly got difficult. This was a wine to respect, a lovely glass that could be enjoyed solo but not one to swig back.

2009 has been described as a ‘sun-drenched vintage’ in the Rhone, producing red wines that could be laid down for some years. We didn’t think that this white wine would improve much more and at five years old was at its peak. Reference books state a four year maximum drinking window, after that the wines start fading. This was not fading – but we would have, had we drunk more.


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