2018 Delas Condrieu Clos Boucher
Wine Details for 2018 Delas Condrieu Clos Boucher
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: Rhone wines come from southern France, where a wide variety of grapes are cultivated. Some of the most commonly used varietals within this region are Syrah, Grenache Noir, Carignan, and Cinsaut for red wines, while white blends are typically based on Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Carignan Blanc, Grenache Blanc and others.
: Northern Rhone is home to some of the most hedonistic wines in the world, which can be greatly credited to the mighty Syrah grape. However, the white grapes of the region produce wines just as dizzyingly spectacular and pleasure-inducing as the reds. They may be overshadowed and overlooked, but not to be underestimated. One such grape is Viognier, which hails from, arguably, the Northern Rhone’s most distinctive wine appellation, Condrieu.
The appellation of Condrieu was officially created in 1940; it has since been exclusively devoted to the Viognier grape. However, the cradle of Viognier had enjoyed the presence of this mighty white for many centuries prior to its formation. The first historical reference of Viognier was mentioned in the same breath as the Condrieu region in 1781, in Barthelemy Faujas de Saint-Fonds’ Histoire Naturelle de la Province de Dauphine, in which it was written as “Vionnier.” It is likely much older and is speculated to have arrived to France during the time of the ancient Romans. Nonetheless, the varietal enjoyed great fame and success in Northern Rhone up until middle of the 20th century when it nearly faced extinction. With only 8 hectares remaining in the region (and the world) Viognier was slowly revived by devotees and advocates of the varietal and its fortunes have been reversed with greater regional, national and international plantings.
Since its renaissance in the 1970s, the Viognier grape and the wines of Condrieu have gained increasing popularity among consumers and growers alike. Today, Viognier represents nearly 5,500 hectares of vines in France. It has traveled beyond its borders and is distributed among many localities in Northern Rhone, such as the neighboring hillsides of Chateau Grillet, Ampuis and Cote Rotie. It is also gaining traction for its success in Southern Rhone and the Languedoc. Some successful plantings have taken root in the soils of South Africa, Australia and California; however, the grape is fussy and needs great care and attention for it to prosper.
Viognier is known to be unforgiving and difficult to manage in the vineyards; it is hard to cultivate and not naturally inclined to producing healthy, reliable yields. The thick-skinned, white and amber colored grapes are mid to late ripening and have naturally low acidity which require a great deal of sunshine to ripen properly. It is quite sensitive to heat; too much direct sunlight can yield overblown, hotly alcoholic wines which lack the grape’s true characteristics. Despite its difficulties, the grape reaches its true zenith in the hilly terrain and terroir of Condrieu, which is comprised of limestone, mica, schist and granite soils.
The wines produced from Viognier are deep golden in color, with an unmistakable, heady aroma of apricots, peaches and honeysuckle. Some wines take on herbal notes of chamomile, lavender, thyme and pine, depending on the location in which it is cultivated. When Viognier is crafted into sweeter styles, the hallmark aromas are softened and infiltrated by honeyed notes. On the palate the wines can range from light and spritzy to the oaked versions of rich and creamy flavor and texture, with a highly viscous mouth-feel.
Viognier is king of Condrieu, its stronghold; it has greatly influence winemaking in the Rhone Valley and is now being internationally cultivated. It may still need an introduction to a majority of consumers; though, pleasure seekers are probably well aware of the grape’s hedonistic qualities. Viognier has come back from the brink of extinction and today is considered to be one of the most distinctive, seductive and unforgettable varieties in the world.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds
As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JD
Green-hued straw-gold. An expansive bouquet evokes ripe citrus and pit fruits, violet and honey, joined by emerging mineral and ginger flourishes. Juicy and deeply concentrated but energetic as well, offering pear nectar, Meyer lemon and floral flavors that show sharp definition. The mineral and floral notes carry emphatically through the strikingly long, penetrating finish, which leaves a suave floral note behind.
Vinous Media | 95 VM
While the 2018 Condrieu Clos Boucher isn’t the most dramatically perfumed Condrieu, it’s dramatic and opulent, loaded with honeyed apricot, peach and pineapple fruit. Full-bodied and rich, it nonetheless finishes with admirable energy, gingery spice and a lingering, crushed-stone note. Drink it over the next few years. Tasted twice (once blind), with consistent notes.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RP
Ripe and showy, with nectarine, green plum and apricot flavors bouncing off each other, allied to a lush and creamy texture as they move through the anise-tinged finish. Wonderfully exotic.
Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Whiffs of spring blossoms and freshly laundered linen entice on the nose of this opulent but freshly balanced white. It’s a luscious, enveloping sip that floods the palate in swirls of sweet cream, honey and spice. The finish is a touch sappy in its youth but should meld out over the next decade. Enjoy now for its bold fruit and floral tones, or wait till 2028.
Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE
This has a very attractive, fresh and smooth delivery of ripe apricots and peaches with a whiff of gingerbread. The palate has rich, smooth and fluid texture. Suave with plenty of ripe apricots. Drink now.
James Suckling | 92 JS
(Condrieu “Clos Boucher”- Delas Frères) The single vineyard Condrieu bottling of Clos Boucher from Delas hails from a south-facing vineyard that lies adjacent to Château Grillet. The wine is entirely barrel-fermented and only produced by Delas in vintages they deem exceptional. The 2018 Clos Boucher tips the scales also at an even fourteen percent alcohol and offers up a lovely, youthful bouquet of pear, passion fruit, a touch of tangerine, beautiful minerality, almond, acacia blossoms and a quite refined framing of vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very elegant in profile, with a lovely core, fine soil signature and grip, fairly gentle acids (in the style of the vintage) and a long, complex and beautifully balanced finish. This is so well-balanced that it may end up keeping longer in bottle than I anticipate, but it has the fairly moderate acidity of 2018 and will probably drink at its finest in its relative youth. (Drink between 2021-2030)
John Gilman | 92 JG