2016 Yves Cuilleron, Condrieu “La Petite Cote” Northern Rhone, France.
The 2016 whites from Yves Cuilleron are just spectacular with his lieu-dit Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage blancs really impressing me, but you can’t miss his Condrieu La Petite Cote 2016, this is just as good as it gets for Viognier and a wine of such inner and out beauty it’s almost ridiculous how good it is at this stage! To say this wine has perfume is silly (as an understatement), but it’s the complexity and textural pleasure that stands out even more with a exceptional mineral core that keeps your attention peaked and focused throughout. Beautiful detailing and fine balance grace this gorgeous Condrieu and remind you why this place is Viognier’s holy grail, there’s nothing close to a flaw to be found here, it’s really close to perfection with a heavenly weightless quality, which is lovely for a ripe 14% wine, while still showing opulent substance, it’s a beguiling white of amazing class and terroir character. The layers of the 2016 La Petite Cote come in a stylish cascade of layers with a rush of honeysuckle, liquid mineral, crushed stones, apricot and white licorice/fennel leading the way on the smooth refined palate that is almost like clarified cream without being heavy, it possesses graceful leesy mouth feel and glycerin, but has energy and vigor as well with steely crisp integrity throughout. A subtle tropical note along with a touch of flinty spice and saline elements add to the whole as well as vitality, through some fine citrus notes add lift. This is as pure as it gets, I was completely seduced by this beauty, words do not begin to due it justice, it’s a wine you need to experience yourself, make it happen, it will certainly reward you. Cuilleron is making some of the greatest wines of his career, both red and white, especially in these last two vintages, and this Condrieu is one of his most exotic to date, the vineyards for this Viognier are planted on terraces with a warm south-southeast exposure , near Chavanay, on muscovite-rich granite soils, Yves barrel-fermented and barrel aged the La Petite Cote with indigenous yeasts and sur lie elevage for nine months with regular batonnage (lees stirring) which adds to the lush decadence and presence in the glass.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive

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