2016 Stephane Ogier, Condrieu “La Combe de Malleval” Northern Rhone White, France.
The basic Condrieu from the legendary Stephane Ogier, known for his famous Cote-Rotie, is his La Combe de Malleval, a bottling of 100% Viognier from the steep granite (soil) slopes of this tiny region, it comes from a selection of sites with an average age of more than 25 years, and this 2016 is a textural beauty with wonderful vintage expression. This has been a terrific week for the Northern Rhone, the wines from here are just amazing in the last couple of vintages, especially these 2015 and 2016’s which show impressive density, but with great detail and fresh acidity, and Ogier has taken nature’s gift and released some amazing stuff, in particular this Condrieu, which for the price is an exceptional value. The opulent La Combe de Malleval reveals itself in the nose, there is no way this could be anything else, but Condrieu, with pretty honeysuckle, citrus blossom and crushed stones along with fleshy stone fruits leads the way adding a core of fresh picked apricot on the medium bodied leesy palate as well as hints of lemon curd, brioche, flinty spices, liquid mineral, saline, sweet and snappy herbs, delicate wood notes and beeswax. Classic flavors and gorgeous mouth feel highlight the quality, Ogier used these high density vines to near perfection, carefully sorting individual grapes and employing a gentile direct pressing with barrel fermentation in large 500L foudres (oak casks) then raised sur lie for 10 months before bottling. While ripe, the natural alcohol is about 13% or so, making for a graceful and pure wine, it gains impact with air showing some exotic and tropical elements while holding itself in fine focus throughout. Ogier made about 830 cases of this stuff, so it is not impossible to find as so many fine Condrieu(s) seem to be, imported by Domaine Select, so be sure to keep an eye out for this one, and drink over the next 5 to 10 years.
($49 Est.) 93 points, grapelive

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