Domaine Vernay 2016 "Le Pied de Samson" Viognier, VDP des Collines Rhodanienne, Rhône Valley
This historic estate sits in the heart of the Northern Rhone, known most famously for the family's preservation of the Viognier grape, and the proliferation of world-class white wines from the area. Today, the third generation of Vernay leads the estate; Christine has maintained the elegance and complexity of the white wines that have made the family world-famous, but has also brought further acclaim to the Domaine with the production of her Syrah-based red wines.
Winemaker/Chef du Cave: Christine Vernay
Grape Varieties: 100% Viognier
Terroir: The vines of Domaine Georges Vernay are located above the hillsides of Condrieu. Originally considered a part of the appellation of Condrieu, due to their altitude being over 300m above sea level they are no longer permitted. The vineyards are maintained in the traditional manner with all treatments made using organic products. Soils consist of mica, schist, granite and clay.
Vinification/Oak Usage: Pressing made directly after harvest is completed, upon reception at the cellar. Fermentation then takes place of clear juice in oak vats after static, temperature controlled must settling. The fermentation itself takes between 3 to 4 weeks. Élevage in oak vats of 20hl on fine lees
In 1940, the appellation was officially created thanks in large part to the help and efforts of Francis Vernay. In later years, his son George would play a key role in restricting the geographical boundaries of Condrieu to include only the best hillside vineyards, even robbing himself of the appellation for some of his vineyards on the plateau above. Domaine Georges Vernay came to be regarded as one of the reference standards in Condrieu for decades with George at the helm, but when he retired in the early 1990s there was uncertainty as to this famous domaine’s future. Finally, after a few years adrift, George’s daughter Christine returned home in 1997 to assume control and under her the domaine has flourished even more. She has brought an even greater level of refinement to the wines and has also brought more focus on the estate’s reds bringing them up to a world class level.
This wine takes its name “Le pied de Samson” ‘Samson’s foot’ from regional folklore, which tells of a giant, Samson who with one foot on either bank of the river Rhône bent down to drink from the river and quench his thirst. One of these giant footprints remains today and is situated just a stone’s throw from the Vernay estate. This cuvée presents the viognier in its original form, with expressions of indulgent fruits and freshness.