All my thoughts about Rita Hayworth in Gilda and a red wine sexy enough to even be in the same room as her got me thinking about what white wine could be in the same discussion. The answer is: Condrieu. It is the purest expression of Viognier and it makes you wonder why any other place on earth bothers to attempt to make wine from this grape.
Last night I had the wines of Vins de Vienne, a rock star collarboration between some of the biggest names in the Northen Rhone and Condrieu, specifically: Cuilleron, Villard, Gaillard, and Villa. We started with a 80% Marsanne/20% Roussanne, the Saint-Peray. A very elegant and pretty wine; fantastic with chilled prawns and mayo. This would also be a killer white for Thanksgiving.
The Condrieu was next and it was a knock-out. Wow! Richness and weight, yet balanced and not overblown. A wine to savor and linger over. This is the gold standard for Viognier.
We finished up with the Crozes-Hermitage, which is a 100% Syrah notable for it’s elegance, lightness, and low alcohol. Delightful; it was the anti-Aussie.
Note: I do not recall the vintages of these wines but they were all current releases. Also I am not sure if we had the (ahem) “regular” Condrieu or the La Chambee.