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Noble Rot

Noble Rôt
Filler Text The Janrode vineyards produces a Condrieu that often challenges the trade's expectations with higher acidity, mineral and stone aromas and aging potential of 5-10 years. The Janrode vineyard is sandwiched between the infamous Château-Grillet (the Rhône's smallest A.O.C) and the village of St-Michel-sur-Rhône, hugging the western bank of the Rhône between 20 and 150 meters above the water. If one stands at the very top and looks down, one can not see the base. For those that find pleasure in winter sports it is very much like standing on the edge of a face where you must trust the bottom is "somewhere" beyond sight down there.

-100% Chardonnay
-Harvest is usually late September to early October
-A.O.C. established 27 April 1940 with 104 HA in production

-Vines are 15 to 25 years old
-Extremely steep southeast facing slope
-Sandy soil of dark granite and decomposed black mica

Vintage Notes


Wines  The Janrode Condrieu is a brilliant yellow with hints of green. The bouquet offers elusive and tantalizing aromas of apricot, white peach and citrus plus fragrant violets and undertones of minerals and grass. Fresh and crisp on the palate with a supple and round body, long and haunting finish, these elegant yet complex wines pair will with seafood, strong (bleu) cheese and spicy Indian and Asian foods and will age for 5-10 years.

The view
Vineyards  The Janrode vineyards site on an exceptionally steep, southeasterly facing slope. It is planted with 100% Viognier and the vines are on average 20 years old are planted on terraces, oriented parallel to the slope with rows spaced about a half meter apart. With a slope of 53,%, the vineyard demands manual work, which includes harvesting with small baskets that are carried by hand up the steep vineyard slope to the road about where the trucks quickly take them to the winery.

Terroir  Located about 40 KM south of Lyon and a mere 3 KM south of Ampuis (the capital of Côte Rôtie), Condrieu sits on the steep hillside behind the village of its namesake. The name Condrieu is derived from coin de ruisseau, which literally means 'bed in the stream.' It is here that the Rhône takes a large but gentle turn, which provides the finest vineyards with superb south-southeasterly expose on the hillside above the cold waters of the Rhône.

The French call the sandy soil arzelle and firmly believe it is a prerequisite for growing quintessential Condrieu. The crumbly soil is a mixture of decomposed granite, mica, shist and clay. In the Janrode vineyard, the arzelle is is a much darker gray because the mixture includes dark granite and decomposed black mica leading the wine to have greater acidity.

The windy mesoclimate combined with the southeasterly exposure provide the perfect balance to mother nature. Viognier, which is unpredictable at the best of times, is prone to powdery mildew. The Northern Rhône is infamous for heavy rains and the harsh northern winds of le mistral. Here, the wind ventilates the slope, keeping the vines naturally healthy and free from pests and mildew while the southeasterly exposure shelters the vines during flowering from the most powerful gusts of le mistral.

History  Condrieu has a long and disputed history with scarce and often contradictory documentation. On the one hand, many historians argue that Viognier (along with Syrah) was brought up the Rhône by Greek sailors between 600 and 400 B.C. But other, including locals to Condrieu who can trace their ancestry nearly back to the Romans, firmly believe it was the Romans, under Probus, who "imported" Viognier from Dalmatia during the 3rd century. Regardless, the first written account of Condreiu dates much later to 960 A.D. and in 1450 the people of Condrieu became citizens of the jurisdiction of Lyon and thus allowed to sell their wines in Lyon.

Still, Viognier remained a local's wine until the late 1800s when there was an increase in the plantings throughout France. But for Condrieu, the difficulty agricultural conditions, higher paying alternative fruit more suited for the terrain, industrial development during the first half of the 20th century and two wars nearly wiped it off the wine region's map. By 1968 there were only 14HA in production. Thankfully by the late 1970s the region was following it's neighbor Côte Rôtie, into a renaissance period where plantings dramatically increase to the point that the A.O.C. had to begin controlling yields. Today there are approximately 104 with A.O.C. status in production.


Noble Rôt 2001

2001 was a great year. The growing season started late with late bud break and a very cool June. July and August were optimum...

Éric's Notes - This was the text book year for Brézème. I expect the wine to age gracefully for at least 15 years. Optimum drinking should start in 2007.


Residual Sugar: Dry (0.06%)
Total Acid: 0.57%
Alcohol: 14.3% by volume
Final pH: 3.74


Blend: 100% Syrah
Harvest Date: 1 - 3 October
Suggested Aging: 2 to 15 year
1000 Cases Produced


© 2003 Éric Texier