Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Condrieu, distinctive and fashionable white wine made in minuscule quantities in the northern rhône. It is made exclusively from the viognier grape, whose successful wines manage the unusual combination of a pronounced yet elusive perfume with substantial body. The recent wave of Viognier planting all over the world was originally inspired by enthusiasm for Condrieu.

This small appellation encompasses seven right-bank communes (which happen to span three départements, the Rhône, Loire, and Ardèche) just south of the red wine appellation côte rôtie where the river turns a bend and the best vineyards are exposed to the south (see map under rhône). The vine has probably been cultivated here for two millennia, since nearby Vienne was an important Roman city, although the total Condrieu vignoble fell to fewer than 10 ha/25 acres in the 1960s, when the wine was virtually unknown outside local restaurants, and when other fruit crops were much more profitable.