If you follow the banks of the Rhône river, 30 km southern from Lyon, you would discover the the oldest wine house in the Rhône valley, still in operation. In the heart of the Côte-Rôtie vineyards, the Maison Vidal-Fleury was therefore founded in 1781 and has successfully survived several centuries thanks to the passionate work of winegrowers, who are deeply concerned about their vineyards since they both are traders and breeders, in the same time.
Now, let’s focus on another illustrious wine house… The Vidal-Fleury house was founded in 1781, and quickly acquired an international notoriety, even in the United States where the firm already settled in 1787, thanks to the former president Thomas Jefferson who visited the domain. Thus, even since this period, Vidal-Fleury has been considered as one of the most emblematic houses in Côte-Rôtie (photo credits: Vidal-Fleury).
It has also been regarded as the oldest Rhône Valley house still in operation, despite its vineyard was replanted at the end of the 19th century with American rootstocks after the phylloxera crisis. Indeed, Vidal-Fleury deliver a wide variety of wines, at the optimum of their potential.
If you wanna get further into Vidal-Fleury‘s philosophy, you would learn that the domain proposes a selection of the best local grapes, from the Rhône Valley. This exigency may become possible through a precise sorting and aging of those blends that make the reputation of this specific terroir.
In this amount of renowned wines, you should know that approximately 70% of their references are dedicated to exportation throughout the World, and notably beyond the borders of Europe, since the most important market seems to be the Northern America (with USA and Canada), along Northern Europe (aka the Benelux, Scandinavia and the UK), without forgetting Japan and China…
This splendid wine is aged on lees during 4 years in barrels and aged for six months in bottles.
In the southern side, you could enjoy one of these following appellations, which are Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Tavel, Cairanne, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Côtes-du-Rhône, Ventoux and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise. This announced wide range of wines offered by Vidal Fleury, is composed by red grapes, counting on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, and as well white ones, in terms of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Roussanne.
Spread on a total of 62 ha, which represents one of the most important vineyards in the northern Rhône Valley (including 35 ha of Côte-Rôtie, 12 ha of Condrieu, 11 ha of Saint-Joseph and 4 ha of Crozes-Hermitage).
As we should take an example, the territory of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation is spread through the plain of the Comtat Venaissin, on the left bank of the Rhône river and made up of vast terraces covered with red clay. This famous vineyard area owes its existence (and name) to the former pope Jean XXII, who a great wine enthusiast, who had his summer residence built here in Châteauneuf-du-Pape from 1318, naturally surrounded by beautiful olive trees and vines.
Thereafter, the development of the winery is operated in the 9,000m2 of this two-floor cellar. This space contains stainless steel vats and the proper conditions, notably for aging in barrels, with a stable temperature and humidity. So to say, perfect for the single stage and tangential filtration, which is a technique more respectful for wine and environment, and supported by a proper aging period.
Furthermore and since 2021, the cellar is managed by the expert Antoine Dupré, which after numerous experiences in various parts of the World, got tempted by a new challenge proposed by Vidal-Fleury, since he got quickly attached by this region, and especially by the diversity and richness of its different terroirs.
In a way, Vidal-Fleury embodies different facets from the Rhône Valley and is able to display the specificity of each of its different terroirs. Adding to this, you have to know that in their process, when you try a structured and lively wine like in a northern side, its aging takes place in barrels. And for rounder and more delicate wines, their vinification is generally rather done in casks or in vats.
“Our philosophy: the art of patience… No compromise, only quality matters”
Without forgetting the legendary Crozes-Hermitage appellation, renown as one of the prestigious crus from the northern Rhône Valley. Right there, the various grape varieties are represented by Syrah for red wines, Marsanne and Roussanne for white wines.
In another hand, the 2020 vintage of the white version of Crozes-Hermitage is rather young dry wine (able to be kept 5 years), adorned with a strong personality. Therefore, this juice offers a wide range of floral and fruity aromas. Developed without any malolactic fermentation, this wine is only composed of Marsanne, offering a very fresh nose, starring a first floral introduction, full of fruity notes of melon and pear, before a certain explosion of minerality and a hint of iodine accents. It’s recommended to serve it a temperature of 11°C, with fresh sea food.
The 2020 edition developed by Vidal-Fleury is a dry white wine, dedicated for short keeping (up to 4 years), recognizable by the freshness of its fruity aromas. Again composed of Marsanne variety, a fermentation with selected yeasts, has been operated in stainless steel vats. The result is an intense nose of white flowers, hazelnut and peach, preceding ample aromas of fresh almond, grapefruit and even a mineral note. A perfect nectar to associate with fishes and some cheese, such as Camembert, at a temperature of 11°C.
At last, we couldn’t miss their precious Condrieu wine selection, whose vineyards are located on the eastern edge of the Massif Central. Settled in the right bank of the Rhône Valley, where stands an extremely contrasting relief. By the way, those vines are clinging to the granite bedrock, covered with a thin layer of unstable sand-limestone soil, blown by some Mediterranean and mountainous climates, with a relatively regular rainfall pattern.