The wine domain of Christophe Pichon offers his own vision from various Rhône Valley appellations6 min read
We start our Christophe Pichon tour in Condrieu, settled in this right bank of the Rhône river, and he vinifies among the most prestigious appellations in this generous region. Indeed, the Domaine Christophe Pichon is mainly implemented over this rich Condrieu territory, but also in Côte Rôtie, Saint-Joseph and even Cornas appellations. Without missing that a production of white and red table wine completes his production, and not only, because this estate as well contributes into the revival of historical wines of Seyssuel.
In this case, there should be no possibility of transmitting bad tastes. Thereafter, the process is always the same, by pressing the white grapes during 3 hours inside a pneumatic device, even for the Saint-Joseph appellation. Continuing on this green way, only indigenous yeasts are used, and a direct entonnage is settled for Condrieu, Saint-Joseph and local wines, in only few new barrels. After this, juice aging could last approximately between 10 and 12 months (photo credits: Christophe Pichon).
In another hand, discover their other cuvée from Condrieu, named Diapason which comes from northern plots cultivated in Seyssuel. Here, the first millesime was issued in 2015 and the last one from 2021 promises a certain aromatic intensity. This vintage is fully composed of Viognier grape variety (from around 15 years old vines), extracted from 2020‘s manual harvest in crates, with a fermentation and aging in barrels during approximately 9 months.
The result is a small production of only 1500 bottles, able to display an explicit fragrance from the opening, so typical from Viognier, cultivated in the northern part of the Rhône Valley. Furthermore, this wine both conceals notes of peach and apricot, but also eventually violet and almond according to other ones. Without missing a notable and subtle woodiness, able to bring a touch of complexity.. and minerality inside your palate. Ideal to pair with fishes, various gratins or just as an aperitif.
“The estate’s philosophy is to build wines on finesse and elegance… It was enough for our estate get oriented to vineyards from the left bank of the Rhône Valley… and find new inspiration” admits Christophe Pichon.
As another surprise, don’t miss the limited edition trio conveyed by the Condrieu 2021, aged in three different wooden barrels. Therefore, those wines were raised in Acacia, Chestnut, and Oak woods, and sold in a gift box of 3 bottles of 50cl each, a good occasion to taste the inner flavors of those gastronomic woods that perfectly match with the expression from Condrieu. For instance, be ready to appreciate the orange blossom and white floral notes emanating from Acacia tree, along hazelnut or almond plus some fresh minty accents for the expressive texture of the Chestnut version and even more fruity and spicy assets as apricot or peach for the elegant Oak bottle.
Fully made from Viognier grape variety, cultivated this time from vines from an average age of 35 years, you can be sure to get here a very exclusive selection to enjoy at some particular occasions.
Following this, don’t miss the 6.5 ha belonging to red Saint-Joseph and 2 ha related to white Saint Joseph. This colorful wedding is located on the right bank of the Rhône river, with these plots being based on homogeneous and essentially granitic soils. Structured by vines evolving on sloped planted terraces, those vineyards stand on a large scale age range, from 5 (notably in white juices) until the early 50 years old. This mixity probably explains the heterogeneity and richness of flavors, present inside the line of Saint-Joseph (mostly composed of 90% Marsanne and 10% Roussanne for the white wines and only Syrah varieties for the red wines), issued by this Domaine Christophe Pichon.
Adding to this, don’t miss the 5.9 ha extending on the Côte Rôtie, which is maybe one of the oldest vineyards in France, with an additional 1.3 ha of surface this year 2020, starring a southern exposition on hillsides. For your information, and depending on the location of the vineyards, a distinction needs to be made between the brown Côte Rôtie, which offers more full-bodied wines that age more slowly, and in another hand, the blonde Côte Rôtie side which proposes more delicate wines. It’s commonly known that Syrah is the main grape variety of this appellation, which is sometimes added by a touch of Viognier variety.
Adding to this, count on the 1 ha of Cornas appellation that should be mentioned through the acquisition of grapes, again evolving on a granite soil situated at the top and middle of the slopes. Those fruits mainly grow on plots located on the left bank of the Rhône river on schist soils. There, you could find a mix between 0.75 ha of Syrah, and 0.25 ha of Viognier.