Chêne Bleu 2016 ViognierRegular price £32
Chêne Bleu is a family-owned estate making handcrafted wines in tiny quantities. No more than 600 cases is made of any one wine, and the 30 hectares of vineyard are isolated around 600m above sea level in the Dentelles de Montmirail, a protected mountain saddle. This is one of the highest altitude wine estates in the South of France, and the cool nights bring a touch of freshness and elegance to the rich concentration typical of Southern Rhône wines. The Viognier is from vines planted around 15 years ago and is both generous and precise - a beautifully balanced example of the grape.
Immediately creamy nose that is in harmony with the subtle but correct varietal character of Viognier. There's peach, apricot, even a touch of orange and spice and that creaminess to the aroma, and then the oak and the rich lees texture shows more on the palate. This is very good, the best vintage I have tasted of this wine. It is rich and rounded but fresh too, with the site showing as much as the variety. A long finish that is both mealy/savoury and fragrant. Very good. Not sure how this will age but I don't think there is any hurry to drink it.
17 pointsJulia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, 22/07/2018