This year's Decanter World Wine Awards Regional Trophy for White Rhône over £15 went to Domaine du Chêne, Condrieu 2012 (13.5%)
- Domaine des Sénéchaux, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012
Dominique and Marc Rouvière are the couple behind Domaine du Chêne. Marc was once owner of a wine shop in Lyon, while Dominique was a postwoman. In 1985 they bought a 5.5-hectare property in the Côtes du Rhône, renovated the rundown house and began their new life as winemakers. In 2012 they were joined by their children, Anaïs and Julien, who had been studying winemaking in New Zealand and California. Together with three other employees, they now produce 80,000 bottles of a year, although the Condrieu accounts for only 17,000.
The domaine has a clear goal in mind when making its Condrieu. The wine must represent all the complexity Viognier has to offer: elegant, aromatic, full of fruits such as apricot; but bitter too, with classic almond notes. The grapes are manually harvested from sun-baked, hillside vineyards called Les Eguets and Les Rivoires, with the vines dug deep into granitic soil.
2012 was something of a seminal moment for the Rouvière family, as Marc and Dominque handed the reins over to their children, with Julien taking on the role of vineyard manager and Anais becoming cellar manager; although mum and dad were always on hand for any last-minute advice.
Written by Decanter