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Walls’ hidden gems: Vignobles Chirat, Condrieu

Matt Walls visits a young, fourth generation winemaker whose Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie and St-Joseph wines have gone from strength to strength in recent years.

When I taste the new vintage in the Rhône every autumn, I taste the wines blind, meaning the bottles are covered up. At the end, when the wines are revealed, many of the top performers are no great surprise. Something I find particularly exciting, however, is to see an estate that I’m unfamiliar with do better and better, year after year; a dark horse breaking away from the pack. In recent years, this is something I’ve witnessed with Vignobles Chirat.

Aurélien Chirat was tinkering with some machinery when I arrived at his winery to find out more. It’s located in the little village of Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône in the heart of Condrieu, high on a hillside overlooking the Rhône river. Aged 35, he is younger than I was expecting, a calm presence but bright and chatty.

Aurélien, a fourth generation winemaker, joined his father Gilbert at the estate in 2008. ‘When I arrived,’ said Aurélien, ‘he threw the keys at me and said “now it’s your job!”’ They worked together until February 2023, when his father fully retired.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for 11 Vignobles Chirat wines to try

Matt Walls’ tasting notes and scores for 11 Vignobles Chirat wines:

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