Alchemy La Combe Pilate Viognier 2020 Collines Rhodaniennes, M Chapoutier
France / Rhone
Andy's Tasting Notes
When I first tasted this on release 7 months ago it was a little closed and unresponsive. I re-tasted it mid November last year and it has now blossomed into a lovely bottle. Beautifully light on its feet, yet has all of the classic Viognier richness and exoticness you could hope for. It walks the tightrope of elegance and exuberance with ease.
Producer notes – tasting note: Delicate with notes of bergamot and flint stone. Very fresh on entry, dominated by the typical Viognier aromas. On the mid-palate, there is good balance between the acidic tension associated with its terroir of origin and the natural full body of the varietal and its ageing. The finish is savoury, bringing out the rustic and mineral overtones.
Producer notes – Vineyard: Clay, quartz pebbles, limestone gravel and loess. Areas with leptynites (gneissic metamorphic rock) granitoids.
Producer notes – vintage: 2020 will undoubtedly stand out as an atypical year. The winter was mild marked, by a water shortage over the period, although reserves from 2019 helped to alleviate this. Budbreak was 10 days earlier than in previous vintages. Although snow fell after budbreak and frost was a real risk, it only affected a few vines in Beaumont Moneux. June brought plentiful heat and sunshine in the Northern Rhône and some welcome rain in the Southern Rhône. Grenache in the Southern Rhône looked beautiful and Syrah in the north perfectly balanced. Harvest was earlier than usual starting in early September and proceeded calmly and without any weather pressures. Marked by exceptional earliness and scorching mid-summer heat, the 2020 vintage offers us wines full of elegance and pedigree. They have all the markers of great ageing potential thanks to preserved acidity and remarkable phenolic maturity. The elegance of the red wines and the expression of minerality supported by a beautiful acidity on the whites are the hallmarks of this particular vintage that is full of surprises.
Price per bottle £16.40 £15.40
Unique, unconventional, curious about everything, Michel Chapoutier’s mind has never been static. Michel is a wine-lover and life-lover, always on the move, so are his ideas, his tastes and his wishes. “If I stay still, I fall.” His wine journey began when he was 26 years old and he became the head of M. Chaptouier. Yet, he is not an inheritor – his choices and his vision were disruptive as he stood up against the established ways and ideas, completely changing both viticultural and vinification practices of his family company. He is a man close to the earth, on a quest for revealing terroirs and finding the expression of soils through the taste of his wines.
Since 1991, they have worked tirelessly to convert to biodynamic viticulture, with chemical pesticides and herbicides banned. They have introduced natural elements (minerals, plants, animals) to preserve balance. The soil is fed with organic matter; thus it preserves bacteria which is the real ‘Mother’ of the vine and will transform mineral into vegetal. This precious bacterium transmits the personality of the terroir to the vine and ultimately the wine. Biodynamics is also about understanding the cycles of the earth, the sun and the moon. From these observations they take crucial decisions: when to prune, when to harvest. Yields are respected and each terroir offers its pure essence.
Food matchPrawn wontons!
Awards & Critic Reviews
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