Grillet, does this name tell you something ? It’s french, it’s small so it’s cute but it’s quite expensive, well in the same time it’s good and it’s the property’s name of the french luxury tycoon François Pinault. Considered as one of the best dry white wine of the world beside Y of Yquem, the Coulée of Serrant, the Montrachet wines or Château-Chalon, Château-Grillet is not as we can believe, the smallest AOC (Protected Designation of Origin) in France because it’s Domaine de la Romanée in Burgandy. But it’s a monopole of 3,8 hectares landlocked in the famous Condrieu appellation in the Rhône Vallée.
“To drink is human, so lets drink“
You have to be patient to manage to find Château-Grillet. It’s a little bit like a scavenger hunt. No road signs, no website, not possible to visit the property, not possible to find a bottle of this wine in the wine merchants around ! But as soon as you face the Château, you understand the incredible location it enjoys. The snail road surrounds the Château and the 76 espaliered vines in the sun. The property is like a amphitheater : the mansion in the middle and the vines are oriented south-east in front of the river. Then it’s a discrete but amazing ‘patch of land’.
The appellation Château-Grillet has been created the 8th of December 1936. Then property of the Neyret-Gachet Familly since 1820, Château-Grillet came off Condrieu thanks to its unique terroir but also for historical reasons. Back in the time of the AOC creation around 1940, Condrieu was a devastated region (phylloxera, war…) which produced sweet wines. The owner of Château-Grillet was in advance on its time. Little anecdotes : since 1987 Château-Grillet bottles are 75cl and the average annual production is 10 000 bottles.
In 2011, the Château has been bought for 12,8 millions euros by the Artemis holding of François Pinault, already owner of Château Latour in Bordeaux and of Domaine d’Eugénie in Vosne-Romanée. With the manager of his properties and General Director of Château Latour, Frédéric Engerer, Bernard Pinault has redone everything ! He didn’t watch the amount on the check because he knows he bought a jewel. Besides the fact the Château is on an amazing terroir and produces beautiful wines, it also welcomed famous characters : Blaise Pascal in 1652 talked about the property and Thomas Jefferson tasted it under the Ancien Régime.
Admittedly the property is exceptional, Château-Grillet is the monopole, diamond of the Rhône, vines have never known the tractors violence (the steep slope can reach 50%), cellars have been redone and yields are very low… But only one thing is not misleading : the tasting… Because the wrapping paper can be beautiful, it’s the present which really count. So, verdict !
In my cellar, I have a bottle of 2007 but I haven’t still opened it : so I’m going to tell you what I heard about this wine ! As soon as I will taste my bottle, I will wrote you about it ! Don’t worry ! So people say that Château-Grillet has got an impudent youth, an elegant uprightness and an uncommon high-class. What characterize the vintages is constancy. The yellow color is synonymous of brightness. The nose is a ripe apricot glut of sun mixed with purity, charm, frankness and finesse. The full mouth has got a nice compelling acidity which is so long. The fruit is here : apricot, lemon, grapefruit… but also minerality and even a note of fennel. The finish is long and delicate. One thing that is sure : it’s a wine to keep, to keep long… Viognier is at its peak !
Drink it with scampis or scallops with a light and lemony sauce. But also with a white delicate fish or ray wings ! Nice…
You have to count between 70 and 100 euros the bottle before the re-bought by the french tycoon (but you have to know that there are no more bottles, or it’s really rare, in the wine-shops, you have to buy one to private owners).