Greg Viennois - A Rhone Legend in the making
The last decade has seen a level of unmatched quality for the Rhone Valley and a string of brilliant vintages that may never be equaled again. These amazing years have helped the region gain a status that many experts feel is now on par with Bordeaux and Burgundy. The meteoric rise of Greg Viennois has coincided with these great years and we’ve had the honor of working with him ever since the tremendous 2005 vintage.
Greg’s resume speaks for itself. He is head winemaker for Michel Chapoutier, making him the Rhone’s lone producer to make wine from every appellation (with exception of the privately held Chateau Grillet AOC). His ability to achieve depth and power in his wines while retaining balance and terroir no matter what the vintage gives him puts him in an elite class of winemakers. As a pupil of Stephane Derenoncourt, Greg has gained a deep appreciation for biodynamics and precise, freshly made wine.
Below are tasting notes on the beautiful wines made by Greg that we’ve been able to source:
2005 Alexandre Rochette Chateauneuf-du-Pape - A Grenache lover’s dream coming from 90 year-old vines, blended out with 3% Syrah and 2% Mourvedre. This sun-soaked beauty shows Grenache's outgoing personality with aromas of sappy black raspberry, allspice, and signature stony terroir. The concentrated body is lush with brambly fruit, a generous touch of dried herbs, and ripe, broad-shouldered tannin. The finish is a bold expression of cherry liquer intermingled with seductive hints of crushed peppercorn and crushed coffee grounds.
2005 Alexandre Rochette Cote Rotie - 100% syrah comes from 50 year old vines perfectly situated on the Cote Blonde. The bouquet of ripe berries is shrouded in complex aromas of fresh lilac, peppered meats, tree bark, and just a trace of pit fruits. The body is focused on a core of earth-dusted currant and violets. The polished tannin provides the ideal framework to release lovely hints of rosemary and thyme.
2005 Alexandre Rochette Hermitage - The 50 year old vines for this 100 case production come from a perfectly pitched sun exposed vineyard. This regal wine's bouquet is an exotic medley of spicy blackberry, smoke, and granite. A symphony of black fruits and licorice exhibits a magical touch of saddle leather and gunflint. Nothing can prepare you for the heavenly finish that combines minerality, dusty cocoa, and roasted meats for a full sixty seconds.
2005 Alexandre Rochette Crozes-Hermitage -This wine has such sophistication, a deep garnet color with endless aromas of blackberry, white pepper, violets, and sage make for the perfect introduction to a sexy body full of cherry and black currant with subtle touches of peppered meats and thyme. The finish brings everything together and offers seamless tannin as well as the perfect touch of forest floor, black olives, and worn leather.
2006 Alexandre Rochette St. Joseph Blanc - The experience of this 100% Marsanne begins with the wine's deep gold color. The tremendous bouquet is full of honeydew, white flowers, and fleshy peach with complex nuances of clove spice, hay, and orange zest. The body takes hold with its combination of richness and remarkable freshness as the opulent, waxy palate is full of melon, quince, and subtle vanilla. The massive body gives way to an elegant finish of pear, sliced almonds, and a touch of lavender all framed with ample acidity and minerality.
2007 Alexandre Rochette Coteaux de l’Ardeche Viognier – One of Greg’s favorite properties to work with, a 45-acre estate solely devoted to Viognier. Greenish gold in color, the bouquet is an explosion of lychee, banana skins, and crème fraiche. Exotic flavors coat your palate but retain a freshness that is a unique trait of top 2007s. The honeyed finish offers hints of white peach and flowers with a lingering sensation of anise seed and mushroom.