2012 Condrieu, Chaillées de l'Enfer, Domaine Georges Vernay

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To name a wine ‘The stony slopes of Hell’ may appear somewhat melodramatic, but I suspect for all those picking the grapes on this stark steep granitic hillside, the name seemed apposite. Two hectares with vines aged for 40 years are magnificently parsimonious in their yield, their fruits vinified for eighteen months on cask with lees stirring. The result sings early summer meadows, hawthorn and jasmine, with dried apricot and honey in support. Simon Field MW, Rhône Wine Buyer Christine Vernay is close to being a perfectionist, so close in fact that she is sometimes reluctant to taste wines