2012 Condrieu, Côteau de Vernon, Domaine Georges Vernay

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The Rhône’s answer to Le Montrachet, Côteau de Vernon is a natural amphitheatre of 60-year-old Viognier, its vines tightly packed on terraces of decomposed granite (aka ‘gore’), its wine matured for 18 months in vats of differing sizes, some new. The aromas somehow manage to combine exotic ripeness with stone-fruit austerity, honied richness and lemon-zest freshness; the finish has saline purity and refreshing precision. 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 that have not been bottl