2018 Ritou Viognier, Vin de France, Domaine

When it comes to white I naturally incline to dry, focused wines with a clean edge of acidity, but at this particular point in the calendar viognier suddenly appeals. I tasted a beautiful example last week. Domaine Vallet Ritou Viognier 2018 Vin de France is made in the Rhône by a St Joseph producer whose viognier is planted right by his house in the village of Serrières.

St Joseph is not just adjacent to Condrieu, the most famous of all appellations for viognier, its northernmost section overlaps it. Serrières, however, lies about 4km to the south of the Condrieu border and as the St Joseph AoP does not permit the use of viognier – white St Joseph may only be made from marsanne and roussanne – this wine bears the lowly Vin de France designation.

Viognier is tricky to get right. Never a high-acid grape, it can taste flabby and oily, and the floral aromatics don’t always strike the right chord. This one, however, is spot on: it has rounded edges but is also refreshing. It’s fermented in stainless steel to retain the freshness and there’s a gentle smell of jasmine, honeysuckle and fragrant melons. The overall effect is like dappled late-summer golden light shining through trees. It also has a succulence that makes for easeful and very attractive drinking. Just lovely.

Victoria Moore in The Telegraph, 7th Sept 2019
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