B-21 Top Recommendation
Domaine Georges Vernay, founded by Francis Vernay in 1937, is a third-generation, venerable wine producer, located in the heart of Condrieu, France. The efforts of Francis Vernay were instrumental in the creation of the official Condrieu appellation in 1940. In later years, Francis was succeeded by his son Georges, who played a key role in restricting the geographical boundaries of Condrieu, preserving the character of the appellation and ensuring its future greatness. In 1996, Christine Vernay, Georges' daughter, took over as winemaker and General Manager of the Estate. Recognized as one of the great winemakers in France, several of her wines have recently been awarded the coveted 100 points in the world’s top wine publications; remarkable - since the 2011 vintage, not a score below 96 from Jeb Dunnuck for the Coteau de Vernon. Among the top two or three Condrieu in any vintage, the Coteau de Vernon comes from very old vines planted in 1936 and 1960, on the steep granite slopes just behind the Vernay estate.
The 2018 Condrieu Coteau De Vernon is more backward and mineral-laced compared to the showier Les Chaillées De L'Enfer. Gorgeous notes of white flowers, honeyed citrus, nectarines, gunflint, and charcoal all emerge from this incredible wine. Taking plenty of air to show at its best (I followed this for multiple days), it's medium to full-bodied and has a flawlessly balanced mouthfeel, beautiful acidity, and a gorgeous finish. This is one of those wines that demands something from the taster and is subtle, nuanced, and beautifully complex while remaining regal and classy. The Romanée-Conti of Condrieu, I would give bottles another year and drink through 2026. It can be cellared longer, if that's your style.
98 points, Jeb Dunnuck (Nov 2020)
Plump and showy up front, with apricot, peach and mango flavors taking the lead, back by a warmed brioche note on the finish. This has depth and weight, but stays lively, with a flash of green tea and buried minerality showing at the very end to keep it honest. Hard to lay off now, but this has the density to cellar a bit as well. Drink now through 2027. 580 cases made, 35 cases imported.
97 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Nov 2020)