Domaine Georges Vernay, famous for its Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu wines, is one of the most prestigious estates in the RhôneValley. In 1996, Christine Vernay succeeded her father Georges Vernay, nicknamed "The Pope of Condrieu and Viognier", and her grandfather Francis, founder of the estate. For more than 20 years, Christine has been in charge of the management of the estate and the vinification of which she has a perfect mastery.
the technical sheet
OWNER : Christine Vernay and Emma Amsellem CHAIRMAN : Christine Vernay MAIN APPELLATION : Condrieu OTHER APPELLATIONS : Côte-Rôtie, Saint-Joseph, Collines Rhodaniennes VINEYARD AREA: 24 hectares RED VARIETY: Syrah (100%) WHITE VARIETY: Viognier (100%) AVERAGE AGE OF VINES: 40 years SOIL TYPE : Granite, Silica, Micaschist TYPE OF HARVESTING : Manual GROWING METHOD : Certified organic ANNUAL PRODUCTION : 100 000 bottles
THE HISTORY OF domaine Georges Vernay
In 1937, a true family history was born in Condrieu where Francis Vernay, the founder of the estate, planted his first vines at the place called Coteau de Vernon. A few years after its creation, he launched his first wine, which has become a must of the appellation: the famous "Côteau de Vernon".
In 1943, Georges Vernay settled in the domain with the conviction that the cultivation of Viognier, a very specific grape variety, is the key to the future of the region. He continued the work begun by his father by buying several plots of land and gradually removing the fruit trees. In the early 1950's, George took over the destiny of the estate and became famous worldwide for saving the Viognier grape variety by giving it a second chance on the hillsides abandoned after the war.
As a visionary winemaker, he believed in the uniqueness of his terroir and set out to conquer the steep slopes to grow vines exclusively. As early as 1953, he began to clear and replant Viognier plants on these granite slopes, convinced that the magic of this grape variety could only be revealed in Condrieu. Thanks to his hard work over the years, he made Condrieu one of the most prized wines in the world.
This young winemaker opened the first tasting room in the region and quickly attracted a loyal English clientele. Thanks to his dedication to Viognier, Georges Vernay soon became a recognized ambassador of this grape variety throughout the world. The critic Robert Parker called him "Mr. Viognier" and he became president of the Condrieu appellation in the 1960s, where he remained for some 30 years.
In 1996, he entrusted his daughter Christine with the succession of the family estate and launched herself into the adventure of the hillsides. Christine devoted much of her body and soul to her work, quickly learning the tricks of the trade, giving the best of herself and being passionate about every aspect of viticulture. She has learned to understand her vines, to listen to them and to put her values into practice, which she has also shared with her team, whom she has been able to take with her.
Christine has been successful for a few years by taking care of the quality of her wines with passion. At the same time, she discovered a new adventure with her daughter Emma who joined the Domaine in 2020. Alongside her mother, Emma learns to know the land, to take care of it and to run the estate with as much conviction as her predecessors. One day, she will take her turn in sublimating the hillsides as her mother and grandfather did before her.
Domaine Georges Vernay, the estate
The Domaine was founded in Condrieu, on the Coteau de Vernon, where it has a unique know-how transmitted from generation to generation in order to focus on the land, the terroirs with the objective of constantly improving their plots composed of Viognier and Syrah. The whole property now covers 24 hectares where there are now 10 hectares in the Condrieu appellation, 6 hectares in the Côte-Rôtie appellation, 6 hectares in the IGP Syrah Viognier and 2 hectares in Saint-Joseph.
The terroirs of Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu were formed from the fracture of the Massif Central which gave rise to the creation of the Rhône plain. The soils of these regions are currently composed of granite, sandysilica and micaschist, which play a crucial role in regulating the water supply of the vine. The terraces located on these soils are particularly draining thanks to the presence of numerous vertical microfaults.
The climate of the region is temperate continental, with moderate winters and hot summers. Temperatures can vary considerably and exceed 40°C. The vineyard is often exposed to the wind, especially from the south, which helps to remove moisture and dry out the grapes, using cryptogamic pressures. The vineyard benefits from a South / South-East exposure sheltered from the North wind, which favors early ripening of its dry grapes.
When I create a wine, I don't try to impress. A great wine must amaze
- CHRISTINE VERNAY -
the know-how of Domaine georges Vernay
Christine Vernay's wines are distinguished by their unique personality and elegance, which are the result of both her work in the vineyards and in the cellar. She does not conform to systematic practices, but rather automatically experiments by trying and tasting her wines, in order to adapt them to the particularities of each vintage.
Christine Vernay does not take shortcuts, but rather focuses on the details with pleasure, which has become her trademark, and she is well aware of it. She has a deep affection for her vines and terroirs and strives to let them express themselves to the fullest. All the wines she produces are the result of her own vines, which she takes great care of. Christine Vernay always seeks to link her own personality with the characteristics of the terroir, with the aim of revealing the excellence of each wine, with characteristics such as power, tension and freshness.
She places great importance on color, aroma, and all that the wine can slowly reveal, and interprets each of these elements with care. To support this approach, the entire winemaking process is conducted in a parcel-by-parcel manner, respecting the rules of organic agriculture and the principles of biodynamics.
Over time, the wines develop in the cellars and slowly present their aromas and structure. Behind the wood of the barrels, each cuvée reveals itself little by little, eventually offering a surprising encounter. Christine Vernay's choice of wines is in line with her winemaking philosophy. For the reds as for the whites, she uses different containers such as foudres and barrels to seek the expression of the terroirs. The maturing and the work in the vineyard are carried out according to the principles of biodynamics to accompany the search for balance in the wines, allowing a full expression of the terroir and the vintage.
From the vineyard to the tasting, each moment in the life of a wine will be a determining moment. The biodynamic requirements are that there is no wind on the day of bottling. Christine herself may decide to cancel a bottling in the morning in order to offer her wines the best possible conditions.
the main cuvées of DOMAINE GEORGES VERNAY
Coteau de Vernon is a complex and elegant wine, which perfectly embodies the subtlety of Viognier. Located in the heart of the appellation and Domaine Vernay- Syrah", this Condrieu is unique and offers an incomparable taste experience. Depending on the vintage, it presents aromas of yellow fruits, fresh or candied citrus, exotic fruits and beautiful bitters: it is the quintessence of Condrieu.
The Cuvée Maison Rouge of the Domaine Georges Vernay is made from old Syrah vines cultivated on the site of Maison Rouge, and is distinguished by its structure, finesse and elegance. This bottle has great aging potential, promising to improve with time.
Côte Rôtie Blonde du Seigneur contains 5% viognier, which gives it a perfect balance between its power and delicacy. Its dark color and mineral, smoky and fruity nose with notes of black olive, pepper and flowers thanks to the Viognier, make it a very aromatic and elegant wine.