We all know many of the famous names in wine. They come from all over the globe. But, few of them could be considered royalty. It's a short list, but Chapoutier in the Northern Rhone is on it. Marius Chapoutier founded the estate in 1808 and went on to produce wines of such distinction and honor that it is now considered one of the greatest wineries in the world.
Our selection represents the Chapoutier family's excursion into the Languedoc, which borders the Northern Rhone. The estate is now run by Michel Chapoutier, the great-grandson of Marius. He is determined to keep the historic place in wine history the name has garnered. He hasn't skipped a beat. Our selection is crafted from Viognier, the most heralded white grape in the Rhone Valley. In certain circles its greatness is even compared to Syrah. That would have been heresy in Marius' time, but not today. What we find quite fascinating is that DNA testing shows it to be a cousin, or even a brother of Syrah, making the comparison more legitimate.
As popular as the grape had become, it was almost extinct by the 1960s. A string of bad vintages made it almost impossible to ripen. Most gave up except for a few producers, like Chapoutier. We're thrilled they pressed on or we would have missed the exotic scents of pear blossom, musk oil, mango, and lemon zest. We would never have experienced those layers of flavor on the palate and the dramatic finish. From shrimp scampi to crab enchiladas, it has no equal.