Everything about Château-Grillet is remarkable. It is the smallest appellation of the Rhône Valley, covering just a few acres, whose grapes (all viognier) are made into just one wine by a single property. The surrounding land forms the Condrieu appellation: the same grape and more or less the same soils, and yet Grillet is markedly different. Where many Condrieu wines seem exuberant, Château-Grillet is discreet, even demure. It does not even obey the general rule which says that viognier is best drunk young. Indeed, the wine only really starts revealing its potential after a few years.

The estate has now been acquired by François Pinault of Bordeaux first growth Château Latour. Pinault is the latest in a very long line of owners of this vineyard, probably first planted during the 3rd century.

There were periods of neglect, but fortunes changed during the 17th century when, thanks to the navigable Loire, the wines could be shipped to Paris where they soon gained a huge reputation for quality. Admirers would range from Blaise Pascal, Thomas Jefferson and King George IV. Such was its standing that Château-Grillet was granted its very own appellation in 1936. It is one of the most beautiful vineyards in France and at less than 4ha, not the largest! It sits on a perfect amphitheatre-shaped slope, often very steep and laid on over 70 terraces, which are locally called ‘chaillées’, held up by meticulously laid dry stone walls.

The exposure is fully south facing which also protects the vines from the prevailing north winds. The name Grillet quite likely alludes to ‘grilled’ or ‘roasted’, as in Côte-Rôtie. The viognier planted here may have originated in Dalmatia, but has made this part of the Rhône Valley its number one home. The soils are complex, mostly of decomposed granite with mica deposits, some clay and sometimes a fine deposit of loess. Part of the magic of Grillet is that even in such a small vineyard area, there are nuances of soil, exposition and climate.

The new owners were quick to realise that a full analysis of the site was needed if Grillet was to reach its full potential which it had already began to do under the previous owner. Grapes are harvested site by site and vinified separately in brand new small stainless-steel tanks. It is only just before the fermentation finishes that the wines are transferred to oak barrels. Another departure from previous times is that there is now very little new wood used. Most barrels are brought second hand from Latour's estate in Burgundy or from Jean-Louis Chave who has been acting as consultant on matters of viticulture.

Members' Comments (1)

"Have just drunk the last bottle (sixth) of Grillet 2006 which I bought from the society in 2007/8.
All the bottles drank well and the last had a subtle richness in many ways not immediately identifiable as Condrieu but quite delicious and unlike anything else I have tasted this year.

Mr David R Terry (12-Aug-2017)

Want more inspiration?

Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.

Our website uses cookies with the aim of providing you with a better service. By using this website you consent to The Wine Society using cookies in accordance with our policy.


4.4. Cookie Policy

By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.

The Wine Society uses cookies to enable easy navigation and shopping on the website. We take the privacy of all who use our website very seriously and ensure that our use of cookies complies with current EU legislation. The following guide outlines what cookies are, the types of cookies used on The Society's website and how they work.

You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.

4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?

  • Most major websites use cookies.
  • A cookie is a very small data file placed on your hard drive by a web page server. It is essentially your access card, and cannot be executed as code or deliver viruses. It is uniquely yours and can only be read by the server that gave it to you.
  • Cookies cannot be used by themselves to identify you.
  • The purpose of a basic cookie is to tell the server that you returned to that web page or have items in your basket. Without cookies, websites and their servers have no memory. A cookie, like a key, enables swift passage from one place to the next.
  • Without a cookie every time you open a new web page the server where that page is stored will treat you like a completely new visitor.
  • More recently, cookies have also been used to collect information about the user which allows a profile of their preferences and interests to be created so that they can be served with interest-based rather than generic information about available goods and services.

4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?

Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.

4.4.3. How does The Wine Society use cookies?

The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.

The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.

4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?

We use the following three types of cookies: Strictly Necessary Cookies
These cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Authentication Cookie and Anonymous Cookie
    These cookies remember that you are logged in to your account – without them, the website would repeatedly request your login details with each new page you visit during your time on our website. They are removed once your session has ended.
  • Session Cookie
    These cookies are used to remember who you are as you use our site: without them, the website would be unable to tell the difference between you and another Wine Society member and facilities such as your basket and the checkout process would therefore not be able to function. They too are removed once your session has ended. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking Cookies
These cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Unique User Cookie
    This cookie is used to:
    • store your share number in order to identify that you have visited the website before. Without this cookie, we would be unable to tell whether you are a member or not.
    • record your visit to the website, the pages you have visited and the links you have followed. We use this information to make our website, the content displayed on it and direct marketing communications we may send to you or contact you about more relevant to your interests.
    • This cookie expires after 13 months.
  • Peerius Cookies
    These third-party cookies are used to provide you with personalised recommendations based on your purchase and browsing history. They expire within 4 hours of your visit. Performance/analytical cookies
These cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:

  • Google Analytics Cookies
    These are third-party cookies to enable Google Analytics to monitor website traffic. All information is recorded anonymously. Using Google Analytics allows The Society to better understand how members use our site and monitor website traffic. Authentication Cookie
In order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.

4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?

All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.

4.4.6. Learn more about cookies

4.4.7. Changes to our cookie policy

Any changes we may make to our cookie policy in the future will be posted on the website and, where appropriate, notified to you by email. Please check back frequently to see any updates and changes to our cookie policy.