This is a carousel with zoom. Use the thumbnails to navigate, or jump to a slide. Use the zoom button to zoom into a image.

Côte-Rôtie Viaillère, Domaine Clusel Roch 2017

Red Wine from France - Rhone
0 star rating 0 Reviews
Viaillere, which has various spellings, is an important, steeply sloping vineyard in the northern part of Côte-Rôtie in the northern Rhône. It produces a very dark sinewy wine with heaps of character and flavour that invariably needs time, and Gilbert and Brigitte Clusel makes one of the best.
Price: £58.00 Bottle
Price: £348.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: RH53401

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • 75cl
  • 2023 to 2033
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Cork, natural

Northern Rhône

A narrow, funnel-shaped vineyard extends on both sides of the Rhône from Vienne in the north to Valance in the south. The scenery is often dramatic with many of the vineyards perched precariously on the steep valley sides. The wines match the scenery: deeply coloured, fine, spicy reds made from the syrah grape and rich, full-bodied whites made from marsanne and roussanne grapes, or the more aromatic viognier up in Condrieu. Granite, sandy silica and clay soils predominate though small traces of limestone may also be found in Hermitage, Crozes and Cornas.

Production here is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% of the total for the Rhône Valley. Most of the wines are sold by appellation with three being white only, two red only and three others where both red and white can be made. The appellation Côtes-du-Rhône is rarely seen in the north and may well disappear altogether. On the other hand, full use is made of the vin de pays/vin de France category which allows producers to...
A narrow, funnel-shaped vineyard extends on both sides of the Rhône from Vienne in the north to Valance in the south. The scenery is often dramatic with many of the vineyards perched precariously on the steep valley sides. The wines match the scenery: deeply coloured, fine, spicy reds made from the syrah grape and rich, full-bodied whites made from marsanne and roussanne grapes, or the more aromatic viognier up in Condrieu. Granite, sandy silica and clay soils predominate though small traces of limestone may also be found in Hermitage, Crozes and Cornas.

Production here is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% of the total for the Rhône Valley. Most of the wines are sold by appellation with three being white only, two red only and three others where both red and white can be made. The appellation Côtes-du-Rhône is rarely seen in the north and may well disappear altogether. On the other hand, full use is made of the vin de pays/vin de France category which allows producers to make slightly simpler wines from young vines or from vines that for one reason or another were not included in any appellation.

Seyssuel
There is no appellation Seyssuel. These steep vineyards on the left bank close to Vienne were once famous but fell into obscurity after phylloxera wiped them out in the 19th century. Since the late 1990s, however, there has been a move to reclaim this valuable land for the vine. Many growers are involved here and the results are extremely good. The wines are broadly similar to Côte-Rôtie in style but maybe riper and more dramatic, the vines, after all, face the evening sun and there is more heat here than in Côte-Rôtie. Full appellation status is probably just a few years away after the efforts of Ogier, Villard and Villa have done so much to put it on the map.

Côte-Rôtie
Red only. The “roasted slope”, only half an hour’s drive south of Beaujolais, this northernmost outpost of the syrah grape produces wines that at times can match Burgundy for delicacy and charm. The vineyard is very steep with an incline of as much as 60 degrees. Guigal is the most important producer attracting the highest prices, but there are dozens of smallholders making interesting wines. Guigal has made new oak very fashionable and many growers use it sometimes to excess.

Condrieu
White only from the viognier grape. The scent of apricot in a good example of Condrieu is almost intoxicating. Rapid expansion of vineyards means that there are lots of young vines and therefore wines that lack substance, so there is good reason to get to know the better growers, such as André Perret, François Villard and Christophe Pichon, and follow them..

Saint-Joseph
Reds from syrah and whites from marsanne and roussanne; reds are more exciting. The best Saint-Josephs have class and can be good value. Some of the best slopes are only now being replanted after years of neglect, so huge potential. Many top producers have started to bring out single-vineyard Saint-Josephs. All can be brilliant and though pricey, offer better value than top-end Côte-Rôties for example. Look for the grower’s name.

Crozes-Hermitage
Reds are made from syrah and whites from marsanne and roussanne. Crozes-Hermitage accounts for more than half of the northern Rhône and its wines are plentiful and accessible. Reds are better than whites. Crozes-Hermitage comes in two parts. The largest is on the flat, close to the river and what would have been a river bed. It produces deeply coloured reds that are soft and fruity and without question a perfect introduction to the syrah of the north. The other part is behind the hill of Hermitage, sometimes on granite but mostly on white clay and limestone. This is the historic heart of Crozes producing wines of interest and substance and the whites from here can be outstanding too.


Hermitage
Syrah for reds, marsanne with a little roussanne for whites. This amazing southfacing slope has the greatest pedigree of any wine in the Rhône Valley. Its complex geology ensures added interest and complexity and in good years, Hermitage may sit at the highest tables. The downside is that the quality and reputation of Hermitage wines from the best producers means that there is a very limited supply of the best wines, and prices are set to rise.


Cornas
Red only from syrah. It is a small appellation nestling in a half amphitheatre of mostly granite, all facing fully south. The climate here is significantly warmer so Cornas is often among the first to harvest. Wines are black, thick and often tannic in their youth. Style is changing and quality is on the up, almost matching Hermitage. Cornas remains an uncompromising wine and rewards good food. Always decant.

Saint-Péray
White only made from marsanne and roussanne. The granite of Cornas gives way to limestone. The wines have more acidity and keep well. For some unaccountable reason, historically, most of the wine was sparkling but mercifully things are changing. There is big potential for fine whites. Producer’s name is essential.

The Drôme Valley
This is a major tributary of the Rhône that rises in the Alps and joins up with the Rhône to the south of Valence. At the western end there are a few vineyards, mostly of syrah and sold as Côtes-du- Rhône Brézème. This is rare, very little known and amazingly good-value source for Crozes-like reds. Further east, the landscape becomes more mountainous and the grapes mostly white, clairette and muscat and wines are mostly sparkling. Clairette de Die is light and sweet, a bit like Italian Asti, while Crémant de Die is dry and full-flavoured.
Read more

Domaine Clusel-Roch

This is a perfectionist domaine making classy wines. Gilbert Clusel and his wife Brigitte Roch took over the running of Gilbert’s family domaine when his father René retired in 1987. Prior to that the holdings were so small (1 hectare) that there wasn’t enough income to support them all so Gilbert had rented some vines in the appellation and made his own wine while helping his father as well.

On taking over he began the process of accruing small parcels of vines to add to the hectare his father had inherited and made a number of changes. He built a new chai in Verenay in 1992, began the process of organic conversion and achieved certification in 2002, and began bottling the exceptional lieu-dit site of Les Grandes Places, planted by his grandfather before the Second World War, separately.

Today the domaine is still small but Gilbert and Brigitte have expanded it to 8 hectares, half a hectare in Condrieu and the rest in Côte-Rôtie at Ampuis. The land is farmed with great respect for the environment, with manual work the order of the day, in part due to the steep terraced slopes but also because of the high-quality that ensues when each vine is given individual attention. They leave ground cover in place over the winter rather than using herbicides and plough once the season begins to ensure that the only competition for the vines are their neighbouring vines. Compost and manure is spread without the aid of farm machinery.

Gilbert believes that the old vines of the vineyard,...
This is a perfectionist domaine making classy wines. Gilbert Clusel and his wife Brigitte Roch took over the running of Gilbert’s family domaine when his father René retired in 1987. Prior to that the holdings were so small (1 hectare) that there wasn’t enough income to support them all so Gilbert had rented some vines in the appellation and made his own wine while helping his father as well.

On taking over he began the process of accruing small parcels of vines to add to the hectare his father had inherited and made a number of changes. He built a new chai in Verenay in 1992, began the process of organic conversion and achieved certification in 2002, and began bottling the exceptional lieu-dit site of Les Grandes Places, planted by his grandfather before the Second World War, separately.

Today the domaine is still small but Gilbert and Brigitte have expanded it to 8 hectares, half a hectare in Condrieu and the rest in Côte-Rôtie at Ampuis. The land is farmed with great respect for the environment, with manual work the order of the day, in part due to the steep terraced slopes but also because of the high-quality that ensues when each vine is given individual attention. They leave ground cover in place over the winter rather than using herbicides and plough once the season begins to ensure that the only competition for the vines are their neighbouring vines. Compost and manure is spread without the aid of farm machinery.

Gilbert believes that the old vines of the vineyard, a traditional form of ‘Ampuis’ syrah called ‘serines’, are peculiar to the area, possessing unique flavour and aroma characteristics and are less prolific in yields, facets that he is keen to preserve so all new vines are grafted from these. All vines are double staked to give them a chance of surviving the high winds that can sweep through the vineyards.

As it dictates the style of viticulture so too does the terrain dictate hand-harvesting, though one suspects that such hard labour would nonetheless be the case on flatter land for the quality considerations. The red grapes are destemmed, gravity fed into the winery and fermented at moderate temperatures with punching-down and racking employed to extract colour and tannins before the wine goes into barrel, 20% of which is new. Condrieu is vinified two-thirds in barrel and the remainder in stainless steel. All the wines are fermented using indigenous yeasts because Gilbert believes it is part of the terroir.
Read more

Northern Rhône Vintage 2017

Northern syrahs are lush, rich and succulent with the flavours of
dark fruit and gentle spice. The grapes reached perfect levels of
ripeness, so the tannins are round and well integrated. 2017 is
another great vintage for hermitage, offering concentration and
density thanks to low yields. The same is true for the rest with
Crozes-Hermitage, the biggest of the appellations, deserving
special mention.

Most growers quickly realised that care was needed in making
white wines that were not too heavy and flabby. Grapes were
picked early, sometimes at night to retain freshness. There was
often less extraction and less use of oak. I loved the wines from
Saint-Péray as they always preserve what is sometimes called
‘minerality’. Viognier-based wines, including of course condrieu, are
wonderfully exuberant.

2017 vintage reviews

Bestselling wines

Back to top