When I tasted the new vintage, it was a great experience. Rhône Every fall, I taste wines blindly, meaning that the bottles have been covered. When the results are revealed at the end, the best performers are not a surprise. Something I find particularly exciting, however, is to see an estate that I’m unfamiliar with do better and better, year after year; a dark horse breaking away from the pack. In recent years, this is something I’ve witnessed with Vignobles Chirat.
Aurélien Chirat was tinkering with some machinery when I arrived at his winery to find out more. It’s located in the little village of Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône in the heart of Condrieu, high on a hillside overlooking the Rhône river. He is 35 years old, younger than I expected. A calm, bright, and chatty presence.
Aurélien, a fourth generation winemaker, joined his father Gilbert at the estate in 2008. ‘When I arrived,’ said Aurélien, ‘he threw the keys at me and said “now it’s your job!”’ They worked together until February 2023, when his father fully retired.