Verzier’s estate, named Chante-Perdrix or "singing partridge," is located on the plateau above the southernmost part of the Condrieu appellation (northern Rhone). Farming is organic.
In the glass, it’s already evident that this wine will be powerful. Dark purple color with just a hint of red. The nose is of fresh blue and blackberries with just a hint of white pepper and leather. The balance in the mouth is extraordinary with fresh, zesty fruit and surprisingly lively given the sweet fruit flavors. Very long finish, with ripe, supple tannins.
The Verzier family has been farming the slopes of the northern Rhone Valley since 1828. When Philippe Verzier was only 19 years old, he was called back from school to take over the domaine after his father’s heart attack. The youngest of seven children, Philippe bravely rose to the occasion. He started by bottling his own wines, rather than selling the entire harvest to the local cooperative as his father had done. But like his father, he continued to farm multiple crops to diversify the plantings and create the perfect equilibrium between the orchards and vineyards, so that neither became a magnet for a disastrous pest or disease. Although the vineyards have been farmed organically since the mid-1960s, it wasn’t until 2010 that Philippe and his wife, Isabelle, sought certification.
The wines of Chante-Perdrix have been special from the start, thanks to the excellent vineyard sites of older vines that Philippe inherited from his father. He and Isabelle have added to the holdings and now work 10 hectares, scattered among the famous terraces of Saint Joseph, Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie, and the Collines Rhodaniennes. Coplanted to Syrah, Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne, the vineyards are situated at an altitude between 200 and 330 meters above sea level on a variety of soils from sandy and gravelly to granitic. The yields are low at an average of 35 hl/ha, which is achieved through de-budding and green harvesting. The whites are fermented in equal parts in stainless steel vats and oak barrels. The reds age from 12 to 14 months in oak barrels and demi-muids. The finished wines balance power with grace, and the Cave de Chante-Perdrix is now a new force to contend with in the northern Rhône.