Ciaran left Domaine des Anges last October after 13 years but not before he had vinified the 2011 vintage. Most of the wines are not ready for proper assessment yet (I did taste the white and rose back at Easter) but yesterday popped up to see his old boss, Gay McGuinness, and the new estate manager, Florent Chave, formerly of Domaine Brusset, to have a chat and taste any new wines. The one most interesting to me was the 2011 Viognier "Cherubin".
I have had an on-off relationship with this variety over the years, sometimes finding it exotic and frustrating at others. I used to abhor the oaked versions then find un-oaked wines too acidic. When Ciaran told me he was making Viognier starting with the 2010 vintage, I wondered how I would find the wine. That first vintage was aged 50% in third year barrels and 50% in stainless steel but I never got to taste it from the bottle as it sold out quickly (there wasn't a lot of it) so the 2011 is the first bottled Viognier from DDA I have tasted.
This vintage is aged 100% in old oak so much depends on whether you like the subtle flavour this imparts (it is subtle) and, more important, the texture it gives the wine. I do. The barrel means the acidity I have sometimes had a problem with is rounded out with a light creaminess but, because it is old oak, the lovely, exotic Viognier fruit is not overwhelmed. A decent drop indeed. That said, when I tasted it again later that day with Ciaran, he exclaimed he didn't like it at all. Oh well, there's no pleasing some people.