Julien Pilon has a masterly hand with Viognier, brilliantly walking the tightrope between the grape’s natural extravagances whilst maintaining glorious (and welcome) freshness too. A calm 13%, this 2017 is an absolute stunner.
Although a native of Chavanay (next village to Condrieu), Julien is not from a winemaking family. After wine college, he travelled widely, producing wine in both the Roussillon and Spain, as well as working for local champions Cuilleron, Gaillard and Pierre-Jean Villa. “My wife and I decided to return to Chavanay. I’ve always had a special attraction for whites of the region and so decided on a different approach from others. I strive to produce Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier with flesh but with maximum freshness too. I want to make balanced and precise whites.” So, in 2010, Julien started crafting a range of micro-négoce wines, from local sources. Five years later, Pilon is producing some of the most exciting Rhône whites – wines of genuine flair and class – and attracting excitable attention from both critics and other importers.
“ This has definitely become a domaine to watch. The wines are very much in the image of the vigneron too – understated, stylish and relying more on nuance than overt power” W I N E SPECTATOR