Situated in the foothills of the Massif Central in Languedoc-Roussillon, Château Viranel lies at the heart of the Saint-Chinian appellation. One of the most influential features of the property that contributes to the incredible quality of wines is the unique microclimate. This, combined with the estate’s chalky soils, gives ideal conditions for the cultivation of wine grapes. Overlooking the Valley of the Orb, the southern exposure of Château Viranel’s vineyards ensures they receive the maximum amount of sunlight, allowing the grapes to ripen both steadily and completely.
Vinification at Château Viranel is really traditional – the family has been making wine here for several generations and the history of the property can be traced back to 1551 – yet they use one technique for the reds that we had not encountered before. It’s called délèstages (rack and return): rather than just pumping the fermenting juice taken from the bottom of the tank over the top of the cap of grape solids, they empty the vat of all juice and then return all of the must over the cap. This has the effect of fully breaking up the cap instead of the wine gently finding the same old path back to the bottom of the vat, thus ensuring maximum extraction not only of colour but of soft tannins and wonderful flavours. Château Viranel’s fifty fifty blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is made entirely in stainless steel to preserve its bright, crunchy red fruit character. Rendez-Vous shows attractive, sappy aromas of ripe red fruits. On the palate, Rendez-Vous is light-bodied, with snappy acidity, soft tannins and an elegant herbaceous note – not dissimilar to a Loire red such as Chinon. A lovely wine and very refreshing.