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Laurent and François Merlin

François Merlin

VigneronFrançois & Laurent Merlin
LocationSt Michel-sur-Rhône (Loire)
Size of Domaine9 ha
TerroirContinental climate, Mistral (northern wind) influence. Decomposed granite and gneiss. Steep terraced vineyards overlooking the Rhône. 150-270m altitude.
ViticultureSustainable – the soils are worked, no chemicals except in challenging vintages when fungicide could be used.
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François Merlin is a self-taught winemaker who has been living in St-Michel-sur-Rhône since 1989, a commune just south of Condrieu, along the right bank of the Rhône river, at the heart of the appellation. François learned about painstaking viticulture in the vineyards of Domaine René Rostaing while studying agriculture, and planted his first vines by sélection massale in 1989, on a south-east facing slopes in a mix of granite and decomposed gneiss soils.

He is dedicated to making his wines with great care and thought and aims for low yields of 35hh, harvesting is carried out by hand while vinification and élevage occur in Stockinger 500ltr demi-muids with some new to 6yo barrels. His ‘Terroirs’ cuvée comes from 1.5ha of vines averaging 30yo from three lieu-dits: Roncharde just north of Condrieu, Chanson in Chavanay and Poncins in St-Michel-sur-Rhône. It has a marked goût de terroir with more finesse and freshness than many Condrieu. He was joined full-time by son Laurent in 2013, who has helped to push the vineyard care to a new level.

Francois Merlin has quickly developed a reputation as one of the leading growers in the appellation and is designated STGT (soil to glass transfer) by Rhône expert John Livingstone-Learmonth.

François Merlin Wines

François Merlin

100% Viognier (14% alc.)

François planted his vines in 1990 and has holdings on some of Condrieu’s finest terroirs. Aged in Stockinger demi-muids and recent barrels, this has apricot and pear fruit, with hints of verbena and floral notes, is clean and well defined on the palate with a long finish.

Previous Grower ← Martinelle