Region: Cote-Rotie, France
Ageing Potential: Drink now - 2035
Perfect with: Duck confit Shepard's pie with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle
Why you’ll love it:
Yves Cuilleron’s estate was founded by his grandfather in 1920. Yves has a very rigorous approach to winemaking and since he took over the estate in 1987 has personally monitored every stage of the production. The estate now includes vines in some of the most prestigious appellations of the Rhône Valley such as Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and St Joseph.
The top Cuilleron wines are planted 8000-10000 vines per hectare. There are no insecticides (for the last 20 years) or herbicides used in the vineyards. Yves Cuilleron rejects off-the-shelf ideas. His vision of vine cultivation is highly personal: not conventional, not organic, not biodynamic. And his philosophy is simple: “Produce the best possible grapes”. He practises “viticulture raisonnable”, an integrated, eco-friendly approach in which observation is key. All vine work vital to grape quality is conducted: planting of Viognier vines deriving solely from the family’s own yards (“selections massales”), and of Syrah vines from high-quality clones and from “selections massales”.
Yves Cuilleron’s vineyard holdings are spread through the Northern appellations (regions) of the Rhône Valley between Valence and Lyon. These are the home of whites made from Viognier, Marsanne, Roussane and blends of the three, with reds made from Shiraz and blends of Shiraz and Viognier from Côte Rôtie. The sites on the banks of the Rhône River are calf snappingly steep. Pulley systems and vineyard sized monorails often used to haul fruit and earth up the hills. In many vineyards, terraces lined by stone walls as tall as a man are used to hold the mountains back!
'(raised in new and used barriques for 18 months) Brilliant violet. Heady, assertively perfumed aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, incense, vanilla and woodsmoke acquire a suave floral top note in the glass. Spice-laced blackberry, boysenberry and fruitcake flavours unfold slowly, picking up mineral and cola nuances on the back half. The sweet, supple, extremely long finish is framed by velvety tannins that sneak in late to add gentle grip.'
92-94 points - Josh Raynolds, vinous.com