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Yves Cuilleron, Syrah Les Vignes d'a Cote 2019
This is a brilliant Syrah, with lovely notes on the nose of crushed blackcurrant, black pepper, and leathery notes that you associate with Syrah in cooler climates. The palate is big, with lush fruit of fresh raspberries, cherries, dark blackberry really shining and cracked pepper flavours with good acidity and peppery tannins on a long finish. It repays decanting or use a large glass and matches particularly well with braised lamb.
Soils: granitic, alluvial. Cultivation: plots are grass-covered to fight erosion. No insecticides or pesticides, few treatments (depending on weather), small amount of organic-only fertiliser, with respect of soil and vine balance. Vigour and yield control, leaf-thinning and green harvesting to promote grape maturation. Mechanisation is possible, but manual work is preferred. Vinification: the grapes are hand-picked; then sorted and de-stemmed in the cellar. Fermented with native yeasts in open vats. Macerated for about 2 weeks. Spends 8 months in vats and barriques.
Yves Cuilleron is today one of the leading producers in the Northern Rhone and a driving force in the search for quality. Yves has played a pivotal role in the development of the Condrieu Appellation. A long time champion of the appellation Yves commenced buying vineyards when Condrieu was stagnating and in danger of becoming irrelevant. He became a passionate advocate and leader in the appellation taking the wines to the world and helping re-establish Condrieu's place in the wine world. While the Cuilleron family had been vignerons for three generations Yves came late to wine. His first career was as a mechanic but following his compulsory Military service in Alsace he got interested in wine. He followed up with wine studies at the Viticole de Macon and returned to the the Northern Rhone to take over his uncles estate in 1987. Since then he has continually expanded by purchasing vineyards in most of the Northern Rhone Appellations. While the white wines of Cuilleron have garnered most of the press coverage the reds have tended to fly under the radar. However, there in no doubting the quality of the reds across all appellations. Having started with Yves stunning Vin de Pays, we now have access to his amazing range of Grands Vins. He now owns and leases over 75 hectares. We think they are all great wines and they are all in the style of Yves Cuilleron lingering, rich white wines and big rich minerally reds. Yves is a totally driven man with a growing family, a part share with other top growers in vineyards on the eastern side of the Rhone, and an excellent bistrot in Ampuis. He has a fantastic new cellar, purpose-built and temperature controlled.