The last tasting note from a bunch of wines tasted over the last little while and we’re right back in the Northern Rhône and a 100% Syrah from Cuilleron
Can Yves Cuilleron do anything wrong?
Saint-Joseph sits in the middle of the Northern Rhône appellation, running along the western bank of the Rhône River. Some wines can be a blend of Syrah with 10% Marsanne & Roussanne, but most producers of note make single varietal Syrah red wines.
The grapes for this wine come from vineyards around the village of Chavanay (the cuvée name comes from the original Gaulish name for the village), where the muscovite-granite soils dominate. The vines are densely planted with, in some blocks, as many as 10,000 vines per hectare. Insecticides are not used in the vineyard and spray programs are determined by the weather (as it should be). Vigour is controlled by fruit thinning, leaf stripping and green harvesting.
Manual harvesting, partial destemming, then fermented in open vats for about three weeks with regular punching down the cap and pumping over before maturation in barriques for 16 months.
Deep ruby colour with some purple edges showing the wine’s youth lead into aromas punctuated by dark cherries and plums, white and black pepper, dried herbs and slight florals. A hint of charred wood the only sign of oak maturation.
The palate is bit brighter with the fruit – raspberries and cherries, then into blackberry before the oak makes itself well known with cedar and faint vanilla. Held together perfectly with bright acidity and generous tannins into a pretty gorgeous finish.
I have a weakness for the Northern Rhône and as a winegrower in the Hunter Valley feel there is a lot we can learn from how they approach the Syrah grape, both in the vineyard and in the winery. The structure of these wines are always amazing.
I have my favourites and whilst I tend to favour Côte-Rôtie over Saint-Joseph most of the time, this wine was superb.