2011 Cornas, Le Village, Yves Cuilleron, Rhône
Jeb Dunnuck - 30/12/2013
About this WINE
Domaine Yves Cuilleron
Founded by his grandfather in 1920, Yves is the third generation of Cuilleron vignerons. Since taking over in 1987, he has grown the vineyard area to 75 hectares, spanning the length of the Northern Rhône. Based in Chavanay, just south of the town of Condrieu, he makes over 40 cuvées from the range of appellations: half red, half white. The domaine is converting to organic certification, aiming to complete in 2025. In addition to the time spent in his vines and cellar, Yves is passionate about the research and revival of traditional, indigenous varieties.
We will offer two of Yves’s top Condrieu cuvées, Vernon and Verlieu. These single vineyard offerings are made like red wines, seeing 18 months ageing in demi-muids (a portion of which is new wood) and lees stirring, to be differentiated only by their vineyard - and notably the type of granite on which they grow. Complex and age-worthy, Yves cautions to drink them within seven years of vintage or to wait a further five to 10 (at risk of finding them in a closed spell).
Cornas is a small appellation, just 150 hectares, located south of St Joseph. It’s on the west side of the river. The name “Cornas” comes from an old Celtic dialect term, meaning “burnt land”, so it’s no surprise that on the steep terraces here, facing south, temperatures are significantly higher than those in Hermitage, which is just 7km away.
The granite soils are home to the Syrah grape, producing reds that sit somewhere between those of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. These are strong and powerful wines, with nervy acidity and a robust, rustic charm to them. Their prominent tannins mean that they often demand time in the cellar to express their underlying elegance and complexity.
A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.
It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.
South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.
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Yves’ passion and energy is well-known and it was warming to see his reaction to our own enthusiasm for this cuvée, which was one we had not planned to buy. Like the best Cornas, it has a ‘lift’ to it with plenty of fresh, generous fruit. Easy on the ‘abv’ too, a really fine example of a Cornas that will develop very well mid-term.
Tom Cave - Cellar Plan Manager
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