Syrah, Les Graviers, Vin de France, Domaine Julien Cécillon 2019 is no longer available

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Syrah, Les Graviers, Vin de France, Domaine Julien Cécillon 2019

Red Wine from France - Rhone
Gorgeous, deeply coloured, fragrant northern Rhône syrah from a Franco-American husband and wife-owned estate with vines in Crozes and Saint-Joseph. This is a thrilling red that shows well the style of the ripe 2019 vintage.
is no longer available
Code: RH57391

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2024
  • Cork, natural

Northern Rhône

A narrow, funnel-shaped vineyard extends on both sides of the Rhône from Vienne in the north to Valance in the south. The scenery is often dramatic with many of the vineyards perched precariously on the steep valley sides. The wines match the scenery: deeply coloured, fine, spicy reds made from the syrah grape and rich, full-bodied whites made from marsanne and roussanne grapes, or the more aromatic viognier up in Condrieu. Granite, sandy silica and clay soils predominate though small traces of limestone may also be found in Hermitage, Crozes and Cornas.

Production here is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% of the total for the Rhône Valley. Most of the wines are sold by appellation with three being white only, two red only and three others where both red and white can be made. The appellation Côtes-du-Rhône is rarely seen in the north and may well disappear altogether. On the other hand, full use is made of the vin de pays/vin de France category which allows producers to...
A narrow, funnel-shaped vineyard extends on both sides of the Rhône from Vienne in the north to Valance in the south. The scenery is often dramatic with many of the vineyards perched precariously on the steep valley sides. The wines match the scenery: deeply coloured, fine, spicy reds made from the syrah grape and rich, full-bodied whites made from marsanne and roussanne grapes, or the more aromatic viognier up in Condrieu. Granite, sandy silica and clay soils predominate though small traces of limestone may also be found in Hermitage, Crozes and Cornas.

Production here is relatively small, accounting for less than 3% of the total for the Rhône Valley. Most of the wines are sold by appellation with three being white only, two red only and three others where both red and white can be made. The appellation Côtes-du-Rhône is rarely seen in the north and may well disappear altogether. On the other hand, full use is made of the vin de pays/vin de France category which allows producers to make slightly simpler wines from young vines or from vines that for one reason or another were not included in any appellation.

Seyssuel
There is no appellation Seyssuel. These steep vineyards on the left bank close to Vienne were once famous but fell into obscurity after phylloxera wiped them out in the 19th century. Since the late 1990s, however, there has been a move to reclaim this valuable land for the vine. Many growers are involved here and the results are extremely good. The wines are broadly similar to Côte-Rôtie in style but maybe riper and more dramatic, the vines, after all, face the evening sun and there is more heat here than in Côte-Rôtie. Full appellation status is probably just a few years away after the efforts of Ogier, Villard and Villa have done so much to put it on the map.

Côte-Rôtie
Red only. The “roasted slope”, only half an hour’s drive south of Beaujolais, this northernmost outpost of the syrah grape produces wines that at times can match Burgundy for delicacy and charm. The vineyard is very steep with an incline of as much as 60 degrees. Guigal is the most important producer attracting the highest prices, but there are dozens of smallholders making interesting wines. Guigal has made new oak very fashionable and many growers use it sometimes to excess.

Condrieu
White only from the viognier grape. The scent of apricot in a good example of Condrieu is almost intoxicating. Rapid expansion of vineyards means that there are lots of young vines and therefore wines that lack substance, so there is good reason to get to know the better growers, such as André Perret, François Villard and Christophe Pichon, and follow them..

Saint-Joseph
Reds from syrah and whites from marsanne and roussanne; reds are more exciting. The best Saint-Josephs have class and can be good value. Some of the best slopes are only now being replanted after years of neglect, so huge potential. Many top producers have started to bring out single-vineyard Saint-Josephs. All can be brilliant and though pricey, offer better value than top-end Côte-Rôties for example. Look for the grower’s name.

Crozes-Hermitage
Reds are made from syrah and whites from marsanne and roussanne. Crozes-Hermitage accounts for more than half of the northern Rhône and its wines are plentiful and accessible. Reds are better than whites. Crozes-Hermitage comes in two parts. The largest is on the flat, close to the river and what would have been a river bed. It produces deeply coloured reds that are soft and fruity and without question a perfect introduction to the syrah of the north. The other part is behind the hill of Hermitage, sometimes on granite but mostly on white clay and limestone. This is the historic heart of Crozes producing wines of interest and substance and the whites from here can be outstanding too.


Hermitage
Syrah for reds, marsanne with a little roussanne for whites. This amazing southfacing slope has the greatest pedigree of any wine in the Rhône Valley. Its complex geology ensures added interest and complexity and in good years, Hermitage may sit at the highest tables. The downside is that the quality and reputation of Hermitage wines from the best producers means that there is a very limited supply of the best wines, and prices are set to rise.


Cornas
Red only from syrah. It is a small appellation nestling in a half amphitheatre of mostly granite, all facing fully south. The climate here is significantly warmer so Cornas is often among the first to harvest. Wines are black, thick and often tannic in their youth. Style is changing and quality is on the up, almost matching Hermitage. Cornas remains an uncompromising wine and rewards good food. Always decant.

Saint-Péray
White only made from marsanne and roussanne. The granite of Cornas gives way to limestone. The wines have more acidity and keep well. For some unaccountable reason, historically, most of the wine was sparkling but mercifully things are changing. There is big potential for fine whites. Producer’s name is essential.

The Drôme Valley
This is a major tributary of the Rhône that rises in the Alps and joins up with the Rhône to the south of Valence. At the western end there are a few vineyards, mostly of syrah and sold as Côtes-du- Rhône Brézème. This is rare, very little known and amazingly good-value source for Crozes-like reds. Further east, the landscape becomes more mountainous and the grapes mostly white, clairette and muscat and wines are mostly sparkling. Clairette de Die is light and sweet, a bit like Italian Asti, while Crémant de Die is dry and full-flavoured.
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Domaine Julien Cecillon

Julien Cecillon is a native of Tournon and a nephew of the great Jean-Louis Grippat. While traveling he met up with American Nancy Kerschen and together they decided to team up. They produce distinctive Rhône wines from the north, and from plots in Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage.

Rhône Vintage 2019

The 2019 Rhône vintage continued this region’s run of excellent vintages with surely the boldest statement yet. Of past vintages, 1990 springs to mind for the purity of fruit and ripeness of the tannins, but on a much bigger scale.

The climate of course played its part in full and as in previous years, heat and drought were overriding factors that shaped the destiny of this vintage. But that is not the whole story. What is exceptional about the 2019 vintage is that the wines are not lacking in acidity and therefore have freshness. Stranger still, pH values, a good way of assessing a vintage, are often quite low.
So what were the ‘X’ factors that make 2019 so special? For a start, though there were indeed times of drought, ground water was never really lacking. Autumn rainfall had been plentiful enough. Temperatures for the first months of the year remain on the cool side. Then there was much needed rain in April and May, just when the vine needed it most before flowering. For...
The 2019 Rhône vintage continued this region’s run of excellent vintages with surely the boldest statement yet. Of past vintages, 1990 springs to mind for the purity of fruit and ripeness of the tannins, but on a much bigger scale.

The climate of course played its part in full and as in previous years, heat and drought were overriding factors that shaped the destiny of this vintage. But that is not the whole story. What is exceptional about the 2019 vintage is that the wines are not lacking in acidity and therefore have freshness. Stranger still, pH values, a good way of assessing a vintage, are often quite low.
So what were the ‘X’ factors that make 2019 so special? For a start, though there were indeed times of drought, ground water was never really lacking. Autumn rainfall had been plentiful enough. Temperatures for the first months of the year remain on the cool side. Then there was much needed rain in April and May, just when the vine needed it most before flowering. For most, these would be the last rains until the end of August. And then of course was the heat – sometimes excessive with peaks occasionally exceeding 40C – but never constant, and temperatures at night remained relatively cool, allowing the vine to rest. Late summer rains come as a relief and is then followed by a final heatwave in September, setting the harvest in a blaze of sunshine.

Everywhere made exceptional wines. Both the northern and southern Rhône produced brilliant 2019s. The grenache grape knows all about heat, but what was remarkable was the quality of the so-called ‘second-tier’ varieties such as cinsault and counoise. Such conditions are not common in the north, but the vine adapts and there was no water shortage. That said, the syrahs from the north are like nothing before: so dark, brooding and strong. ‘Flamboyance’ is a word that crops up in tasting notes and is a truly apt one in describing these wines. Speaking to a grower with the gift of synaesthesia, the colour red in all its shades, seemed to define this vintage.
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2019 vintage reviews

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