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Syrah-Viognier, Signé, Domaine Cuilleron 2018

Red Wine from France - Rhone
A little viognier, co-fermented with syrah, produces a Côte-Rôtie-like wine that is fragrant and deeply sensuous. Violet-scented and utterly gorgeous in this great Rhône vintage.
Out of stock
Code: RH54701

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Light to medium-bodied
  • Syrah/Viognier
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2026
  • 75cl
  • 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 Cuilleron

Yves Cuilleron has established himself as one of the leading producers of high-quality Rhône wines, building on the foundations laid by his grand-father and uncle since the estate was established in 1920. Originally Yves had no intention of being a winemaker but during his national service in Alsace he embraced the twin joys of food and wine and found himself drawn back to family vineyards in Condrieu and Saint-Joseph when his Uncle retired in 1987. He decided to move operations to his mother’s home village of Verlieu and by 1992 had built a brand new winery. Over the years Yves enlarged the domaine with vineyard plots in Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Péray and Cornas, expanding and modernising the winery as he goes, keeping a close eye on every aspect from vine to building design. ‘It is’ he says, ‘the price for quality’. He wants things done his way, without easy or off-the-shelf solutions and his rigour and passion have kept him in the front rank of winemakers in the northern Rhône. He now owns 59 hectares of vines on a variety of soils where he practises "viticulture raisonnable”, a sustainable approach that is not organic but which focusses on the health of the vineyard and the wider environment while doing whatever is required to produce the best fruit possible. Work in the vineyards is intensive, almost all done by hand, with strict control of yields and constant attention to the canopy to allow in air and light and impeding the development of fungal diseases....
Yves Cuilleron has established himself as one of the leading producers of high-quality Rhône wines, building on the foundations laid by his grand-father and uncle since the estate was established in 1920. Originally Yves had no intention of being a winemaker but during his national service in Alsace he embraced the twin joys of food and wine and found himself drawn back to family vineyards in Condrieu and Saint-Joseph when his Uncle retired in 1987. He decided to move operations to his mother’s home village of Verlieu and by 1992 had built a brand new winery. Over the years Yves enlarged the domaine with vineyard plots in Côte-Rôtie, Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Péray and Cornas, expanding and modernising the winery as he goes, keeping a close eye on every aspect from vine to building design. ‘It is’ he says, ‘the price for quality’. He wants things done his way, without easy or off-the-shelf solutions and his rigour and passion have kept him in the front rank of winemakers in the northern Rhône. He now owns 59 hectares of vines on a variety of soils where he practises "viticulture raisonnable”, a sustainable approach that is not organic but which focusses on the health of the vineyard and the wider environment while doing whatever is required to produce the best fruit possible. Work in the vineyards is intensive, almost all done by hand, with strict control of yields and constant attention to the canopy to allow in air and light and impeding the development of fungal diseases. Even pest control is now carried out through the use of pheromones to sexually confuse troublesome bugs rather than spraying pesticides around.

In the winery the mantra is ‘Keep things as simple as possible’. Here more than anywhere Yves' methods straddle the traditional and the modern. After careful sorting of the grapes, and in the case of black grapes destemming, the must or juice is fermented using natural yeasts, without any additives or acidification during the process and without temperature control. Every wine is vinified according to its merits and with no set procedure, and any maturation follows the same principle. Reds and whites spend time in wood, barriques or foudres, for varying times contingent on the style and vintage. The wines that see time in barriques are not excessively oaked to allow the terroir to have a clear expression. Red wines are fined and bottled without filtration while the whites are fined and then bottled after only a light filtration. The aim is to show the variety at its best, with a sense of place, with purity of fruit and with a character that is unique to the estate.

In 1996 Yves joined with fellow winemakers Pierre Gaillard and François Villard in establishing Les Vins de Vienne, a project to revitalise the forgotten vineyards and wines of the Seyssuel area close to Vienne and across the river from Condrieu and Ampuis. Noting that the area had an ancient reputation for quality that had largely been overlooked in recent times, particularly since the ravages of pyhlloxera in the late 19th century, they decided to get together and make wines from these wonderfully sited, granitic, schistous slopes overlooking the Rhône.
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Rhône Vintage 2018

Wines with exceptional levels of ripeness, concentrations of flavours and at their best, a certain majesty. The remarkable conditions that moulded this vintage began with a wet but tropical-like spring, leading to crop loss in the south (especially for the sensitive grenache grape). But then, quite suddenly, the rain stopped. Temperatures rocketed, the vines thrived, and the crop raced towards perfect ripeness.

The northern syrahs are astonishing. They are big, often voluptuous wines, with bags of black, ripe, rich fruit. In general, the south produced lots of wines that will be very attractive when young. Grenache suffered but both syrah and mourvèdre thrived, and there is plenty to enjoy. .

2018 vintage reviews

JancisRobinson.com

Greyish crimson. Fragrant � there�s quite a lot of Viognier here. More and more floral as it opens. Pretty on the palate too but �pretty� gives the wrong impression because there is also a savoury,...
Greyish crimson. Fragrant � there�s quite a lot of Viognier here. More and more floral as it opens. Pretty on the palate too but �pretty� gives the wrong impression because there is also a savoury, mineral quality. Fine-boned, fresh with paper-fine tannins. Good value. 16.5/20
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Julia Harding MW

decanter.com

Wow, this is super-expressive on the nose, with a floral, aromatic fragrance from the 15% viognier, as well as fleshy black fruits and a hint of iodine. Domaine Cuilleron is a leading light in the Rh�ne...
Wow, this is super-expressive on the nose, with a floral, aromatic fragrance from the 15% viognier, as well as fleshy black fruits and a hint of iodine. Domaine Cuilleron is a leading light in the Rh�ne Valley and makes this wine from vines planted on granitic soils within the IGP Collines Rhodaniennes. The wine spends eight months in barrique before bottling. Great value everyday alternative to more prestigious, northern Rh�ne appellations.
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Amy Wislocki

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