Yves Cuilleron – 2015 Northern Rhones: Outstanding Wines for the Long Haul

Posted on Posted in Yves Cuilleron

April 2017
By Josh Raynolds

Yves Cuilleron
“Since I like Syrah that’s powerful and expressive, 2015 is a fantastic vintage where nature basically made the wine,” Yves Cuilleron told me. He pointed out that ’15 is “an extremely unique year because it’s like a mix of the best qualities of the best vintages of the last 30 years: healthy ripe fruit, concentration, aromatic expression, harmony of tannins and fruit, structure and a healthy crop.” It’s rare in a producer’s lifetime, he went on, that nature is “so generous in all the important departments of winemaking.” I was very pleasantly surprised by how harmonious the tannins of Cuilleron’s ‘15s were when I visited in early February. His young red wines can often be a tough read because of their structure but I didn’t find that to be the case at all this go-round. Then again, the red wines here, which do get a healthy dose of new oak, as in around 50% for the top bottlings, have become steadily more elegant since the early 2000s, when they were among the brawniest of the region.

Wine Tasting Notes Score
Cornas Les Vires (raised for 18 months in new and used barriques) Vivid purple. A complex, highly perfumed bouquet evokes ripe dark berries, incense, musky flowers and allspice, and a smoky mineral element adds interest. Sweet, focused and energetic on the palate, offering sappy black raspberry and cherry liqueur flavors that turn deeper and sweeter on the back half. Combines power and vivacity with a smooth hand and finishes juicy and extremely long, fine-grained tannins gently framing the plush dark fruit. (92-94)
Cornas Le Village (aged in new and used barriques for 18 months) Dark ruby. Sexy dark berry, violet pastille and incense aromas are sharpened by black pepper and mineral notes. Displays very good focus and intensity on the palate, offering sweet boysenberry, violet pastille and allspice flavors that show no rough edges. Supple tannins build slowly through a very long, floral-accented finish, where the floral note echoes emphatically. (91-93)
Côte-Rôtie Terres Sombres (raised for 18 months in new and used barriques) Bright purple. Complex, highly perfumed aromas of blackberry, potpourri and smoky Indian spices, accompanied by olive and black pepper nuances that build in the glass. Sappy, palate-staining black and blue flavors gain energy from a suggestion of smoky minerals and pick up a violet pastille quality as the wine opens up. The mineral element carries emphatically through the impressively long, gently tannic finish, which leaves behind sweet dark fruit and floral notes. (93-95)
Côte-Rôtie La Madinière (raised in new and used barriques for 18 months) Brilliant violet. Heady, assertively perfumed aromas of ripe black and blue fruits, incense, vanilla and woodsmoke acquire a suave floral topnote in the glass. Spice-laced blackberry, boysenberry and fruitcake flavors unfold slowly, picking up mineral and cola nuances on the back half. The sweet, supple, extremely long finish is framed by velvety tannins that sneak in late to add gentle grip. (92-94)
Côte-Rôtie Bassenon (aged for 18 months in new and used barriques) Glass-staining ruby. Intensely perfumed aromas of ripe dark fruits, potpourri and olive; a zesty mineral nuance adds vivacity. Deeply concentrated blueberry, spicecake and floral pastille flavors take on suggestions of cola and candied licorice on the back half. Finishes on a suave note of candied flowers, delivering mounting tannins and superb energy and focus. (91-93)
Saint-Joseph Les Serines (raised in new and used barriques for 18 months) Dark purple. Smoke- and pepper-accented black and blue fruit aromas pick up suggestions of candied licorice, violet and star anise with aeration. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering intense, mineral-laced cassis, bitter cherry and floral pastille flavors that smoothly combine richness and vivacity. Shows excellent clarity and floral lift on the finish, which features building tannins and an emphatic echo of smoky minerals and peppery spices. (92-94)
Saint-Joseph L’Amarybelle (aged in new and used barriques for 18 months) Lurid ruby. Highly perfumed aromas of ripe blackberry, cherry cola, floral pastilles, licorice and woodsmoke. Plush, seamless and sweet, offering concentrated black and blue fruit flavors accented by cracked pepper and violet qualities. Broad, appealingly sweet and lively; velvety tannins lend grip to the clinging finish. This bottling was formerly called L’Amarybelle. (91-93)
Saint-Joseph Les Pierres Seches (raised in used barriques for 18 months) Deep ruby. Smoke- and spice-tinged blackberry and dried cherry aromas are enlivened by a suave floral topnote. Nicely concentrated cassis, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors are complemented by a touch of succulent herbs and a building floral pastille note. Finishes chewy and long, with dusty tannins coming in late to add shape and grip. (90-92)
Crozes-Hermitage Les Deux Terraces (aged for 18 months in new and used barrels) Bright violet. Spice-accented cherry, black raspberry and violet on the perfumed nose. Round and fleshy but energetic as well, offering dark berry, allspice and white pepper flavors that spread out nicely on the back half. Deftly melds power and vivacity and closes juicy and long, smooth tannins harmonizing with the juicy dark fruit. (91-93)
Crozes-Hermitage Laya Vivid ruby. Intensely perfumed, spice-accented dark berry and cherry aromas, along with a subtle floral quality. Silky and open-knit, offering expansive black raspberry and candied cherry flavors complemented by notes of cracked pepper, violet and allspice. This is quite elegant for the vintage. Finishes sweet and long, with smooth tannins adding shape. (90-92)

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