Domaine Yves Cuilleron
The domaine was founded in 1920 by Yves' grandfather Claude Cuilleron in Verlieu, part of the commune of Chavanay in the Rhône-Alps region of France. Yves' uncle Antoine took over the estate in 1960. Yves actually trained as an engineer, but the lure of his heritage brought him back home, and he took over the family estate in 1987, which then consisted of just 3.5 hectares in Condrieu and Saint-Joseph. Yves built a new winery in Chavanay and also acquired new vineyards. Now 75 hectares are under vine in 23 communes of the Ardèche department and 3 communes of the Loire department. Wine is made in the appellations of Saint-Joseph, on schist and gneiss soils on a granite base with 7 hectares of Marsanne and Roussanne for Saint-Joseph Blanc, and 20 hectares of Syrah for Saint-Joseph Rouge; Côte Rôtie has 8 hectares of Syrah and Viognier on steep granite terraces which are covered with a silico-limestone layer in Côte Blonde, and clay and iron oxide in Côte Brun; Cornas has 1.5 hectares of Syrah on granite terraces with silty deposits and granite and gneiss; Saint Pèray has 3 hectares of Marsanne and Roussanne on a granite base covered with silt, loess and limestone debris; Condrieu has 12 hectares of Viognier on steep granite slopes. Additionally there are 3 hectares under vine for Crozes-Hermitage Red, 1 hectare for Crozes-Hermitage White, and 19.5 hectares for IGP wines. Vinification is traditional, with hand-picking and fermentation with native yeasts and, although they have a large vat room, they use small vats for the vinification of different plots. For PDO wines the whites are aged in barrel for 9 months, and the reds for 18 months. All the whites are aged on lees with regular bâtonnage and only a light filtration before bottling, whereas the reds undergo a traditional egg white fining and are bottled unfiltered. The same care is taken for VDP wines, with ageing adapted to the cuvée for between 6 and 8 months in stainless steel or in barrels. Yves sources his barrels from 5 or 6 coopers in Burgundy. Yves Cuilleron is known for making tailor-made wines. His motto is “make it as simple as possible” and he says that he doesn't think of his wines in terms of a hierarchy, but rather a wine style, each one worthy to be signed Cuilleron! And his impressive range of terroir-driven wines certainly deserve that signature!