The Northern Rhone is the home of Syrah just as, for example, the Touraine is the home of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc and Piedmont the home of Nebbiolo. There would be strong consensus among wine enthusiasts that these grapes reach their highest expression in their ‘home’ locales. Northern Rhone Syrah, however, can be expensive. Demand for these wines has steadily increased in recent decades but the region is relatively small and supply has not increased correspondingly. Bottlings from Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, not to mention Hermitage, start near the $100 range and go well beyond. Crozes-Hermitage, however, is the Northern Rhone’s value appellation.
The Cuilleron family domain was founded three generations ago in 1920. The current head of family, Yves Cuilleron, originally trained as an engineer before studying winemaking in Burgundy, taking over the domain in 1987. He has gained an immense reputation in his 30+ year career for raising the bar in the region and producing benchmark wines of depth and typicity. Domaine Yves Cuilleron makes wine in Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. Cuilleron vineyards are hand-picked and sorted, the grapes are fermented with indigenous yeasts and the wines are not filtered. They use organic fertilizers and no insecticides. The Crozes-Hermitage Laya comes from a single two hectare vineyard. The 2017 has a flowery bouquet, silky texture with cherry fruit on the palate and a long finish. It’s a great everyday drinking, budget Northern Rhone and yet could age for up to ten years . . . que syrah, ahem.
Yves Cuilleron Laya Crozes Hermitage 2017
Sale Price: $27.97
Josh Raynolds/Vinous, 91-92 – “Youthful violet color. Ripe black/blue fruit liqueur, candied licorice, olive and potpourri on the nose, along with a peppery nuance emerging slowly. Coats the palate with concentrated cassis and bitter cherry flavors. A violet pastille nuance adds a touch of sweetness. Dusty tannins add shape to a long, spice-tinged finish leaving a hint of smokiness behind.”
Past Cellar Selections:
Keenan Cabernet Reserve 2016 - Cult Wine for the Masses (Ha!)
Casanova di Neri 2016 – Historic Vintage & 99pts.
Falletto Giacosa – Grand Cru Barolo
Gianfranco Alessandria Barolo 2016
Huët Clos du Bourg 2019 – Grand Cru from the Loire Valley
Heitz, Dunn, Continuum . . . What is a Cult Cali Red?
Chandon de Briailles - Wines Without Artifice
Magnum Bottles from CVNE Imperial
Beaux Freres Pinot Noir 2018
Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva – What were you doing in 1987?
Domaine Simon Bize 2018 – Value Burgundy
La Rioja Alta “890” Gran Reserva Rioja 2004
Alion and Pintia – The Other Vega Sicilias
Three Oderros: for the Picnic Table, the Dinner Table and the Cellar