Côte Rôtie Terres Sombres
Domaine Yves Cuilleron
Cave Cuilleron is, above all, a family estate. A passion for wine has been in their genes for three generations.
For decades, the domaine has undertaken traditional, straightforward vinification. Cuilleron’s main ingredients? Hand picking of grapes, meticulous sorting in situ, alcoholic fermentation using only wild yeasts, and ageing in oak.
The business may be growing, but remains deeply attached to the traditional principles of cap-punching and open-vat pumpovers. They use no oenological products, and technology is kept to the bare minimum.
Yves articulates his vision of the terroir through the wines he makes. From plot to bottle, many decisions are required to express this vision and arrive at wines that satisfy his expectations. A Cuilleron wine bears the imprint of its terroir: it has an original character. Although a large vat room has been built, we have kept many small vats used for single-plot vinification. Although Yves seeks an overarching harmony in the range, the Cuilleron touch lends each wine its own style. They do not focus on a single cuvée and establish a hierarchy; instead, each product is bespoke – the word that best defines us.
Origin: 1.8ha of terraced vines facing South / South-East, located in famous places in the North of the Appellation in the town of Ampuis. “Terres Sombres” comes from the brown colour of the soil.
Terroirs: shales typical of the north of the AOC.
Viticulture: vines planted in high density, 8000/10000 vines per hectare. Without insecticide, the number of treatments is limited depending on the weather, the very low fertilizer supply is exclusively organic, respecting the balance of the soil and the plant. Control of vigor and yields, leaf stripping, green harvesting for better ripening of the grapes.
Vinification: the grapes are harvested manually. In the cellar, sorting, crushing and partial destemming. Fermentation in open vats for approximately 3 weeks with temperature control, punching down and regular pumping over. Malolactic fermentation in barrels, with natural yeasts.
Aging: 16 months in barrels.
Deep and complex wine. Nose where black fruits rub shoulders with spices, nuances of toasted almonds, sweet flowers and liquorice. The palate is elegant and slender but concentrated. The touch on the palate is velvety, and the tannins deep. A final graphite on the purity of the shale terroir.
It is best to wait 4 or 5 years and can age fifteen years or more.
Food pairing: Game or other strong meat (e.g. spicy duck fillets).
PRESS AND REVIEWS
93 points | Josh Raynolds, vinous.com
Made entirely from Côte Brune fruit and aged in 60% new oak for 18 months. Bright purple. Suave, mineral-accented scents of blueberry, black currant and Indian spices; a slowly emerging floral nuance adds complexity. Sweet and lively on the palate, displaying excellent lift and focus to the sappy black and blue fruit, spicecake and vanilla flavors. Finishes impressively long, broad and supple, delivering lively mineral thrust, a subtle mocha flourish and velvety tannins. Drink: 2022-2029 (Jul17)
89 points Wine Advocate-Parker:
Cedar, white pepper, cured meats and mulled red and black fruits define Yves' 2014 Côte Rôtie Terres Sombres and this medium-bodied, fresh, even juicy effort has fine tannin, solid mid-palate depth and a good finish. It's certainly made in a fresher style and I think has a touch too much acidity, but it is a charming effort that will keep for a decade.