The Old Fire Station, Old Market, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Viognier, Les Vignes d’à Coté, Yves Cuilleron

Founded by his grandfather in 1920, Yves now represents the third generation of Cuilleron vignerons although he initially trained as an engineer. The lure of the vine proved too hard to resist and, after a year’s training at the École Viticole in Macon, he took over the vineyards in 1987. Back then it measured 3.5 hectares; he has since grown it to an impressive 75 hectares, spanning the length of the Northern Rhône. He makes over 40 different cuvées from the range of appellations: half red, half white. The winery itself if based in Chavanay – a commune just south of Condrieu.

Oak is quite a feature in his winemaking, but he uses it sympathetically. He does not allows it to dominate the fruit, but rather carve character into each. This Viognier comes from vines in the commmunes of Chavanay. Called the ” Vignes d’à côté” because it’s mainly vines next to the appellation area.

There is high-density planting (8,000-10,000 vines per hectares). Natural cover cropping to avoid erosion. No insecticides are used with respect of soil and vine balance, few treatments (depending on weather and the necessary) and small amount of organic fertilizer. Vigour and yield control, leaf-thinning and green harvesting to promote grape ripening. This wine is a single plot cuvée. The grapes are picked when fully ripe and hand-sorted. After pressing, they are alcoholic with native yeasts and then malolactic fermented in barrels and big cask with temperatures control.

The Viognier, Les Vignes d’à Coté – Maturing : 6-7 months on lees in barrel and cask.

This wine has fabulous purity, vibrancy and depth of flavour. This wine has an expressive nose with delicious aromas of apricot, citrus and violets. It is juicy and rounded on the palate with a lovely minerality and leads to a creamy, mouthfilling finish. This will develop more weight and creaminess over the next couple of years.


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