Easily the favourite from our Cuilleron adventures, this is a complete wine with teasing oak and smooth body with not an edge in sight.
This is a stunning red from one of the northern Rhone's top producers. If you like the idea of Hermitage or Cote Rotie but balk at the prices, then this is for you. If you only want to buy one really, really good bottle of French red, then, again, this is certainly for you. Dark fruits and spice with notes of licorice on the nose lead to a lush, densely fruity palate that is balanced with freshness and typical Syrah elegnace, structure and length.
This champion wine-maker of the Rhone produces some of the most exclusive wines in the region. Cuilleron knows exactly what each plot is able to yield in terms of quality, style and character and in that regard is a master of all of the vines he tends. This wine is made from the best selection of vines on the hills next to the most famed sites in the Rhone, and they are a selection found only on shallow, granitic soils in the Chavanay sub-zone. This base provides a superb platform for the grapes to ripen with minimal intervention from the vineyard team, who, in truth, only fertilise when necessary with organic fertilisers and don't even spray with insecticides. The result is this wonderfully complex, rich and pure varietal wine that is then treated like royalty (in the positive sense) and though it has a relatively short maceration of 2 weeks, it is aged in barriques for 8 months, providing the wine with structure, elegance, character and a lick of oak. A very special wine.
By the way, "Les Candives" isn't a region or area, it's actually the local name for Syrah. Now you know.
Yes, just a note; this is now the 2021 vintage, which you might think is very youthful (to say the least). Well, it is; but these days that doesn't have such negative connotations as it used to: I'd always ask if it is ready for drinking; in other words, is there any aspect of the wine that isn't quite right, or that will be ironed-out, or better in a year or so. The answer here, because of the skill of the winemaker, is no! It's perfectly ready to drink and there is nothing I'd want change now. It will develop and change subtly in time, but it won't get any better, nor any worse.
2021 was a nearly perfect vintage in the Northern Rhone and while other regions may have struggled, the Northern Rhone saw the best estates prepared and able to handle the weather to their advantage, even with smaller yields.
Top producer Jerome Coursodon summed it up like this: "The great news is that the result is exceptional both in a normal quantity and in a classically chiselled vintage with great balance and acidity, with alcohol between 12.5 and 13.2. I can’t wait to watch 2021 develop over the years. It could turn out to be one of the truly superb Northern Rhone vintages for in some time, without the excess sun that we’ve been used to recently."
Region: Rhone Valley
Style: Svelte, Structured, Pure, Organic, Medium Full, Fresh, Fleshy, Dark, Complex
Best food matches: Venison, Tuna, Tapas, Steak, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Mature Cheeses, Hard Cheeses, Grills, Fine Dining, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef, Barbecue