“Northern Rhône wine lovers whose tastes run to richness and power are going to have a field day with the 2018 vintage. While most of the wines tend toward dark fruit character, the best examples also have quite a bit of freshness and energy.” Vinous media
This week we are returning to France and sharing a winter warmer from rising star of the (Northern) Rhone Valley and Syrah (Shiraz) focused producer, the young and talented Julien Cecillon. Firstly, if you drink Australian Shiraz, this is great segue into French Syrah. The same variety but a different expression. The lines are slightly blurred here with Cecillon’s Les Gravieres Syrah, being from the warmer and more generous 2018 vintage on the steep slopes of the Northern Rhone. The lines are also slightly blurred because of Julien’s connection to the ‘new world’. Julien’s wife and partner in the wine business is American native Nancy Kerschen whom he met in San Francisco. His experience in the US and South Africa is reflected in the wines, with a modern, sleek, polished and juicy expression of one our favourite grapes, producing wines of charm that are easy to fall in love with. If you enjoy the juiciness and generous flavour of Australian Shiraz, this will be up your alley; likewise, if you enjoy the spice, savouriness and earthiness of French reds, this will satisfy.
Julien Cecillon is a young winery and winemaker in a traditional area. The Northern Rhone is home to the famous steep slopes of Hermitage, Cote Rotie and St. Joseoph that have been producing world beating wines for centuries. Likewise, Julien is from a long line of famous winemakers in the area, stretching 11 generations. When he and Nancy decided to return to the region and start the winery in 2011, they had access to great vineyards and great knowledge that has helped them on their way. The results have been instant and the wines have become sought after in France, the US and the UK. They’ve only just made it to Australia.
The 2018 Les Graviers Syrah is 100% Syrah (Shiraz) from three vineyards in and around St. Joseph on the Rhone River. The name Graviers references the granite soils, mixed with clays, that these vineyards sit on. The wine is modern in that it focuses on the fruit, with little winemaking artefact getting in the way. There is no whole bunch and very little new oak. The aromas are pepper, violet, bitter cherry and black plum. The flavours are intensely dark and spicy, with cardamom, white pepper, violets, black olives, red currant and plums. Decant for 30 minutes and serve in large glasses. Enjoy with hard cheeses, stews, lamb cutlets, lamb sausages and or/ pies. We think it is delicious, early drinking foray into modern French red.
Tom and Dan