2020 Domaine Julien Cecillon "Les Graviers", Syrah, Rhone Valley, France
ABOUT THIS WINE
Les Graviers is a négociant blend of Syrah from three vineyard sites in the Rhône Valley. The majority of fruit comes from the southern parts of the Drôme and Ardèche regions, and a smaller amount comes from vineyards around Tournon. Les Graviers means gravel, which is a reference to the humble-yet-essential stone used in everyday life. The name has a few other meanings to Cecillon: First, the winery was a former gravel warehouse, and second, the market square in Tournon where Julien grew up is called Place des Graviers.
The vines are between 15 and 80 years old (30% old vines). All fruit is hand harvested. 70% destemmed / 30% whole-cluster native yeast fermentation in stainless steel vats. The wine then spends 7-8 months (50%) / 14 months (50%) in oak barrels.
ABOUT THIS PRODUCER
While the Cecillon label only recently began, Julien’s family has been documented making wine in Tournon for eleven generations. Today, Julien and his wife are dedicated to producing exceptional terroir-driven wines at their small winery, which is located near Tournon, in the historic center of the Rhône Valley.
Julien Cecillon grew up in Tournon-sur-Rhône, surrounded by the maternal branch of the family that includes iconic producers such as his cousin, Bernard Faurie, and uncle Jean-Louis Grippat. After meeting Nancy Kerschen while working at a winery in California, the two decided to return to Tournon and create their own estate. Acquiring small parcels by chance, opportunity, and perseverance, Julien and Nancy have worked together with tireless focus to craft wines that establish their own reputation amongst the best producers in the Northern Rhône. Though they are running the winery on their own, the couple certainly benefits from the guidance of Julien’s winemaking heritage. Jean-Louis Grippat, now retired, can be called on for advice, and loves to ride his bicycle past his nephew’s vines to verify that all the vineyard work is timely and proper.
Julien and Nancy farm estate parcels in the appellations of Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage, as well as two hectares of Viognier and Gamay further into the Ardèche hills near the village of Ardoix, which are classified as Vin de France. To broaden the range of wines, they also work with local growers to produce several micro-négociant cuvées. All of the wines at the domaine are produced with native yeasts and are aged primarily in used barrels to create harmonious, balanced wines that highlight the unique terroirs of the Northern Rhône.