2017 Cave Yves Cuilleron “Lyseras” Saint-Joseph Blanc White Rhone Blend -photo by grapelive

2016 Cave Yves Cuilleron, Sant-Joseph Blanc “Lyseras” Northern Rhone Valley, France.
Since 1987 Yves Cuilleron has run the family estate, which dates back to just 1947, making wines from mainly Condrieu, Saint Joseph Rouge and Blanc, Cote Rotie, Saint Péray and a series of Vin de Pays from the Collines Rhodaniennes, all in traditional northern Rhone style from many select parcels and Lieu-Dits and is now based in a modern winery in the town of Chavanay. He has become in this short time one of the most influential winemakers of his generation and of the region, crafting excellent examples of Syrah in his reds along with Viognier in Condrieu, that are regarded as some of the very best there is, but I love his Marsanne and Roussanne village blends from Crozes-Hermitage and especially his Saint-Joseph , like this one! The 2015 and 2016 vintages in particular are spectacular for Cuilleron, with the 2016’s showing just a little bit more finesse rather than the 2015’s power and fleshy nature, that said it is tough to chose between them and neither should be overlooked. The vineyards for this Lyseras are situated in the winery’s home village of Chavanay with an east-southeast exposure, that allows for ripe flavors and expressive/complexity of flavors that are led by the higher percentage of Marsanne. The soil is a mix of sand and granite, which transmits both the mineral and fruit elements in the wine and delivers a softer texture than the more serve granite parcels. Both Marsanne and Roussanne are used in this Saint-Joseph Blanc blend, unlike its sister 100% Roussanne version “Digue”, an absolutely awesome wine too, though both of the wines are barrel-fermented and barrel-aged with an elevage of about nine months, making for a richer and rounder style white with serious palate impact and pleasure, while still being thoughtfully balanced and lively. Typically for his whites, Cuilleron uses native yeasts and natural full malos in the barrel, depending on the vintage of course and in better years the wines see a healthy dose of newer oak, though the wines never seem too flashy or heavy handed, but rather opulent and long on the finish as is this lightly golden hued 2016 Lyseras. Starting with a spiced apple/pear note the Premier Cru Burgundy class Lyseras picks up a mix of candied citrus, peach/apricot, clove, bitter almond, dried ginger and creme brûlée along with a mouth filling oiliness and decadent feel, while a subtle racy side emerges too almost with the intensity of tannins along with some melon, steely flint, wild herb and shaved vanilla. Air allows a white blossom to come forward and a more zesty citrus like energy to flow, adding some exotic spice, waxy butterscotch and tropical fruit and floral notes. More delicate and graceful than the more massive Hermitage Blancs, you still get all the thrill and character making for a really serious wine and a class act in the glass, especially pair with just the right cuisine like butter finished lobster tail and creamy white fish, as well as soft cheeses. The vitality never leaves the medium/full palate here in Cuilleron’s Saint Joseph Blanc “Lyseras” and it is a real impressive effort, impossible not to be seduced by its layered array of details and depth, especially for the price, drink this one over the next 3 to 5 years, though I wouldn’t bet against this lasting a good decade or more.
($28 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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