Domaine de Cumelle is a cult winery by sister and brother team Aude Chapuis and Hervé Gibert, featuring Yves Cuilleron as the consulting enologist. Located on a tiny, vertiginous 1.5ha site in the Cumelle lieu-dit at the northern end of Côte-Rôtie, near Saint-Cyr-sur-le-Rhône. It is a single, contiguous amphitheater of south-east facing vines on a hillside with such extremity of slope (50%), that it was abandoned by past generations and returned to wild forest.
Aude and Hervé replanted the site to traditional goblet vines, with three different types of old syrah clones selected for complexity and genetic diversity, including the indigenous sérine. Viognier was also co-planted.
Cuvée Esquisse, or “sketch,” consists of the youngest vines at the estate-bottled as IGP Vin des Collines Rhodaniennes. Esquisse is a blend of co-fermented syrah and viognier that is incredibly lithe, aromatic, and elegant. Owing to Aude’s long relationship with the prestigious Guigal family, the entirety of the production is fermented and aged exclusively in used Tonnellerie Chateau d’Ampuis barrels.
This cuvée is an entirely new expression which defies preconceptions with lower alcohol by volume than has become customary in Côte-Rôtie.
Vintage Notes – 2018 was an outstanding vintage in the northern Rhône Valley, producing exciting wines of exceptional structure, perfume, and depth of flavor. The vintage is fresh, aromatic, substantial, and energetic. 2018 is a marriage of the richness of 2017 to the freshness of 2016. The 2018 vintage at Domaine de Cumelle is considered to be the vintage of the decade.
Vinification – After a manual harvest, the grapes are 70% destemmed. Syrah and viognier are co-fermented by indigenous yeasts following a pre-fermentation cold soak. They go through a post-fermentation warm maceration. The wine is racked into used Tonnellerie Château d’Ampuis barrels and aged for six months before bottling without added sulfur. The final wine is classically light in alcohol at 11.5%.