Yves Cuilleron is today one of the leading producers in the Northern Rhone and a driving force in the search for quality. Yves has played a pivotal role in the development of the Condrieu Appellation. A long time champion of the appellation Yves commenced buying vineyards when Condrieu was stagnating and in danger of becoming irrelevant. He became a passionate advocate and leader in the appellation taking the wines to the world and helping re-establish Condrieu’s place in the wine world.

While the Cuilleron family had been vignerons for three generations Yves came late to wine. His first career was as a mechanic but following his compulsory Military service in Alsace he got interested in wine. He followed up with wines studies at the Viticole de Macon and returned to the the Northern Rhone to take over his uncles estate in 1987. Since then he has continually expanded by purchasing vineyards in most of he Northern Rhone Appellations. While the white wines of Cuilleron have garnered most of the press coverage the reds have tended to fly under the radar. However, there in no doubting the quality of the reds across all appellations. This year see the first offering from Croze Hermitage. Yves interest in wine is almost all encompassing. From starting his Negociant businss ‘Vienne de Vienne’ with friends Francois Villard & Pierre Gaillard, helping re-establish the historically important vineyards in Seyssuel (located north of Vienne) and opening a Restaurant in Ampuis with friends. He lives and breathes wine. I have run into him on multiple occasions at Wine fairs scattered around France where he is there tasting wines and talking to producers. He has that rare wunderlust that keeps him constantly seeking new challenges and pushing the quality boundaries. There are very few producers anywhere who can maintain that drive and interest for such a long time. PWS

For those who do like their wines on the youthful and fruit-forward side, there’ll be plenty to like here when the ’14s are released late this year, especially since Cuilleron continues to ratchet back the tannin levels of red wines “so they’re not so strict that they demand patience.” Josh Raynolds