Julien Cecillon - Saint Joseph 'Babylone' 2014
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Julien and Nancy Cecillon form a dazzling Franco-Texan winemaking team in the hills of the Northern Rhone, where they make Syrah that can really challenge your idea of what the grape can taste, but more importantly, feel like.
In many ways this feels more like a Burgundy than a reticient young Rhone. It's light on the tongue and just bright and ruby-coloured. Yet there's unmistakeably that Saint Joseph character of red berries, olives, and herbs. Only instead of a heaviness on the palate, there is immense purity.
The fruit for Babylone is 100% Syrah from vineyards in Saint Jean de Muzols and Tournon-sur-Rhône, that are respectively 25 and 115 years-old. Minimal SO2 is used, and it's fermented with indigenous yeasts as you'd expect. Only 1,500 bottles are made, and it's aged 16-20 months in old barrlels. Buy up!
Annual Production: 1,500 bottles per year
Blend: 100% Syrah
Terroir: Schist-Gneiss on Granite
Winemaking: 25% whole bunch, 75% destemmed maceration and crushing in open tanks (wood and stainless). Regular punchdowns and pumpovers.
Drinking Window: 2017-2024
Nancy and Julien's winery was only created in 2011 but already they've won fans and critics over with their passion, uncanny know-how, and also of course excellent viticulture. It's run organically and sustainably, with minimum SO2 at bottling, wild yeasts, and generally old oak.
They have some excellent vineyards in the appellations of Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage, and the two have extensive experience working in wineries such as Yves Cuilleron, Fabrice Gripa, Christophe Curtat, JC Cellars, Clos du Val, Saintsbury, Indevin and Saronsberg.
Julien, who is a local of Tournon-sur-Rhône and nephew of Jean Louis Grippat, met Nancy in the US, and after a few years of working and travelling with wine, they decided to return home to create Cave Julien Cécillon. We couldn't be happier to represent their wines here in Hong Kong exclusively.