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Essential Winemakers of France ©Opening a Bottle

Tournon-sur-Rhône, Rhône Valley   

Primary Grapes: Syrah, Marsanne, Roussanne

Primary Appellations/Cru: Saint Joseph AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Saint-Péray AOC

American Importer: Paris Wine Company

The Wines…

Established by the husband-and-wife duo of Julien Cécillon and Nancy Kerschen, this up-and-coming winery is on a roll with a series of traditional Northern Rhône wines. Based on the right bank of the river — across from the famous hill of Hermitage — they naturally focus on Syrah, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier as well as a single Gamay. Appellation wines include a Saint-Joseph, a Crozes-Hermitage and a Saint-Péray. Cave Julien Cécillon is a small producer, but well worth finding because they represent the next generation of producers making superb Northern Rhône wine.

2013 Julien Cecillon Saint-Joseph ©Kevin Day/Opening a Bottle

2013 Julien Cecillon Saint-Joseph ©Kevin Day/Opening a Bottle

…And Why They Stand Out

Like a spy novel that you can’t put down, each wine I have sampled from this estate presents numerous plot twists. Let’s start with the Saint-Joseph Rouge called “Babylone.” I listed it as the No. 9 best wine in 2017 because it had all of the finesse, none of the swagger, and 1/3 the cost of Côte-Rôtie. Another Syrah in their collection — the dazzling Crozes-Hermitage called “Les Marguerites” — feels fresh and vital with notes recalling ripe sour plum fruits and clove. Lastly, their Saint-Péray from 30-plus-year-old vines is a mysterious, surprising and sexy white wine that plays tricks with the senses.

Visiting Julien Cécillon

In-person tastings are welcome but by appointment only. Contact the winery directly if you are interested.

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