Domaine Guillaume Gilles

gilles Guillaume Gilles - c bj Gilles-Guillaume-Cornas
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When Robert Michel, our long-time vigneron in Cornas, decided to retire after the 2006 vintage, he did us the enormous favor of introducing us to Guillaume Gilles, a young vigneron resident in Cornas who, it turns out was Michel’s protégé. In fact, not only did Robert Michel mentor the young Guillaume Gilles, he also leased his prime parcel in the Chaillot vineyard to him and provided his cave (with all its history and secrets!) for Gilles’ use. It has been, then, a nearly seamless transition for us from Michel to Gilles.

Guillaume Gilles is convinced that Cornas is at its best when one follows the most traditional of paths. Like Michel, he eschews the destemmer (in virtually all cases), works his vineyards by hand, ages his wine in old demi-muids and bottles without fining or filtering. His Cornas is as it should be and is exactly as we like it: brawny, sometimes austere, profound, sauvage. He cultivates his vineyards with an organic philosophy and his wines are made using the natural yeasts from his grapes. He produces three wines, two of which are in excruciatingly limited supply.

Guillaume-Gilles-Les-Peyrouses-2009-RED Cotes du Rhone Les Peyrouses: This wine, feral and exciting, issues from an old vines parcel on the flats in Cornas. The soil is sand and clay overlain with large “galet” stones. The vinification is the same as is used for the more prestigious wines of the cellar. Best described as a “mini-Cornas”, it’s outside of its generic category of Cotes du Rhone.
Guillaume-Gilles-Combe-de-Chaillot-2009-RED Cornas La Combe de Chaillot: The only red in this cellar that suffers the fate of “destemming”. The vines are on the lower slopes of the Chaillot vineyard where the soil is granite with a slightly sandy consistency making for a less ferociously tannic wine, a touch more elegant and open in its youth. Also, the Combe de Chaillot is produced in miniscule quantity.
Gilles-Guillaume-Cornas Cornas: This is the grand wine of this tiny domaine. The vines are situation on the higher slopes of the Chaillot vineyard. The “terroir” is more complex here with a mixture of soil types and expositions. There are terraces of pure granite that are oriented east – southeast; then, these are supplemented by terraces that sit on a clay-limestone base that have a full southern exposure. The grapes are never destemmed, the cuvaison is long (30 days) and the elevage is in demi-muids for eighteen months. As with the other wines of the domaine, this wine is neither fined nor filtered.
2016 Cornas “Nouvelle R”: The “R” in this wine’s name stands for Les Rieux, a vineyard situated up above the main amphitheater of Cornas at a lofty 450 meters altitude. Guillaume acquired acreage here in 2010, immediately planting vines on its soils of white granite which had never before borne wine. Whereas before the turn of the century there was really nothing planted above 300 meters in Cornas, today’s warmer climate allows for wines from plots like this one to reach full maturity at modest alcohol levels—in the case of the 2016, a mere 12.5%. Robert Michel remarked that it reminded him of the Cornas he and his village-mates made in the ‘70s and ’80, an era in which even Geynale and Chaillot rarely pushed past 13% alcohol. The purity of fruit here—its brightness and its spice-saturated red character—provides a fascinating contrast to Gilles’ more brooding and black-fruited flagship Cornas.
Download Gilles tech sheet
Domaine NameGuillaume GILLES
Family/Owners NameGILLES
How many years has the family owned the domaine?2002
How many generations?Only one but my grand father and my grand uncle were vine-grower
How many hectares of vines are leased?4
How many hectares of vines are owned?1
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? When?No label but I am thinking about for 2017
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).I am working with the respect of terroir vine and its environment. A lot of manual works, always in the contact of the vine. Manual harvest with the idea to have the best grapes
PLEASE ALSO ADDRESS THE FOLLOWING IN YOUR REPLY:All soils are worked horse can be used
Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse?I try to have the most balanced vines so with less interventions
Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning?I am using only compost organic for fertilization during the winter
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.none
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac/allo sfuso?no
WINE 1Cornas
%ABVBetween 13 and 14
# of bottles produced8000
Grams of Residual Sugar0
Vineyard/lieu dit name(s) and locationsChaillot
Exposures and slope of vineyardsMain south and south east and south west. 50
Soil Types(s)Granit with clay and limestone
Average vine age (per vineyard)40 years
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)6000
Approximate harvest date(s)42993
% whole cluster, % destemmed100 % whole cluster
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeCement vats
Duration of cuvaison21
Select or indigenous yeast?Indigenous yeast
Please share notes about winemaking process for this wine. Less interventions
pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationMalo ok
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Demi muids and 400 L
Duration of elevage18 months
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US market1 year
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describenone
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Yes. It depends of the year. Less than 60 mg /L

Guillaume Gilles Vinous Review

2016 Guillaume Gilles Cornas Inky ruby. Smoke- and spice-accented cherry liqueur, blueberry and violet scents are complicated by hints of olive paste and cured meat. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering intense black and blue fruit, bitter chocolate and licorice flavors and a spicy touch of cracked pepper. The meaty quality comes back on […]

Summary of Grower Visits – Part III

The afternoon of our second day on the road was joyous as the wines of Guillaume Gilles and Domaine Lionnet are simply magical.

GILLES: Guillaume started harvest early in 2018, the 4th of September. He reports a bountiful harvest of excellent quality. The ‘17s have brilliant potential.

New Releases from the Northern Rhône.

Etienne Becheras * Domaine Lionnet * Bernard Levet Guillaume Gilles * Xavier Gerard By: Neal Rosenthal & Neil Rosen We will soon receive our most significant shipments of the year from our producers in the Northern Rhône. Recently, we have made substantial additions to our Northern Rhône portfolio; thus, this annual offer has grown to […]

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