vines in non-AOC parts of Chavanay. ”Sybel” is not a district name, it derives from ”belle Syrah”.
”For three generations, wine has been part of my family history, on my mother’s and father’s sides. My paternal grandfather established the estate in 1920. By 1947, he was selling his wine in bottles. In 1960, my uncle Antoine Cuilleron became the estate manager. In 1987, when I took over running it, I decided to settle in Verlieu, my mother’s home village.”
Education and friends
”To be honest, I saw myself as a mechanic rather than making wine. But I had reckoned without my solid family education, where cookery had been an important subject. Years later, I did my military service in Alsace, and, through tastings and restaurant outings with my friends, I really caught the wine bug! When my uncle retired, my parents saw no successor and considered selling the estate. I didn’t hesitate for a second. Wine brought me back to the vines. From then on, being anything but a vigneron was out of the question.”
”Without a rigorous approach, passion is not enough. And so I wanted to understand and control everything. To be sure my wines are totally home-made, I have rejected off-the-shelf ideas, refused to copy others. Since the start, I have personally monitored every stage of production, from vine-planting to wine-bottling. This exacting, hands-on attitude means I am constantly thinking about my tools and facilities. Hence the new cellar built in Verlieu in 1992, then extended in 1999. And the major construction and extension programme in 2007. Everything has been redesigned – the buildings for vinification, maturating, storage and reception. In a nutshell, I focus on everything. That’s the price you pay for quality.”