Jean-Baptiste Souillard

Special Offer Shining Light on a Northern Rhône Prodigy
Jean-Baptiste Souillard

The wines of Jean-Baptiste Souillard are a revelation, but this grower likes to keep a low profile. He doesn’t submit his wines to reviewers, instead inviting them to “come to my cellar and taste anytime”. Given the size of his production―he vinifies in small batches from 300 to, in rare cases, 1,500 bottles— this is perhaps not a surprise. But it does mean that his wines can fly below the radar.

 

This is something of a shame, as Rhône lovers will find much to enjoy in Souillard’s wines, and they really do merit discovery. So, for a limited time, we’re offering some special prices on his excellent 2021 releases.

 

If you’re new to Souillard, he’s one of those dynamic, talented French micro-négociants blazing his own trail. Inspired by Burgundy’s Benjamin Leroux, his thing is unearthing late-ripening parcels on cool, rocky east-facing slopes of the Rhône Valley. He translates these into supple, precise wines built around heady layers of perfume, spice and mineral freshness. You don’t come here looking for super-ripe, full-throttle Rhône Valley. A student of the great vignerons of the northern Rhône’s past—Raymond Trollat, Bernard Faurie and Robert Michel—his choice of site and traditional winemaking (natural yeast, whole clusters) evoke a style of invigorating old-school classicism that is increasingly hard to find in the region today.

 

The moderate 2021 vintage played right into Jean-Baptiste Souillard’s hands. The reds are elegant and layered with long, athletic structures, freshness and moderate alcohol. He sums up the vintage by comparing the wines to those from 2014—one of his favourite years. “Personally, I love it,” he says. And so do we. If you are looking for classically styled northern Rhône Syrah free from flamboyant ripeness and winemaking excess, this is your address.

The Wines

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