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The Wines

mainly Chaillot (1914 Syrah), plus Mazards (1959, 1961), wild yeasts, whole bunch 2-week fermentation, manual cap punching, aged 5-year plus 600-litre casks 14-18 months (reduced from 16-24 months in early 2000s), unfined, unfiltered, organic wine, 10,000 b

2017 ()

this was bottled for the Cornas Marché, early Dec 2018; the rest, 92%, will be bottled April 2019. Dark robe, black tints, crimson on the top; the nose is well upholstered, has a rich depth, blackberry fruit that gleams, is inviting, gives a sunny Cornas. There palate hands out a good stream of black berry fruit with rolling tannic prompts, good powder fineness in them. This is very good. The fruit and the tannins are lucid, and there’s a grand gain in assertion, just as it should. 13.5°. From 2021. 2038-40 Dec 2018 Previously March 2018 **** (used 600-litre cask) shiny, full black-purple colour. There is the grilling of the sun on the nose, soaked Morello cherries and crème de menthe, just a hint [welcome] of iodine. The palate is well fired up – bam, off it goes, is a deep affair, a slight rolling juggernaut, black olives of southern lands in the picture. This is an atypical year. There is a mite of mineral right at the end. Time to reach for the knife and fork for this max density style wine. 13.9°. “Chaillot lacked rain – there was a poor budding, then drought, which left the yield at just 16 hl/ha. 2016 has better balance," Franck Balthazar. From 2023. 2037-39 March 2018

2016 ()

(bottling in five days) dark robe, mixes red and black. There is sultry promise on the nose, airs of crushed black fruits, roast beef depth, keen lines of cassis-blueberry, a wee note of smoked bacon. There are great shafts of fine sunlight in the bouquet. The palate is coolly fruited, has real wavy elegance, is sumptuous and sustained, This is very belle (rather than beau), super fine, well balanced, comes with some tannic cut and depth, delivered with a velvet glove. The attack is up and live, holds great fruit; it lengthens with brio, has a finely mineral tune in closing, violets on the aftertaste. The mineral comes along by stealth. There is great transparency of terroir in this STGT Cornas. From mid-2020. 2034-36 Mar 2018

2015

very dark robe. The bouquet has an aroma of soaked black cherries, a bit of noble Volatile Acidity, has a plunge in its layered offer of fruit. The palate expresses a steady run of tingly black fruits with a menthol, crisp pick-up from the tannins. The finish is deep, with the tannins inside its ample matter. It isn’t like 2010 which was fresher for me – this is layered, profound, with a flavour of liqueur cherry and violet aromatics, good fusion to come. It has excellent length, leaves a big impression. There’s a big mineral surge on the finish, along with black olives and inkiness. 13°. From 2022. 2038-40 Mar 2018

2014 ()

(used 600-litre cask) dark red robe. Has a curvy, supple fruit aroma, a tender air of raspberry and blackberry. There is a little more to give behind that current façade. The palate is aromatic, quietly sunny, round. This is spherical Cornas with mild tannins, squeezy fruit. It is enjoyable, without barrier to entry. The fruit resembles black berry, light blackcurrant. The tannins are extremely soft and implanted, and there is a nice lap of late fruit on the exit. “It is similar to 2004”, Franck Balthazar. 2027-28  Jun 2015

2013

dark, inky robe. The nose wanders a stimulating path of violets, black berries, with acetate still in play: this is serious, is a deep bouquet. There are airs of black cherries and licorice, and some mystery adds provocation. The palate wells up with an abundant offer of black berry fruit, a note of prune; the tannins are ripe, and leave a little powder. There is an aromatic thread that is delicately placed along its run. Very good, cosy and wholesome, harmonious wine. It can be drunk from spring 2016, for example, thanks to its balance. Decanting a definite option. “It is a beau vintage,” Franck Balthazar.  2027-29  Jun 2015

2012

dark red robe. The aroma is silken, gives airs of suave cassis and raspberry, blackberry jam, a note of licorice. The palate is gourmand, open and evident. It bears fluid fruit with a gradual pick-up of light tannin. There are aromatic pockets along the palate. This ends on a jam fruit finale; I find it in transition between youth and second stage, and Franck says it works best when opened for 24 hours. It is suave wine with sound body, pretty genuine, the late juice fine. Bottled April 2014. 2026-27  Jun 2015 Previously Dec 2013 **** bottled 2 weeks ago for the Cornas Marché; dark robe, black tints. Attractively scented crushed berries aroma that runs a light mineral trail, gives soft floral notes such as violet, is a precise start. This is elegant, bears good, clear fruit, has a simple harmony that ends with a pucker of fine tannins, really fine tannins. There is a tiny vegetal touch near the finish, the whole bunch influence. The fruit is very pure. This is notably elegant. From spring 2015. The main bottling will be in April 2014. 13°. “It is very elegant, rounded,” F Balthazar. 2024-25  Dec 2013 Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) (600-litre cask, 10 days old) peppery front air with round black fruit behind. Good line of fruit along the palate, has peppery tannin, a grain end. (600-litre cask, 13 days old) bright dark red. Has a curvy air, ripe fruit in a sleek, pleasing style. The palate bears three-quarter depth red fruit, gains tasty tannins at the end, the length is sound. 2026-28 at this very early stage  Nov 2012

2011

(600-litre cask, bottling April/May 2013) bright, dark robe. Has a good, running aroma full of red fruit verve, oiliness; there are minted, licorice, match smoke, wax and blackberry all fused into it. The palate attacks on red fruit, is tasty and consecutive. The fruit is sleek and intense, the balance good, the tannins mostly inside its frame. It ends with bright clarity. Stylish, fruit-filled Cornas with Burgundian finesse. 13.2°. 2029-30  Nov 2012

2010

thick, Cornasien robe, full. Big, oily, saturated bouquet that has a 1990 richness, gives the image of red meat strength – there is packing here. It is a very complex nose, with violet and polished leather involved as well, has a lot to show. The palate has a black berry drive, has acetate in it as well. It shows savoury, meat gravy features, is compact, but extends a long way. The black fruit is squeezy in this Big Beast Cornas, that bears black raisin, some brioche sweetness until the end grain enters – this resembles oak, but isn’t. The palate will need leaving until 2017 or 2018 – it is robust and demanding now, its deep-seated matter leading into a glowing end, which shows the strength of the vintage. “I noticed in 2003 that the concentration and the tannins made the wine seem it had new oak in it – a little the same this year,” Franck Balthazar. 13.5°. 2032-34  Nov 2012

2009

(casks) quite dark red; there is a good curve of depth in a soaked cherries aroma, comes with some bosky, pine airs. Wholesome black fruit on the palate – there is rich gras around it, a nutty note towards the finish. A well-centred wine with good gravity, is not flash at all. The richness is tasty, profound and widens well on the finish. Its tannins are well integrated, and herbal moments come through on the end, plus sweet notes such as date and fig. Very fine fruit allied to a local nature = spot-on wine. From 2013. 35 hl/ha yield for this. 2025-27 Nov 2010

2008 ()

bottled three days ago, only 7,500 b this year. Mid-depth red robe; Smoky, direct nose – raspberry fruit within – it isn`t ample, comes with pockets of mineral. Live red fruit lies on the palate, gains as it goes, is always running directly. It ends clearly, has composure, is a fine, successful 2008, an STGT wine. “I didn`t think we would get to this level – it has improved with time just helping it along. The crop was 13.7°, but it had only gone down to 13.1° after the vinification, which was surprising,” Franck Balthazar. 2017-19 Dec 2009

2007

the 1st bottling, the rest will be done in four months – April 2009: bright, black-mauve robe; good, wide, rather elegant fruit – close-knit blackberry, the fruit is clear. The palate kicks off with decisive fruit, has a nice tinkle to it, but is closed now after only two weeks in bottle. The start shows a true Cornas fruit that comes with a crisp touch. It lengthens steadily, and reveals clear black fruit on the finish. Good, pure wine with a good grain in it. 2018-19 Dec 2008

2006

NOTE: I have had another bottling or version of this – where I have found Brett – maybe that was the 2nd bottling. bright, interesting black-mauve robe; the bouquet holds a good core of black fruit, with some mystery, and sound depth – potential for more here, too. There is very elegant palate fruit that flows well – is lucid and prolonged. Has great fruit purity and poise, and a good late ball of richness comes through, all in an orderly way. Is a wine to provide elegant pleasure, and reflects its place as well – STGT. The tannins are soundly inset, and the fruit is back on track on the finish. Great fruit here. 13°. 2020-22. This bottled 17 days ago. Dec 2007 “It has been open all along, and is less tannic than 2005, more on its fruit,” F.Balthazar.

2005

black robe of cherry and purple, with legs down the glass. Has a rich, full nose – black fruits that are very tight due to its youth. The palate moves on a good, straight run, has a cool tone to it, good character. Touch of vegetal towards the finish – indicates whole bunches. The air and some heat soften it, and brings out greater richness that is nicely controlled. Air also brings out its tannins. Leave until late 2009. STGT wine. 13°. 2020-23 Dec 2007 "The 2005s are more concentrated, more masculine and darker than the 2004s." F.Balthazar. Dec 2006 Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) dark robe; ripe black fruit aroma, with a bit of high tone. The palate has a ripe, full start, and its tannins come along early and fully: are imposing just now. Touch dry on the finish. A low pressure day today, and hence the tannic content in this young, forceful vintage is to the fore. Dec 2006

2004 ()

good, bright robe. Earthy, fundamental bouquet - core Cornas typicity; some violet and damson. Juicy, black fruit start, fruity and wholesome. Tannins appear on cue, and are surrounded by some good matter. Plenty to come. Black fruits-leather combo on finish. STGT wine. Esp 2008 on. 2019-22 Dec 2005

2003

magnum: quiet, discreet fruit on nose, there is latent dimension below a floral, plum, even grapefruit layer. Broad appeal on start of palate, widens and fills the mouth, wine with clear definition and a tinkle of mineral. Good juice in the fruit, is harmonious. Good local feel, STGT wine, with the roundness of the year present. Good length, a genuine wine that is showing well now. 2016-17. October 2005 Previously (cask) ***(*) violet/stewed fruit/tobacco nose; open, springy fruit, expressive with nice tannins at end. Meaty, has cut. Good early, also 2007-08 on. 2018-20

2002

medium depth robe; smoky, Cornas dry, red fruits bouquet. Calm, easy scented fruit, good purity. Elegant, pretty lesser scale wine. Correct mineral side. Fruit good now, or from 2007 for more variety, game presence. 2014-16

2001

raspberry/violet/earthy clear bouquet; robust ripe fruit, good cut. Ripe, well-set tannins. Pure wine, fresh end. Classic year. 2006 on. 2018-21

2000 ()

sappy, authentic old school nose, very stewed fruits; air tidies it, fleshy with tight tannic restraint. Some end heat. 2006 on. 2011-14