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The Wines

Syrah (1919) on 2.5 hectares on low slopes on quite deep sanded granite soils on Champelrose, with Syrah (1998-99) on 1.8 hectares on sanded granite soils on Champelrose, destemmed, 3 week steel vat vinification at up to 30-32°C, pumping overs, cap punchings, aged 1-3 year 228-litre oak casks 14-16 months (before mid-2010s aged 25% new, 20% 1-year, 55% 2-year 228-litre oak casks 14-16 months – until about 2004 was aged 2-3 year oak casks), fined, filtered, “the vineyard doesn’t suffer in drought, and the wine has less tannin than our Eygas or Sabarotte”, 20,000 b


full red robe; the bouquet gives an easy style of Cornas, rather an instant wonder, has a stewed red fruits aroma, a note of meat stock, a sweet furnishing. The palate bears supple content, undemanding tannins, is a commercial, mainstream take on Cornas. It continues with a safe delivery, but fails to inspire. There are late floral notes. It is bottled already, and I am sure will be drunk in the region this Christmas. It will show more Cornas length, freshness from a couple of years, but the early bottling renders its wings rather clipped overall. From 2021. 2033-35 Dec 2019


dark red. Has a nicely loose, open, refined bouquet, nudges of oak in it, with a blackberry-loganberry presence, a powdery tone to it also. The palate gives an enjoyable wave of berried fruit, threaded with a mineral line, becoming more ferrous as it goes. This is modern, well made Cornas that carries discreet depth in its juice, and local ID also. The finish brings some oak, notes of violet preceding it. Day 3: genuine, has style, excellent purity, a savoury, oily mid-palate. It’s most appealing, very clam, perfumed, damned good now! It’s close to ****(*). 13.5°. 2039-41 Apr 2020

2016 ()

(steel vat, bottling in 10 days) dark red robe. Raspberry fruit some sweet intensity, a liqueur style, shows on the nose; it is smoky, with darkness beyond. The palate sets off running via blackberry, blueberry fruit, crisp tannins giving it momentum. This is ebullient Cornas, in a primary state now. The close is tarry, clear, salted. It has decent depth for ageing. 14°. From 2019 for me, but it will be drunk earlier in Paris. 2028-30 Nov 2017


(casks) deeply set robe, very dark red. The bouquet has a certain style, a neat roundness of black berry fruit with an oily ripeness, licorice also. The palate bears cosy, tasty, open black fruits with supple tannins that are fresh, lightly salted. The fruit persists with fine droplets. It is more open than most, so drink from spring 2018. 13.5°. 20,000 b. GB £249 12 b i/b Clarion Wines info@clarionwines.co.uk www.clarionwines.co.uk +44(0)208 747 2069. 2029-31 Oct 2016


(casks) shiny dark robe; the nose has a brewed intensity, a note of reduction. Buffed black leather and pepper also circulate, a salty tang in with its black fruits. The palate commences with a savoury, enjoyable roll of content, a bonny gras. It has a mineral, cool tone along the late stages, a little Cornas hit from that. This will be elegant and pretty true Cornas from a mild vintage. From 2018. 2025-27 GB £88/6 b in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015


full, deep robe, black hued. The nose is round and deep, has a full air of savoury black berry jam fruit, like a thick fruit paste. It breathes some power from within, hints at a floral association. In similar vein, the palate is closely coated with a compact black fruit flavour, prune in the equation. The finish mixes roasted notes with a sturdy stone fruit and a hint of rose petal. This is solid, unshowy Cornas whose strength comes from within. 13°. From mid-2018. 2029-32  Oct 2015


(casks) sober dark red, some black in it. The bouquet has a big, grilled frontage – this is Meat n’Potatoes Cornas, ahs the broad chest of yore, a deep-set black fruit. This is weighted Cornas, feet on the ground. The fruit isn’t in the clear yet – there are flashes of black fruit, black olive, has a near southern disposition. The full finish is chewy and has implicit strength. This reaches out fully. A gutsy wine to drink with red meat, venison. From mid-2016. 2028-29  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(casks) dark red. Meaty, upright nose with oak-smoked black fruit at its centre, licorice – it gives an image of small ripe berries. The palate gives fluid black fruit that swishes along, taking on oak and tar from half way. It ends on black cherry, oak. Juvenile wine now. From 2015. 2023-25  Nov 2012

2010 ()

(casks) very dark robe, inky depth. The bouquet is wide-shouldered, reaches right across, is based on rather violet-trimmed prune for now; some pine airs here also. Ripeness runs ahead of vivacity in style, has depth. The palate is woven with oak – here is a modern, clear fruit Cornas that is correct, even if international. It runs straight along, the length is good, the fruit remains juicy, has a good, lip-smacking length. Oak-tar tang on the aftertaste. From 2014. It will be more local from 2017. 2026-28 Nov 2011


a magnum: dark red. Has a funky, on the turn bouquet that is into game, stewed red fruits, touches of salt, primroses-spring flowers. The palate is red-fruited, gives a supple serving, enjoyable gras with a serene roundness. The mid-palate holds well, and it stays nicely rich to the end, where there is a pocket of fine tannin, the aftertaste lip-smacking. This is satisfying, shows the sun of the vintage, but that isn’t at all in excess. “The vineyard was originally planted in 1918, then re-planted in 1938 after a frost attack. They are quite heavy, powerful soils that don’t fear drought. This never has as much tannin as our other two Cornas from Eygas and La Sabarotte,” Laurent Courbis. 2036-38 Cornas, Dec 2019 Previously Nov 2010 ***(*) (casks) bright enough, quite a dark red. Intense, concentrated raspberry liqueur aroma with a nutty, elevage/raising in process surround, and notes of sweet black raisin. Good, supple debut to palate – it widens immediately, has a fleshy nature, ends on powdery, fine grain tannins, nothing overdone. A touch of the traditional about this – there is a low beat of game in the flavour. It's a bit dry at the end, but savoury, sweet herbal moments suggesting it can work itself out. From spring 2012. 2026-28 Nov 2010


ONLY ONE WINE – “CORNAS” - THIS YEAR (the Champelrose part of the wine) mild red, mauve colour; honey, baked, just raised aroma, black raisin, has enough depth to evolve. The palate leads on its elevage as well, holds blackberry fruit within, is a trifle stretched. Oak tar dominates the finish. 2018-20 Dec 2009


dark robe; has a toffee-oak aroma, with ground coffee markedly present and sweet black raisins. A combination of blackberry and oak greets the drinker right from the start; there is clean fruit within. The last stage is given over to oak – charcoal-tar influences. This has body for the future, but access – how it will be - to its later truths is not easy to define now. There is prune, blackberry and violet in the early taste at present. From late 2010 or 2011. 2019-21 Dec 2008

2006 ()

(casks) quite dark, full robe; there is a blackberry jam air in the bouquet, with a little floral charm – has received some refined oaking. The palate starts with a supple texture, led by a bonny raspberry flavour that is nice and generous: has a good, easy flow. This is good, mainstream Cornas, a safe bet. Has nice, clear fruit and good length. Its tannins need 18 months to settle down, so drink from mid-late 2009. 2018-20 Dec 2007

2005 ()

(pre-bottle) nutty, black fruits, savoury elements in a smoky bouquet – the black fruits are sleekly modern. Soaked, quite rich start to palate, has rich sides, too. Flavour is cherry, presents easy and early drinking with plenty of fruit driving it along. There is a nutty bit of late tannin. Comes in a ‘get at it and go’ style. To be bottled Feb 2007. 2018-20 Dec 2006

2004 ()

sound red, some black traces; mixture of coffee, meat, berries, flowers on the nose – they come with minerality and restraint, a 2004 characteristic. The start is tasty – this is on song now – is an expressive wine with a good thread of acidity. Not that profound, but drinks well, with good length now. “Very tender, feminine this year,” Laurent Courbis. To 2015. Oct 2007 Previously Dec 2006 *** fairly full, matt red. Raspberry aromas, with some briskness in the bouquet, and suggests it will turn to a gamey nature quite soon. Easy fruited palate, with clear moments, isn’t especially full, has lithe tannins. Quite a sympathique wine, shows some late jam flavour and can be drunk OK from mid-2008. 13.5°. 2015-17 Dec 2006 Previously April 2006 *** smoky, black fruits aroma with oak present. Full, live flavour, the black fruits travel in a direct line. Delivers a direct message, and needs leaving till 2008-09 to vary beyond that. More feminine than the Eygats, and I don't think needs so much oaking in its making. Refined style. 2019-21 April 2006


(cask) aromatic, ripe fruit nose. Suave, quite fleshy, ripe wine. Rich, not especially tannic. 2007 on. 2017-19


black fruit, smoky, live bouquet, quite full. Well-composed black fruit, tannins present, with acidity. Likeable early fruit, leave till 2007 to come together. Fair length. More here than before, going the right way. 2015-18


violet, cooked fruit, reduced nose. Pleasant attack, subdued tannins, some pepper at end. Fair weight. 2006 on. 2016-19


quite firm, pebbly/peppered nose; lissom, elegant attack, good juice, very good core. Red fruit with meaty parts. Great as young wine, but is serious. Some oak. Esp 2007 on. 2015-17


grainy, earthy/fungal nose. Open, lightly peppered palate. Cooked fruit persists. 2012-14

1997 ()

quite soft aroma, almost floral, accessible. Palate also approachable, but reserves its stuffing for the end. Nice, squelchy fruit. Charming. From 2002 onwards. 2009-12