Syrah (some 1890, some 1915-20, mid-1950s, 1970s, 1980s) from 15+ plots, whole bunch open concrete vat fermentation over 11-12 days at up to 30-33°C, light twice daily pumping overs, twice daily foot cap punching at same time, aged used 6-18 hl barrels 22-25 months, fined with 1 egg white for 400 litres, unfiltered, 15-18,000 b
a couple of examples, the first Mazards & Pied la Vigne, since the sugars have finished: **** dark red, full robe. Red fruits, sunny styling, bundles of raspberry, inky spots – sun in the glass here. The palate is cooler, on iron-blood, red fruits, has spine and decent length. It ends on iron, vegetal touches. 25 years 2) (Reynards, the old vines, 4 gm of sugar still to ferment, “it’s stable now, will end its fermentation in the spring,” O Clape) ***** very dark; there’s violet trimming around the nose, black berry fruit, ripe and plump it is, gleaming, has a thorough depth. The palate gives a broad, surging style wave of thickly juiced fruit. This has real mass after half way, scaled content, leans towards 2015 in that sense, density. This is intense, with only a little terroir on show towards the finish. “It’s very full, even enormous,” Oliver Clape. From 2024. 32-34 years Dec 2018
a second inspection of the various plots, with changes to the combinations due to the lack of crop – 135 hl of Cornas, against the usual 220 hl. “We had to pre-assemble a bit this year, instead of raising each site on its own, in order to fill the vats,” Olivier Clape: 1) (Patou, with all of Tézier, and this is very like Renaissance, except that there is no Renaissance this year, as there’s not enough wine) **** dark robe; the bouquet gives blackberry fruit, black cherry, has a plush depth, the fruit less fresh than normal on Patou. There is acetate also – it’s a sun-filled start. The palate sequels closely from the nose via textured, warm climate black druits, generous filling, ripe tannins inset, the finish on fat. Its definition suffers from the richness, since this is very thorough, full, dense. “It’s unlike other vintages, except possibly 2009, but there was more tension in that,” Oliver Clape. 14°+ 22-24 years 2) (Reynards, young vines) **** deep purple-black, shiny robe. This has a creamy, curvy aroma centred on black cherry fruit, quiet nobility, wee acetate, licorice, black olives. The palate holds soft gras, is sleekly delivered, very silken; its tannins do well, and it’s a good ensemble, well-tuned, carries very belle harmony. Part of this would normally go into Renaissance. This is juicy and firm, with structure, is on mineral-iodine towards the cool finish. 24-26 years 3) (Mazards, the low part of Pied la Vigne, 11 barrel) ****(*) full red robe; the nose is slinky, on berry fruit, mulberry and blackberry, cassis, with a cool presence in back. The palate gives its mineral message early and well, red blood droplets, iron after half way. It grips well, has poise and strength, is STGT, bang on the money granite wine. The style is assertive, with marked, serious tannins in it. This is wine of steel. 25-27 years 4) (Sabarotte, plus the Robert Michel 40-year Syrah) ***** very dark; has a glistening nose, a throb of dark fruit, cherry, notably, and a big, ripe blackberries. There’s real style on the palate, the sève [sap] of old vines, a gliding flow, off we go. There’s iron with a hint of acetate in it, and it’s cool towards the finish. This is wine of velvet, most stimulating. 28-30 years 5) (60% Petite Côte, 1970s Syrah, 40% La Côte, 1950s Syrah – La Côte is never usually blended with this, is usually all in with Reynard) ****(*) full, dark red colour; has a blackberry, loganberry air, ripe bounty oiliness, a note of ground coffee, is a prolonged nose. The palate delivers fruit in waves, has silken moments, is not as fully as one as the others. There are red meat notes, solid juice; it’s less defined, and still finding its way, subdued, still getting together. This is engine room, not bridge of the ship, wine – the Engineer, not the Captain. There’s iron on the aftertaste. 27-29 years 6) (80% Reynards, 20% La Côte) ***** very dark; has a black cherry fruit, suave aroma of prolonged depth, drops of blood, sustained raspberry coulis airs. There’s a touch of the South, black olives, present. The palate is classy – it has a floral, rose petal side, a good charge of red fruits with spring in the tannins, lengthens with drive, gusto, is very long. This expresses terroir; there are shrouds of rippling fat flow around the spine. It will be excellent for giving the wine its flair and nobility. 31-34 years Dec 2018 Previously Nov 2017 ****(*) 1) (Reynard, 1986, a bit of 1989 Syrah, 12 hl barrel, a bit for Renaissance, most for the main Cornas, 3gm of sugar still to complete ) **** dark colour. There’s reduction, but clear fruit with depth on the nose, which can be bright. The palate has style, potential, good length, well woven tannins, good upholstery, is quite dense, violets floating around. This is 14.8°, high. 23 years 2) (Reynards VV, a bit of Bassenet above Petite Côte, 1.5 gm of sugar still to complete) ***** dark colour. Acetate but good style, dark red, mulberry fruit, fine floral airs on nose. The palate engages with gras, pedigree gras, has good grip and plenty of live tannins that are ripe, notably dense. It has good structure, is broad and founded, delivers good sizzle on the finish, and is long, too. 29 years 3) (Côte, Petite Côte, malo completed, sugars not yet) **** dark red. The nose is solid, has a line of mineral, grapey, lees and acetate. This is firm, chunky, a beefcake wine, very compact, with a tight tannic filling. 26 years “The 2017 is powerful, solar, but aromatically we are in the northern Rhône: 2017 isn’t a 2003. It is around 14.3° overall. We harvested between 3 and 8 September,” Pierre Clape. Nov 2017
crimson, dark red-black colour. This has a serenely fruited nose, blackberry and blueberry fruit, a sexy curve, a hint of dampness, iodine. It’s well together, will flourish. The palate is graceful and well sustained, flows with neat berry fruit, carries detail, with refined and accurate tannins that slot in with no fuss, right where they should be. It’s a very good ensemble, and well balanced to live well. This carries maximum appeal and elegance, serenity. I reckon it’s unlikely to close and become stubborn. “Like 2001, it will give over time,” Olivier Clape. 13.5°. 2045-47 Dec 2018 Previously Nov 2017 ****(*) 1) (Reynards, 1986, a bit of 1989 Syrah, 12 hl barrel, a bit for Renaissance, most for the main Cornas) **** dark red. Has a raspberry, bosky air, a hint of acetate, red cherry, kirsch on the inside. The palate is a mineral carrier, with a middle of good red fruits, is spiced, smoked. The juice is fine; it bears firm tannins, is a true Cornas from those tannins and their vegetal-mineral crunch. It is intricate, has good length. 24 years. 2) (Petite Côte, 1970s Syrah) dark, bright red. Violets, red fruits such as raspberry feature in a clear and bright, mineral aroma. The palate is willowy, lithe, upright, an upright gentleman of a wine; it has sparky late moments, good inner strength, character, good foundation. The close is dark. 26 years 3) (La Sabarotte) ****(*) shiny, dark red. The nose is firm, good and deep, has a hint of acetate, with raspberry liqueur, a ripeness that associates with La Sabarotte (as does the acetate). The palate issues a suave gras richness, most welcoming tannins so far – they have a squeezy, munchy nature. It extends well, with some flair, reaches out. The tannins are well inside for the most part. It builds in concentration and rockiness as it finishes. 27 years 4) (La Côte) ****(*) good, full red robe. Spice and sweet herbs feature in a rather southern-influenced nose, a sense of classy Pinot at its centre. The palate gives a stream of red fruits, some acetate, the fruit clear and well struck, with steely iron late moments. Good length, freshness. This holds good potential. 27 years 5) (Reynards) ****(*) dark red. Raspberry fruit with a slightly baked aspect shows on the nose, which has inner concentration, very tight packing. The attack is good and wide, offers a flourishing display of small red fruits, plenty of live mineral in the offer. The whole bunches declare on the finish via crunch-vegetal notes. The tannins are well founded, the grain on them very tight. 26 years. OVERALL ****(*) From 2022 for the assembled wine, which will have good, well established heart, and some kicking tannins when young. The freshness of the year should be apparent. 2042-44 Nov 2017
dark robe. The mineral glint of Cornas lies at the heart of the bouquet, dead centre, like a gold tooth in the Baddie’s grin. There is a gunflint grapiness, licorice, a hint of acetate, clear red fruits, violets: the nose is well varied. I also find acetate on the palate, which distracts; it is tight but well filled, has a core of great concentration, with a relative elegance in the shape on the second half. The attack leads on a clear strike of red fruit, raspberry, red cherry. It ends on a classic Cornas crunch, mineral, pumice stone. This is not a big, black-fruited monster, is a lithe wine, very Cornas. “A lot of people think 2015 is a great big year, but it has elegance also. If you move the wine – racking or bottling - it is quite open; once away from its bottling on 15 October, a month ago, or racking, the firm structure comes back fully. It will close down quite quickly,” Pierre Clape. 13°. From 2023. 2046-49 Nov 2017 Previously Oct 2016 ****** 1) (La Sabarotte, Syrah 40-50 years, pre-racking, 12 hl barrel) ****(*) dark robe. Lees, acetate, crunchy dark fruit show on the nose. This is notably firm on the palate, a grippy wine with baked notes, extended and very good length. Very solid. 28 years. 2) (La Côte, 60 year Syrah, cooler than La Sabarotte, high, draining soils, 12 hl barrel) ***** dark robe, black and purple. Black cherry, lees, acetate again in a bouquet that breathes inner strength – it comes at you without hesitation, drives out well and solidly. Very good core juice on the palate, the length also very good. Black fruits, blueberry, licorice here. It holds crisp, still searching thrust in its tannins. This can be well balanced and imposing. Very good. 30 years. 3) (Reynards, av age 80 year Syrah, some 110 years old, 12 hl barrel) ****** bright dark robe. Blackberry and cassis fruit feature with verve and are sleek and thorough on the nose. It purrs with well being, gives a hint of black olives, such is the ripeness. The palate hands out classic granite old vine sève (sap, oil,y vinous old vine richness), with violets. A bingo STGT wine – the granite and the sève together. It is perfumed, fascinating, sultry and deep, has major quality. 37 years. Previously April 2016 1) (Tézier, Syrah 20 years old, 18 hl barrel, going into the Renaissance Cornas) **** dark red. Has a big, outward nose, with game, blackberry, reduction, is well filled. The palate is on acetate, dark berries, sleek black cherry, comes with late cut, violets, is long. Its grainy close is well inset. 24 years. 2) (Reynards, young Syrah, going into the Renaissance Cornas) **** dark robe. Violets, smooth fruit airs such as plump blackberry show on the nose. This is stylish, holds very beau fruit, a finesse of tannin. It is tasty, especially on the finish – there is real juice there. Very good, has charm and depth. 23 years 3) Mazards, Syrah av age 60 years, based on 1910s Syrah, flat, deep ground) ****(*) dark robe. Mulberry, soaked cherries in a coulis style on the nose, which is relaxed, has some easy flair. Sumptuous fruit on the palate, along with elegant gras, then a rush of tannins. There is a floral thread and hover here. 28 years. 4) Petite Côte 1970s Syrah, (middle of the hill) ***** full robe. Red meat, sweet herbs, lavender, mystery on the serene bouquet here. This is striking, Pinot-esque, holds fine gras, snug fit tannins and juice. It ends with a fine tannin. Burgundian qualities, finesse here, has very good balance. “It was very slow to finish its fermentation, and still had 1.7 gm of sugar in January 2016,” Olivier Clape. 29 years. 5) (La Sabarotte, av age 60Year Syrah) ***** full, dark robe. Unctuous bouquet, blackberry, light meatiness, a pitter patter of black cherry fruit, raspberry. This is suave, well-knit, a gliding wine that holds buoyant, supple, very fine powder tannins, is supremely well composed. It is very good, gives very expressive red fruit emphasis. The tannins show more than on Petite Côte. It’s very long. 31 years 6) La Côte, 1950s Syrah ****** full robe. The nose is closed but has full potential, has a tiny game note, is very curvy and profound. The debut is complete, and never eases off, continues with great purpose, filling. This is serious, long Grand Vin with fine quality juice, delicate grain tannins, all as one. It is extremely well balanced, and cool. 34 years. 7) Reynards, first planted 1885, with replacements, now 60-80 years) ****** this is even superior to La Côte! dark red, purple hue. Has a gently curved aroma that offers mild, subtle black cherry, deep raspberry, a touch of smoke, red cherry. The palate serves broad, dainty fruit with violets, springy tannin. It ends on violet, plum fruit, is majestic. There is utter mid-palate pleasure, what a Grand Vin. It is the complete package with perfect balance, is extremely persistent. 38 years. As a footnote, it’s remarkable that the yield was 38 hl/ha this year, and the wine so brimming with richness. 2014 was 24 hl/ha, 2013 18 hl/ha, by contrast. OVERALL ****** the heart and core of this future blend is so secure that it must rank as a top, top vintage chez Clape, one that will live for an enormous time. The depth is along the 1990 lines, but there is finesse very much in the picture as well, and supremely gourmand tannins. Good to buy this in magnum. An ideal present for a new born child, or god child, along with a newly planted olive grove, of course. 2053-58 April 2016 Previously Dec 2015 *****a preliminary rating with just the wine from Reynards, both young and old vines, tasted for a sighter: 1) Reynards, young vines, sugars, malo completed ****(*) full, dark red. There is a lot of aroma from a distance, wow! It has a rich raspberry air, coulis in style, and persists. The bouquet will be great, lots of fruit. The palate is rich, with a touch of jam; it has the vintage density, develops crunched tannins. Its profile is good for the future – it goes long, and is nicely juicy on the end, with a citrus tang there. Lots of wine here. “It has explosive fruit, is punchy, has some freshness, and it moves a lot,” Olivier Clape. 2) Reynards, oldest 1890 Syrah, av. age 60 years ***** dark robe. Reduction shows in an ample bouquet, has an extract of berry fruits in a thick coulis form, near dates. It persists, is deep, presents raspberry with sweetness. This bears rockabilly, liberal fruit, silken tannins. It is amazing that this shows this way so soon. It is like a wine that has already lived two winters: it is all very well connected, has stable depth, very good balance. It is also very long – it really reaches for the sky. This will live for over 30 years. Dec 2015
the various sources tasted one by one, from younger to older vines; blending will possibly be in March 2016 with a 1st bottling in July 2016 (Kermit Lynch USA, Yapp GB), then the rest in Oct 2016. 1) young vines, 1999-2002, mainly Patou, a little Tézier ***(*) good, dark red robe. Soft blackberry, supple aroma. The palate gives bright fruit right away; it isn’t especially deep, has tarry but mild tannins, the length correct. Live wine. 17 years. 2) Reynards, 1988-89 Syrah **** full red robe. Acetate hovers over a blackberry aroma, the fruit well founded. The bouquet has a square shape, and is dark. The palate gets off to a steady start, offers good width of compact fruit, with likewise solid tannin. This has good crunch, firm fruit; terroir speaks here. 22 years. 3) Petite Côte, 1976 Syrah **** shiny dark red. Has a curvy raspberry fruit aroma which is attractively sweet, shows dried herbs, is slightly reduced. The palate is grilled, meaty, with fine, intense juice present. This has several different factions in play on nose and palate; it is interesting, rather complex, has good Pinot notes. “After the winter, I said to Dad, wow, this is Pinot and floral – it is powerful but floral and fine,” Olivier Clape. 4) La Sabarotte, 1960s-1970s Syrah ****(*) dark, shiny red robe. There is quiet intensity on the nose – red berries, raspberry, licorice, dusty plains and hay, violets. Acetate shows on the palate, which is full, stiff, holds a lot of inner core content, and builds very firmly on the close. Its gras is very fine. It is firm overall. It shows late flair, ends on the up. 24 years. 5) Reynards, oldest 1890 Syrah, av. age 60 years ***(*) dark red; good heart to the nose – a cassis intensity, layers of blueberry, with licorice. It has solid depth and width, is well packed and compact. The palate gives red cherry fruit, has a sleek style with grainy tannins from half way. It dries on the aftertaste. This is unfinished business; it has direct, linear content, and the finish lies outside the wine. “At the end of summer 2015, it re-worked again, made some gas, acidity came back and marked it, and it is now getting together again. The bouquet is very typical of Reynards – peony, flowers,” Olivier Clape. 23 years. 6) La Côte, 1955 Syrah planted by Auguste ***** dark red; warm, round air of blackberry, a bouquet of gentle security, with good style from old vines, airs of raspberry and licorice, a lot of elegance. The palate is serene, gives an effortless hand out of silken red fruits, en finesse, with lovely, cosy tannins around it, which just expand a little on the finish. This is classy. It has Pinot notes in it. Its tannins are twinned with its content. Very beau and well balanced. 26 years. OVERALL ****(*) this is moving well, with notable support from the old vines, whose fruit and content are classy this year. So it is a year indeed for the best terroirs. 2035-38 Dec 2015 Previously Jun 2015 ****(*) the various sources tasted one by one, from younger to older vines. 1) Petite Côte, 1976 Syrah, 13 hl barrel **** quite a full red. There is a touch of reduction, raspberry fruit, a tender and floral nose here – it is stylish, reminds me of Chambolle Musigny! The palate offers lissom red fruit – this is indeed becoming Pinoté. The early texture is smooth, and the tannins absorb into it well. This has balance, style and promise. 18 years. 2) La Sabarotte, ex-Noël Verset, 1930-35 Syrah, 10 hl barrel ****(*) shiny, quite deep red robe. The nose is more complex than the previous wine from Petite Côte, gives drifts of red berry, plump raspberry, licorice, rocks and their fissures. The palate extends most elegantly, all in precision. It isn’t obvious like a good Cornas. Red fruit served in small drops here. Very beau, classic, STGT wine. “It is very Cornas, with tannin, a certain freshness and minerality,” Pierre Clape. 20 years. 3) La Côte, 1955 Syrah, 10 hl barrel ****(*) red robe. The bouquet breathes strength from within – it gives a concentrated but hidden red berry fruit. The palate is well muscled, the content compact and tightly drawn together. It manages style with its close-knit depth. There are gummy, beau tannins of some chewiness. In rugby this would be a player from the scrum. It is well packed, pretty intense, long. There is a lot of wine here. 22 years 4) Reynards, oldest 1890 Syrah, av. age 60 years, 12 hl barrel ***** red robe. The nose is enchanting, gives a most inviting air of raspberry fruit served with delicacy and a primrose, rose petal sprinkle – there is an intricate set of aromas here. The palate gives stylish, perfumed fruit with finesse on the attack before tannins and a mineral clamp come along. There is fruit en finesse here, fruit that can only come from old vines. It has an interesting violet-tannic sign-off. 23 years OVERALL ****(*) this is set to be one of the full Cornas 2014s, with above average depth, and plenty of finesse. The fruit will be pretty delicious over time. It may have greater natural appeal than the more punchy 2013. 2034-37 Jun 2015
bright, shiny black and purple robe. The bouquet has a good oily quality, gives a well-ripened blackberry and black cherry, a touch of acetate with violets, blueberry, licorice. It is going to be a big do in time. The palate springs out well, has a second half that carries cool tannins, and a firm grip on its rocky close, a mineral gasp there. It is tight as a drum on the palate. This is hard core Cornas thanks to much intervention from the granite slopes, a full-on STGT wine. It ends in honourable fashion, with concentrated juice and tannins that carry florality. From 2024. 2042-44 May 2016 Previously April 2016 ****(*) this bottled October 2015; dark, imposing robe. There is a hover of violets on the nose, black berries and a close-knit couch of black fruits. With the floral dabs comes dried lavender. The palate gives the sense of concentrated juice from small, dried berries, a dark berry flavour along with mulberry, licorice. This is classic Cornas. From 2021. 2040-43 April 2016 Previously Dec 2015 ****(*) dark, robust, full red robe. This has a quality bouquet – a good surge of red fruits, has a floral sideline, attractive cherries, plenty to come in a generous manner. The palate starts quietly vis-à-vis the nose; it holds refined fruit and content, lots of juicy, liberal offering, blueberry with raspberry touches. Good inner strength tannins line the late palate, so it ends darkly, with concentrated juice there. Upright, promising, good typicity STGT wine. The length is good. This is very fresh, which means a long life beckons. “It ends frankly. Before it was blended, the tannins were serious, a bit hard, but the blending process brought roundness; we lost 30% at flowering,” Olivier Clape. 13°. Bottled July 2015. 2039-43 Dec 2015 Previously Jun 2015 ****(*) (assembled two months ago) dark red robe. Has a stylish, deep, swishy nose – it gives lots of black fruit, and simmered berries, an acetate note, some intense black cherry, smoke and tar. The palate cruises along well, the fruit sleek, well textured. It bears smooth, wholesome tannins – you can chomp on them well. This is a well judged combination of fruit, content, tannin, degree. It is stylish Cornas, with the pedigree for the future. “The tannins were quite hard post vinification. There was also a lot of acetate to start with in 2013,” Pierre Clape. 13.2°. 2033-36 Jun 2015
full and shiny robe, black with a purple top. There is a little acetate (I am sensitive to that, more than most) on the nose, which has a blackberry, yeasty air, which serves to mask the clarity of the fruit a little. It has a ground force, inner depth. Other contributors are violet, prune, cold tea. This is savoury, warm wine with ripe, still furry tannins inset. It is full of beans, pushes along with vigour. It’s at a slightly quiet moment as it starts to move past its primary phase and fruit. It is a full wine with density on the agenda, so isn’t typical at this stage – it will get there, though. The tannins have punch, drive as it breathes. From 2023. 2036-38 May 2016 Previously June 2015 ****(*) shiny dark red robe that is full to the brim. Smoky bacon features in a good, mixed nose that presents red fruits, coy raspberry fruit, a mineral umbrella behind it. This is a classic Cornas bouquet. The attack is suave, gives a polished run of red fruits, good detail, and it is also nice and clear on the finish. The tannins have a fresh, assured presence. It is not at all out and about for now, but promises an elegant glass, with Burgundian touches. It keeps going stealthily. I wonder if it will sing as sweetly as the 2006 after about seven years. Bottled October 2014. 13°. 2036-38 Jun 2015 Previously Dec 2013 ***** the various sources tasted one by one, from younger to older vines. 1) (bottom of the slope, flatter land on Mazards, Pied la Vigne, these two sources always fermented together, most into Cornas, some into Renaissance, 8 months steel tank, then 9 months barrel) **** dark red, shiny robe, dark centre. There is a note of acetate at first, lively cassis, vegetal. The palate has a packed in, quite wild bearing. It shows traditional intensity, has foundation. It is full of character, grounded and dark, with a good chewy finale. Pretty long. 18 years. 2) Petite Côte (late 1970s Syrah, barrel no 14) ****(*) sustained dark red. Oily, wavy nose – it glistens with soaked cherry fruits, shows abundant ripeness, airs of violet and smoked bacon. The palate links well to the nose after its fruit attack. Has really switched-on tannins, good quality, present no hesitation en route. It is smoky, with good lift in the fruit, goes a long way. 21 years. 3) La Sabarotte (barrel no 40, 1960s-1970s Syrah) ***** full, dark red. Properly lingering bouquet with mystery in it, holds a deep-seated crushed red cherry, wee acetate. The palate has a stylish attack, offers rolling, appealing black fruit with flowers and mineral sparks though it – this is offers great interest and also mental stimulus. A great STGT Cornas, a majestic wine. Golly, this is good. There is good dash in its fruit, its close-knit tannins have a complex flavour. From 2020. 24 years. 4) La Côte (1955 Syrah, planted by Auguste Clape, barrel no 32) **** dark, black-tinted robe. Acetate, deep-set black cherry aroma, a little violet, black coffee (“there was a lot more acetate last year,” Olivier Clape). The palate is stern, hewn from the granite, holds tight grip fruit and tannin. A Difficult Child wine. Its shape is rectangular and very grounded (“it is always very powerful,” Olivier Clape). A bottom of the pyramid, base wine for the final blend – build around this with the more silken wines. It ends on more liberty – a brief run of savoury red fruits, a good sign. Long wine. 23 years. 5) Reynards (av 60-80 yr Syrah, the oldest post-phylloxera, 110 years old now, the replacements taken from hand cuttings of the original vines, barrel no 17) ***** nearly 6 stars dark robe with a big centre. Hej hej – striking, filled, wholesome nose here, one that glistens with richness, its intensity towards chocolate in depth. It explodes with great expression, also involves rose, pipe tobacco, bacon, a multitude. The palate proffers mulberry, notably deep red berry fruits with oily, full tannins in attendance. Well-structured, broad, carries abundance. The fruit is very full, and there is a light touch of perlant freshness as it ends. “It will do a lot for the flesh, core matter and roundness in the final wine,” Olivier Clape. OVERALL: ***** one of those years where the wine combines depth, mystery and freshness, so will evolve very well, and provoke both mind and palate. The role of the old vine fruit from Reynards is important, acting as HQ, from which the satellite contributors can send their varied messages. 13°. €30 export. 2037-40 Dec 2013
dark red, with purple, legs visible. Blackberry and loganberry, big berries, feature in the nose, have a copious but cool make-up. It is very young, has a juvenile “brilliance”, shows some airs of black cherries, licorice. The palate offers bright black berry fruit with firm tannins pretty well tucked in. It attacks on blueberry, cool fruit. This is Slow Burn wine that is going along slowly. Leave it until 2021-22, so it can benefit from early secondary influences and greater variety – it is a bit monochrome just now. Once aired, it starts to crunch together as it finishes = meaning it is young wine. “It needs another ten years,” Pierre Clape. “It is a bit like 2014, with similar precocity – yields were good, with attractive grapes. The year had been complicated – the spring was cool, and summer was delayed until early August, then there was a rapid burst of heat around 11 August – that stressed the vines. The degree was there, but the acidities were a bit high, and when to harvest became a bit of a toss of a coin. In the end, we decided to go for early September. The wine is on fruit, gourmand in style. It lacks a bit of flesh,” Olivier Clape. 2034-36 May 2016 Previously Dec 2013 ****(*) two different bottlings tasted. I prefer the style of the later bottling, but both are good. 1) (end Octobtr 2013 bottling) ****(*) dark red, purple and black involved. Sympa, floral, clean-cut aroma with a winning harmony, the flower aroma resembling dried, pot-pourri. The palate is well-flavoured, open, tasty on the attack, takes on powdery, persistent tannins, ending on raisin and toffee. The mid-palate is really delicious thanks to seductive fruit. Good length, sound freshness. Drink from 2017. It will close after this early, flourishing moment, will group together more. The fruit travels a long way. 13°. 2031-33 Dec 2013 2) (end July bottling, goes to Kermit Lynch USA, Yapp Brothers GB) ****(*) dark robe, red and black tints together. Baked, black raisin, bacon airs – the raspberry fruit aroma is low-key, is dark berry in style, offers a nice sheen of welcome. This is tight, fibrous wine with darting fruit, clad in gummy tannins. It is more closed, also less mineral than the later bottling. Its solid heart will please, and its fruit travels rather far. Right now it is quite different from the later bottling. It ends on a succulent pastille fruiting, the fruit good and oily. From 2017. 13°. 2030-32 Dec 2013
sustained dark red colour, with its purple toning down. The bouquet is starting to vary and gain detail, has an oxtail depth, light meat stock, presents masses of black berries. It is full, abundant, also cool, not over sunny. It is a nose that captures bounty and freshness together, a mark of the quality of the vintage. Boy, this is good! Wowee. The most striking elegance and assured gras richness greets you; this is wonderfully, immediately a Grand Vin, it courses with a brilliant, all-round appeal, its balance primo. Its energy takes 10 years off one’s life. Thank you, Cornas Clape. It is still more vintage than terroir, but the ensemble is there for terroir in time. From, say 2025. “The 25-30 mm (1-1.2 in) of rain in August was a great help; the wine made itself by itself – all we had to do was the cut the grapes and put them in the vat, as we did in 1999,” Pierre Clape. “It has always been like this – it hasn’t budged at all,” Olivier Clape. 2043-46 May 2016 Previously Oct 2012 ****** dark, full robe. Pliant, savoury fruit aroma, blackberry at its centre, with trimming of smoke, tobacco, licorice and soft violet. There are some potentially graceful notes to emerge here – the bouquet is solid but capable of shift in the future, and a lot of variety and provocation. The palate coasts along, has a rolling appeal through it - for now, its black fruit is locked in, is low-key, and reminds me of 1990. There are encouraging hidden corners, while it finishes on the grain of Cornas. This will certainly not disappoint. There is lovely togetherness of its elements. No hurry whatsoever – from 2019. “It has the balance of 1990, but is a bit richer in matter, tannin and also degree – 14° against 13.5°,” Pierre Clape. “It can be more Cornas-marked, is hot, has terroir and freshness,” Olivier Clape. “You can wait for 10 to 12 years for this,” Pierre & Olivier Clape. 14°. Bottled 3 August 2012. 2042-45 Oct 2012
dark robe, black and violet-tinted, legs visible. The bouquet is almost violent in its delivery, shows acetate, has a big, deep heart founded around coulis, intense blackberry, with licorice, buffed black leather. It’s still a little rugged. The palate starts on a rich, thorough display of black berry, black stone fruits, courses with vigorous content, and holds nothing back; its richness goes deep. The tannins are bright, and are helping its late clarity. It is only half a wine. The finish is tangy, concentrated on a bite of darkness. It is a bit like 1999. From 2022. “This year we had fears that we were in for another 2003, but in the end, the vintage sorted itself out. We started the harvest on 2-3 September, we had a better canopy cover, having learned from the 2003 experience. The other factor that helped was 2008 and its legacy of high water reserves, so that allowed the vines to resists the drought this year,” Olivier Clape. 2036-38 May 2016 Previously Oct 2012 ***** dark robe; oily, succulent, air with a tempting richness; it has the sun of the south in it, is not at all hidden as many years can be, offers brimming black fruit. The palate picks up the sunny theme, the fruit stylish, the flavour wholesome, the texture flexible. Its tannins lie well inside the wine. The fruit is appealing, and loosens a little towards the finish, lets out some red fruit with grain in it – the end is thorough and well-knit. A grounded Cornas, not a reserved one, hidden only by its density rather than by its force of tannin. Time will release and spread it well. It will become more typically Cornas over time; for now, is tannins on the side go up and down, trying to make a Cornas statement, but are swept aside for now. From 2018. 14°. 2034-37 Oct 2012 Previously Dec 2009 ***** some different sites 1) Petites Côtes (late 1970s Syrah) **** full, purple robe. Reduction leads the bouquet – behind it lies fat, jam airs, similar to 2003. Full palate, delivers steady richness, a cherry jam, ends on assertive tannins. There is a lot of wine in the glass here, it is wide. “It was very hard, not that supple at first,” Auguste Clape. 19-22 years life. 2) Sabarotte (press wine re-added) **** full robe. Steady, lateral aroma, acetate, red cherry, is ripe. Interesting fruit start to this, length continues, good, solid finale. Finish is complete. 22 years. 3) La Côte (1954-56) still 2.6 gm of sugar, is 14.8° this year, high. Full, purple robe. Raisin, prune and some spirit and smoke on nose, baked airs. Forceful, firm red fruits with a glow on the end. Broad and grounded palate. “Our most Australian contributor,” Pierre Clape. 23 yrs. 4) Reynards (av 60 yr Syrah) ***** bright purple. Fine aroma, blackberry, elegant, attractive roundness. Measured berry fruit along the palate, leads to a firm ending. Just keeps its power under control. Has good grip, a fine texture. “It is good, but not really Reynards – the early astringence blocks the complexity, and a bit more raising is needed,” Auguste Clape. “It is more fresh and mineral than La Côte,” Pierre Clape. 14.3°. 22 yrs. OVERALL ****(*) or maybe ***** as the elevage in oak continues to meld it together. Well, a big wine this year – cuvées over 14°. Certainly rich foundations, with a degree of early austerity. Likely to be “impressive” when 6-9 years` old – ie will offer gourmand, rich drinking, even though it could become more complex after 10 years` old. To 2031-34, say. Dec 2009
plum red robe, a good central depth. This has a soft, gradually evolving aroma with plentiful spice, cinnamon, and a rounded florality. There is a semblance of red berry fruit inside; decanting will encourage it. It is expressive, and wants to run. This is handsome on the attack, delivers an immediate stimulus of dark fruits. The tannins have a little bite, and it ends on a glow of menthol. It is a little uneven along the palate, comes and goes. The overall final impression is of the cut of a cool year, the crunch of tannin and stems. It dips a little on the late stages. From 2019. “We had mildew in early June, and rain at the end of the month. July was beau, quite hot. In early September we had a lot of rain – 300 mm (12 inches), with 180 mm (7.2 in) in one night. We couldn’t get onto Reynard, and hired a digger to clear access. The grapes had been flattened by the force of the rain, so it’s a rainy, fresh, diluted year,” Pierre Clape. 2030-32 May 2016 Previously Nov 2010 ***(*) and **** from 2 bottlings; I prefer the later one. 1st bottling: bottled July 2010, for the GB market: red robe, some purple. Nice quiet heartbeat to the nose – it has a waxen air in its red fruit, also acetate (should burn off) and pepper. The palate starts a bit stiffly, goes up and down, is a demanding Cornas. I find it a bit like 1980 and 1981, but reckon it can get there. There is low key gras in this, hence the tannins are prominent. Discreet roundness on the end is helpful: thus – wait is the message. From 2013-14. 2026-27. “You can drink this with a rib of beef that is a bit spiced, or aiguillettes of duck (sliced duck breasts) that have not been too sugared. I recognise that this wine is not easy to match as it stands,” Pierre Clape. The second bottling from last week of October 2010: **** red, purple touches. Red fruits, rose-floral notes in a more suave nose than GB bottling – reticent style for now, is compact. The palate leads with cut red fruit, offers a gradual build-up of tannins, is more ensemble, more organised and more immediate than GB bottling. 2026-28. “It dips less in mid-palate than the first bottling, has a bit more complexity,” Pierre Clape. Nov 2010 Previously Dec 2009 **(*) different sites in cask 1) Petites Côtes * mid+ red; pepper, green, astringent aroma, rather tough. Tight, unyielding palate, I also find Brett here. “our most complicated wine this year,” P.C. 2) Sabarotte **(*) some brightness in the red. Red cherry, jelly, rather supple nose. Rounded red fruit, agreeable but not varied wine, at a naturally primary stage. Length correct. Can become more varied, a bit more. Decent late tannin, enough content to live over say 14 years. 3) La Côte *** bright red+ colour. Cornas character on the nose – black fruit with light mineral airs – this is more like a normal Cornas than the previous wines. Decent heart to the palate – red fruit with a line of tannin and freshness. The red fruit keeps going at the end. Compact drop, with a little horizon, say 16 years. 4) Reynards ***(*) quite bright red; acetate traces on the nose, with red cherry, kirsch, baked fruits, has potential. Tight, unyielding palate, a lot of tannin that is melded in with the fine red fruit that lies at its heart. Needs time. “It tasted a lot better at harvest time 2009, when 1 year old, “Pierre Clape; “it is more complex, the Reynards character comes through,” Auguste Clape. 12.9°. 16 years. OVERALL **(*) a wine that will need time, to sort out angular moments. There will be, I suspect, a little ball of low-key gras at its centre, but the fringes may be stiff until it is at least 6 to 7 years` old. A wine for the total enthusiasts, newcomers need not apply. 2023-25 Dec 2009 Previously Dec 2008 ** some different sites 1) Reynards (av 60 yr Syrah) mild red robe; reduction leads some round red fruit aromas; the palate has a little width, and grip from half way – ends on acetate, kirsch. Dry finale. 15-16,000 b this year Dec 2008
this is the 1st bottling (for Yapp, GB) quite a full red; inviting red cherry, kirsch hints on nose. A good line of fruit along the poalate, has tasty tannins. Not robust, but is balanced and rather fine. 2022-24 “It is not very powerful, but is quite fine,” Auguste Clape; “over time it will close. It is an honest year, has fruit, and is sympa,” Pierre Clape. 17,500 b this year. Dec 2009 Previously March 2009 ***(*) (the assembled wine) dark robe; the nose is rich, a front of house theatre job, shows some chocolate, big raisin and dates aromas. Its late air is clear, with a tiny bit of mineral to offset this forward early display. The palate also comes forward with no hesitation; its fruit is round in texture, not especially defined, and is more supple than usual – has less Clape Cornas cut. This is lovely Syrah, but not yet the typical style of this domaine. From 2011. 2025-28 March 2009 Previously Dec 2008 *** the different sites 1) young vines (1993-2002) on Patou, a bit of Tézier **(*) pretty full red; violet, rather silken fruit aroma. The fruit has a direct run on the attack – a definite Cornas nature here, the end is mineral, pebbly. “The last crop we picked this year – the grapes becoming mottled, withered,” P Clape. I like its clarity – it could have a minor extra fruit content. 2) Reynards (1989, 2 year barrel) ** sound red colour; pretty aroma – red jam. The palate starts on an acetate, red fruit note – the acetate from its yeasts. It ends rather austerely, dry – is tough, not open today. 3) same wine, older oak *** – mild depth in the red fruit aroma; grippy palate, tannins to the fore, a demanding Cornas, gives real raw access to the terroir. 4) Petites Côtes *** graceful, floral, red fruit, gentle fruit gums aroma. The palate fruit has a minor sweet appeal on either side of the palate, with a steady, not that deep middle. The length is OK. Attractive, if limited, fruit, and also ends a little suddenly. 5) Sabarotte *** solid red robe; bit reductive nose, cherry fruit in the aroma. Palate has a grainy thread along the red fruit – it is compact, texture is compact, but style of fruit is different from Petites Côtes – it isn`t a clear fruit. An engine room contributor to the final wine. 6) La Côte (1954-56) ***(*) full red, purple; black fruits aroma travels across the glass – a little pepper-licorice present, a fresh coating. Pretty fruit attack here – it grips at the end – this travels further than the previous wines. The red fruits have a twirl of freshness and a tannic crispness. 7) Reynards (av 60 yr Syrah) **** full red robe; red fruit, round style bouquet, with reduction in it – it keeps going, the red fruits are a bit jam-like, and there is smoky bacon in the background. This is a muscular sort of wine with a mineral thread through it; it has an enclosed, firm texture – this is 30% of the final wine. There is plenty of matter on the end – with its fruit obscured there by tannin for now. “It did show violets on the nose, but is gaining on the palate now. It will be slow to show itself,” P. Clape. From 2013-14 for this – no hurry – it will start out cautiously. OVERALL *** a wine that can intrigue over time, three-quarter depth vintage. 18-21 years of life. From 2013-14. Dec 2008
very full red robe which is stable, unchanged. The nose breathes abundance, is generous and well founded, has a silken note to its cooked blackberry and prune, has airs of violet and menthol attached. This is broad on the palate, brimming with its smooth texture and gras of high quality, all poised. This is a real sexy numero, with perfect harmony between its content and tannins. The tannins are very fine, and bring powdered detail to the also floral close. It is just getting going now. It has always been a very, very appealing wine. The fruit is delightful. “It is extremely young, even shows pre-fermentation notes,” Olivier Clape. “The summer was good, and harvest conditions were super. Olivier was in the USA for the harvest. It was quite an easy wine post-fermentation, and has alaways made progress. At the end of the vinification, the press broke down with two pressings still to do, which we therefore did very, very lightly for La Côte and Reynard, the old vines part of the wine,” Pierre Clape. 2035-37 May 2016 Previously Sept 2010 **** healthy, lustrous dark red – it is more purple than black-tinted. For a Clape Cornas at 4 years old, it has an open, willing bouquet – it mixes up burnt rubber, tar, black fruits, has a smoky top – there is depth in this. The palate is also open on the attack, draws in after half way, picks up some classic Cornas tannins that are a bit powdery now. Ends good and fresh – it is authentic, STGT wine – both pace and vintage are here. A loose-limbed, mineral wine, a child of air more than ground – the latter would be a 1999 or a 2009. I have granite slopes in my glass, with traditional, not spotless, virtues. Violets on the finale. It comes together after 30 minutes-plus, which adds to the fruit on the finish, allowing the fruit to overtake the tannins. 2028-30 Sept 2010 Previously March 2009 **** full robe; dark, classic Cornas nose – black fruits with acidity in the air, smoky wisps and very pretty mineral. The palate has the tight teenage Cornas mineral grip – it is an active dissenter, has very good STGT purity. Shades of the 1995 here – a tight operator, best drunk by the real super-dooper aficionados. Very direct as it stands today. From 2013 or so. 2029-31 March 2009 Previously Dec 2008 ****(*) 2 different bottlings tasted - ****(*) for the Sept 2008 bottling: full, dark red robe; enclosed, compact bouquet – promising red fruit with acetate. Tight red fruits on the palate, with good juice in the fruit – this runs with some spring in its step, and is nice and fresh at the end. Beau, has typical Cornas fruit. 2029-32. Dec 2008 **** for the late June 2008 bottling: full, quite dark red robe; red cherry aroma, with a pleasing, gradual width – while it has a fresh instinct, this bouquet is starting to be cautious. The palate fruit moves through a terrain of “hills” of tannin, the content is chewy. It ends firmly and tightly. It is enclosed, and would be a tough assignment for people who are not Rhône habitués. I would wait until 2012. 2029-31 “It is now a bit more closed than it was – it is less on its fruit than when we assembled it. It is not an enormous year for us, but is a wine for the future. It has cleaner fruit than the 2004, more matter than 1996, while 1991 had brighter fruit. It isn`t easy to find a parallel year for this,” Pierre Clape. Previously June 2008 ***(*) a year of balance, not grandiose. The top site of Reynards provides around **** - broad, ripe, oily notes in the bouquet. Fairly rich start to palate, restrained later on – quite a direct wine with some gras present. Tannins are ripe. Lacks a little punch in the interior. The 1950s La Côte is, say, *** - a full nose that is well directed with some restraint. Evident fruit on attack, wee richness, possesses sinew but is sudden at the finish. “Since 2003 this plot has suffered from drought. It should do well in 2007,” P-M Clape. The Sabarotte plus Genale was about ***(*) - ripe, black fruit with some pepper. Reserved palate but quite full. Compact richness. Young Tezier vines **(*) plum fruit with a firm inset – just a bit narrow, sound in its category. In the image of the year. “I think the 2006 will keep its fruit a long time,” A.Clape
good, full red, a dark plum colour. Prune, sweet spice, date, North African breezes show on the bouquet, which is inky, gives airs of pulp of squid, raspberry, a hint of lamb stock, a red meat depth. The palate is closely bound together on its stylish but reserved gras richness, and a fine funnel of tannin to extend it – there is a real good role of tannin here. It finishes on quietly intense juice, from within. This is still closely packed, has strength and amplitude. It finishes on sun-influenced, fleshy content. It isn’t yet really declared in its true shape and character – it’s at an in-between stage now. “Decant it. “It’s compact, has power,” Olivier Clape. 2037-39 May 2016 Previously Dec 2007 ****** the nose is a brooding, wholesome affair – there is real promise here: it reminds me of a young 1978, with a lot of potential variety and possibility. Spice, prune, oily dark fruits, chocolate are all mixed up together. The palate moves along steadily, its texture is really close, and it lasts very well. The tone is very clear, despite all its packing. There is an abundance of nuance – black fruits, spice, charcoal, rum, Christmas cake that all combine in its richness, and its impressively young finish. Grand Vin. The tannins are abundant, secure and pretty ripe. From 2011-12. 2033-35 Dec 2007 Previously June 2007 ****** full dark robe; wide, very appealing, big bouquet – what a goer! Has very good core – jam and fruit pastes. The palate holds red fruits with a little jam in the flavour; the fruit is mostly compact and nicely firm and enduring. The tannins come along on the second half, and are still quite crisp. Broad and great potential here. I sense some of the 1983 tannins here, but is a lot richer than that vintage. From 2010. 2030-34. Bottled 2 days ago. June 2007 “It`s more elegant than 1983,” Auguste Clape. “The wines seemed tough before their assembly, but now have a good balance – they are powerful but well founded,” Pierre-Marie Clape.
the robe is a still firm dark red, Victoria plum in aspect. The nose is interesting, more on sun, gourmandise than cool reserve. Prune and cooked blackberry show, with a wee hint of smoky bacon; it has a cosy depth, and is appealing to all comers. The palate holds squeezy gras to entertain, with prune and soaked raspberry present. There is a thread of menthol and spearmint. The texture allows it to glide along, all in a smooth register. Notably fine tannins come through on the finish, very neatly. This is very belle (rather than beau), and spherical. “The vineyard was dry, especially after 2003. The vines didn’t have many resources, energy. The leaves were attacked by bugs, and the vineyard looked dried, as if frost had hit it. The summer was hot, with storms, and rot came along. We harvested quite late, the 16-18 September with the help of a North Wind. The wine was very, very gourmand when young, and its cask raising helped it a lot,” Pierre Clape. 2033-35 May 2016 Previously Nov 2011 **** good dark red robe – legs and depth in it. Blackberry fruit that is nicely packed leads the bouquet, with polished leather, and mineral touches in its fresh outlook. The palate creeps along subtly, has a fine grain texture, discreet red fruit with a scent of violet; the violet also comes through on the nose with air. Has a measured spine, tar elements, the length is good. The balance is so good that this can be drunk and enjoyed solo, without food. The nose shows more fat than the palate. 2024-26 Nov 2011 Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) fairly deep robe with some black at its core. Broad, live bouquet, expressive berry aroma, and a little chocolate in there, too. Red fruits lead the palate, while its tannins give it an upright shape. The richness is present, but low-key. Lengthens well, with mint, chocolate at the end. Subtle, like the best 2004s at Cornas. It is a bit restricted on this drinking, and would qualify as a classic lesser vintage from the Clape stable. Certainly capable of getting together and singing a quiet tune. Esp from 2010. 2022-25 Dec 2006, tasted on two occasions the same day. Previously April 2006 *** (casks) open aromas at this stage, delightful berries, expressive red fruits, violets. Solid red fruits on palate, also pepper and sinew, the tannins are smooth until some mineral dryness on the finish. Length good, will come along. I suspect can move to ****. To 2022-25 April 2006
open two days: there is a little lightness on the top of the robe. A rich, immediate bouquet is led by strawberry jam, a concentrate of pastilles. The palate attacks on squeezy, sweet red fruits – coulis, liqueur in style, a strawberry jam fest with a straddle of tannins across it. It’s interesting, not orderly, is all over the place, no A-Z here. It has a flattering side, the tannins are typical of 2003, compressed, dry. It’s still well in the game, not oxidative; the old vines of Reynard are keeping it going. It is 15°+. “There was a bit of hail as well as the very high heat; even if we sorted so much, some Cornas went into the vin de table Les Amis. There were two hail strikes from the West,” Pierre Clape. 2032-34 Nov 2017 Previously May 2016 **** full plum red robe. The nose has reached a relative serenity, comes with soaked raspberries, and has found a certain Cornas harmony. Its sweet pastille style is of course very atypical. Its gives the image of big fruit lozenges. The palate has a flavour of soaked cherries, griottes, red cherries – the aroma springs out of the glass, a maximum air of griottes here. It is opulent, but continuous, not static. It doesn’t hold much mystery, is an open, gourmand book. The tannins have largely not fully softened . . so its balance isn’t 100% as it stands. It goes pretty long, is stable and laden. There is a risk of late dryness. “It never has been balanced,” Olivier Clape. “The total acidity was 2.8, while the Reynard pH was 4.2. The speed of ripening and the rise in sugars took us by surprise; there were yellow leaves everywhere. We had a bit of spring frost on the low part of the slopes, and hail at the end of July from the west, then it went straight back to the heat wave.” From 2020? 2031-34 May 2016 Previously March 2007 ***** soaked cherries, mulled fruit, black berry jam aromas with an earthy underlay; the bouquet has a very atypical chocolate presence, some very ripe elderberry, too. Black berry flavour with edge to it that brings a touch of spirit and mineral. Open now, this has an unbounded, sweet appeal. Interesting suggestion of Cornas terroir on the later stages where there is tighter grip. The end mixes griottes, soaked cherries, with chocolate. I expect this to close and tighten up eg around 2008-09. Tannins in 2003 are always the brooding issue: a veal dish softens its tannins, duck heightens them. Excellent with Beaufort cheese from Savoie. Drunk at the excellent Les Barmes de l`Ours at Val d`Isère, a 1 star Michelin treat. 2023-26 March 2007 Previously April 2006 ****(*) raspberry jam on a big, baked bouquet that is broad - a hot climate wine here. Red fruits lead the palate, the flavour is dense, licorice and some challenging tannins are present later on. There is richness deep within - that is its great hope. Nice, rich finale and some Cornas clarity there. Mirabelle plum, a sort of eau de vie effect, with prune at the end. Esp 2009 on. To 2022-24. "A life of 10 years is guaranteed, 15 years is probable, 20 years is possible if we look at years like 1982 as some sort of reference," Auguste Clape. April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 **** shaping up to be a wine with a lovely heart from Reynards, and not excessive in style. The best sites moderated the outlying ones. There are some chewy, full tannins. 2020-23 Dec 2005
charming, fine red robe. The nose combines floral airs with a pepper top note. It comes with tobacco, cool vintage associations, and there is a delicate aroma of raspberry within. The palate has a Nordic, soft red fruit outer with floral notes in its powdery tannins, touches of dried herbs, licorice present. There is a slight late glow. This is precise wine, closer to Burgundy than the southern Rhône, has Pinot qualities. It tells a charming story, is stylish and refined. “It drinks very well, is right on top form. Rain was forecast for early September. After those rains, it was humid and fresh, so the vineyards couldn’t bounce back. The sorting and discarding was extreme – it took 16 people one and a half days to cover the 0.6 hectare on Patou”, Pierre Clape. 13°. 2027-28 May 2016 Previously Dec 2007 **(*) dark red; attractive, measured, ripe red berry jam aroma, with a little smoke and mineral in the air. This is just at the end of its first stage of life. The palate delivers clear-cut fruit, and is softer than usual for a Clape Cornas. There are tannins from half way, and it ends a shade dry right on the finishing line. There is the usual Cornas grain from mid-palate on. It drinks well now – why not? Good wine for the CHR trade, ideal in restaurants. A sympa drop. 13°. 2018-20 Previously Dec 2004 ***mid-weight bouquet, red fruits, some fungal aspect. Pretty fruit, rocks off well, good definition. Some end weight. Can live, has acidity, length OK. Now to 2007, then will retreat as usual. 2018-22 Dec 2004 Previously Nov 2005, Berkeley, California ***(*) some darkness in the red robe. At first the nose is dusty, the fruit within withdrawn. Air frees it, broadens it, reveals red fruits and possible variety for the future. There are mineral glimpses, too. The palate attacks directly, arrows its fruit out, persists quietly, too. The length is OK, plus some nice breadth at the end. I can imagine this humming a fine tune around 2009. Subtle wine, but it has reserves to age. It is wine as it should be – uncluttered, humble, but quietly insistent. Its delicate fruit is very typical of Northern Rhône Syrah. Much liked by the tasters present for the launch of my book, The Wines of the Northern Rhône. STGT wine. 2018-20 Nov 2005, chez Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, California
dark plum robe. Smoked bacon, dark berry airs with cool tones, further menthol. There is a kind raspberry softness, flowers and a hint of coffee, also a grainy note from the stems. The palate glides well with a fine raspberry, mulberry fruit. This bears the cool of the vintage. It is a little reserved today; it is mineral-led wine with ways to go. It reminds me of 1995 in a lesser register. Concentrated juice, which is its heartbeat, peeks out of the rocky hillside, and gives the signal for its future. From 2018-19. “There was a bit of alcohol, but good richness to go with it. You dream of years like this vis-à-vis the crop quality – there was no stress, and vinifications were straightforward. The fruit was open until 2006, then closed, and the balance of its youth has not yet been re-found,” Pierre Clape. 2037-39 May 2016 Previously Sept 2004 ***** full robe; handsome, peppery, black fruit aroma, well founded. Elegant fruit, very good structure, classic tannins grow through it. Oiled texture then pepper and drier. Black fruit persists. Has length and width, very classic Cornas, STGT. 2024-28 Sept 2004
red robe with good core and a winning brightness. The nose is just edging into secondary stages, with cooked plum and touches of raspberry, wet stones, iodine. I find the bouquet quite resembles a Hermitage – it is en finesse. This has a lovely attack, a real sexy red berry fruit, all soft and pleasing. Its tannins are very snug inside. Violets and fine juice show on the finish, with trim, detailed tannin. A very bonny drink, poised and singing wine: grace in the glass. “There was a copious crop at first, but a lack of rain. You had to green harvest this year. There was some stress in the vineyard. Some dilution showed in the wine, but they emerged gourmands and faciles – they never closed, and I find this bottle is very joli today,” Pierre Clape. 2032-34 May 2016 Previously Oct 2010 ****(*) “2000 was always a super vintage for pleasure – it was never closed. We used to show it to visitors in the cellars, but we found stocks were getting low rather quickly. It has always been round and flattering, with precise fruit,” Pierre Clape. Sept 2012; magnum, Paris: the robe is still a good, complete dark red. The bouquet combines dark fruits, tobacco, prune fruit, its airs crisp. The palate is very well balanced, drinks with great, youthful clarity; there are mineral and dusty zones in it, very terroir specific wine. It isn’t a big Cornas, is more an elegant, full and authentic one. “The best Cornas I have ever drink,” Stephen Browett, Farr Vintners of London. 2024-25 Oct 2010 Previously Dec 2007 *** sound red robe, with some evolution. Has a sympa bouquet, with berry jam present, blackberry coulis and some raspberry most of all – it is not demanding, and even a bit 1-dimensional. Has an open, oily attack. This is an easy-natured wine, just a bit lacking in late tannic structure. It can stay like this for a while. “This was not a year of much tannin – and the wine was never closed,” Pierre Clape. 2018-20 Dec 2007 Previously Sept 2004 *** open, brewed fruit bouquet. Fruit gum flavour, three-quarter weight wine, gains width. Chewy tannins at end, licorice presence. Just skips a touch before finish. 2006 on. Less complete than in August 2003. 2019-23 Sept 2004
there is a plum heart to the robe, has a pale red top. The bouquet is sunny, has a blackberry-prune lead aroma, a cosy fat mixed in with sweet spice. It’s not fully on the go – there is variety to come. For now, there are touches of iodine and road tar. The palate proceeds very serenely from the nose, with a rich centre, and a sparkling run of mineral towards the finish. Its abundance is well directed, and it closes on mineral-floral grip. Terroir is now coming back to prevail over vintage. This is stylish, well formed, most handsome. It has a wonderfully salted finish, and is working its way towards being an STGT wine. “There is a note of chocolate on the finish. It was a good year, with no stress in the vineyard. Ripening was a little later than usual. The wines are well-balanced. All across the northern Rhône, ripening was on the mark around 15 September, at around 13° - whether it was Cornas, Hermitage or Côte-Rotie, all at the same time – it’s very rare to have that,” Pierre Clape. 2038-40 May 2016 Previously ****** dark, purpley. Red fruits, smoke, lot of potential on the bouquet. Very good harmony on the palate, excellent balance. Fruits run straight through, persistently and there is reserve in the wine. Can live very well because the tannins are well in support. 2023-28.
attractive red robe, has the hue of a good Pinot. The bouquet has a smoky air, curvy raspberry and blueberry, a hint of damp forest. It is harmonious, spiced, like an en finesse Grenache from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The palate starts on fleshy, spiced plum fruit, has a southern fat, elegantly served with toffee-like tannins on the finish. It is supple, a little undecided. It has very good, stealthy length. It isn’t an evident wine, has mystery, with hidden corners. It has been withdrawn in the past, and still is: it is southern with northern influences around it. Decanting recommended. “The vineyards suffered from the stress of drought; the crop wasn’t large, the summer hot. The granite gave tannic wines, and it is a true Cornas vintage,” Pierre Clape. 2032-34 May 2016 Previously Dec 2007 **** small advance in the red robe; there is a game aroma with mineral tints in it, some dark fruits such as blackberry at its heart, and black pepper in the air, as well. This is a good Cornas, with its mineral grip and a sound, rich core. Is a wine of character and good acidity. The tannins come through and get ahead of its fruit content. This is a sound, not spectacular vintage of nice depth. Late tannins are evident, the length is good. “Its end signature of tannin for me shows the classic difference between Cornas and Hermitage. This was a dry year with small yields,” Pierre Clape. 2020-23 Dec 2007 Previously **** really big, chocolate-style bouquet, damp earth, black fruit jam, some freshness. The palate is also led by confit, cooked black fruits. Although a little withdrawn, there is a good centre here. A touch of sweetness, quite low acidity. Needs airing. 2013-17.
attractive red robe. This has a delicately scented nose of pure qualities, gathers notably clear red fruits, bright redcurrant with sweet spice, cardoman, cocoa, has hints of red meat, blood. The palate offers an effortless flow of stylish red fruit. It gains intensity and sunny depth as it finishes. It is younger than the 1996 today. There is a typical floral hover on the finish, the aftertaste pure and precise. This is a wine of detail, finesse, and is tasting very close to its best now. “September and October were superb; we weren’t in a hurry to harvest, but the vines weren’t gaining much ground even with that approach,” Pierre Clape. 2025-27 May 2016 Previously Nov 2005 *** peppery, still young bouquet that shows rose-hip and widens as it goes. The palate doesn’t perform at first – there is a brief burst, then it runs off. Five minutes later: more integration, and what develops is an earthy, downhome, feet on the ground wine. It lacks cut, but has character. It doesn’t end cleanly as Auguste’s Cornas usually does. 2014-17 chez Panisse, Berkeley, California with Kermit Lynch & team Nov 2005 Previously April 2000 ** less colour than 1999 and 1998. Red fruit jam aroma on bouquet, quite clearly defined. Softer texture than usual, black fruits are prominent early on with some agreeable depth behind them. Touch bitter on end. 2007-10 April 2000
ruby-plum robe, relatively deeper than the 1994. There is a swirl of dates, mature fruits on the nose, a hint of red meat, just a little mushroom. Sweet spices are included, cooked strawberry, cooked plums. The attack shows advancement, with a fungal, dry note threaded through it. It is still on its fresh drive of the vintage, declares spearmint and cooked black fruits as it finishes. This is tough to be tasted without food. It moves a round as it breathes, showing some more smooth texture towards the finish. It tucks in on the finish – it gets in on itself there. I expected a bit more from this. “The summer was cold, ripeness coming late. Yield was similar to 1994 – 35 hl/ha. There was a lot of acidity, which was always in the wine, and is still there today – keeping the wine going. It is less diluted than 2008,” Pierre Clape. 2024-26 May 2016 Previously **** lively red fruit, licorice bouquet. Upright vintage style on the palate, some mineral with the good red fruit persistence. This is interesting. Has similar acidity but less ripeness than the 1997. Live wine, has a good future. 2013-17
charming red robe, with an elegant, pale top. Coffee beans, rose hip, striking plum fruit show on the bouquet, with wet stones, mineral, “glimpses” of raspberry. This is a Real Rocker, highly provocative – it takes you on a tour of a hidden world of delights. The palate reveals beautiful dentelle qualities, with a really consistent, continuous run of fine content. There are absolutely no pauses or false steps. It is a light tread, tiptoe wine of great purity. You could travel far to find a better bouquet. It shows delicate flowers such as primrose on the aftertaste. It is still an STGT wine, has great balance. “Yields were small, ripening was correct enough. Once it was in bottle, it was not liked by commentators – it was very tannic and tight, but it’s starting to talk now,” Pierre Clape. 2033-36 May 2016 Previously July 2011 ****** still rather a deep red at its heart, lighter at the top. Resinous, tarry first aroma, definite depth and amplitude, has the mineral grain of Cornas and the vintage hovering above it, an attractive licorice darkness. There is low key menthol and violet. With air, after 2 hours, it blossoms into blackberry fruit and roundness. The palate starts still on its dust, has a smoky, upright run. Great, striking purity here: you can taste and feel its fine bones. There is little excess flesh – it gives access to the truth; a maximum STGT wine. Has a subtle floral aftertaste and final notes. Really good length, stretches out properly. It gains in ample elements, fruit and depth after 2 hours. Great length. I note the finale reverts to grain. 13°. 2029-31 July 2011 Previously ****** one of my favourite wines for its wonderful purity. Austere at first, written off by some critics, the wine has developed a lovely elegance with a clear fruit trail coursing quietly through it. Gentle cooked fruits, minerality persist on the nose. Light pepper and ingrained spice accompany the fruit. Typical in extremis. The fruit will advance on the minerality in its middle age. 2020-25
fine, ruby, light plum robe. Has a biscuity, gently floral, peony aroma, just a touch of Pinot, a real feather in the sky, floats hither and thither, has a most charming delicacy. The palate runs calmly, with a close and good link to the nose, comes with a savoury snug gras richness, then a spiced finish, with texture still there, not dry. It is all very neat, resembles an aged Burgundy, of pedigree. It’s a becoming, tender wine, very satisfying, is a real honeybunch of a wine. “We had hail. We regarded it as a good year as it followed 1992 and 1993! It was late, and ripening wasn’t fully achieved. The tannins weren’t noble either – they were dry,” Pierre Clape. 2023-25 May 2016 Previously ** subdued robe; light jam aroma, with damp forest tones; jam flourish, then tightens, becomes grainy. It's a bit dry, may lack body. It will be more rounded from 2005. 2010-13
ruby, tiled robe. The nose is soft, charming, gives airs of strawberry and damson plum, rose petal, peony and spice. The palate has a smoky, tobacco debut, backed by a fluid red fruiting with a click-clack of fresh tannins: the vegetal contribution from them is successful, holding the wine up as it ends. There is fine detail on the finish, licorice, smoke, graphite. This has a good late palate. “It is vivacious”, Olivier Clape. “All went well until 3 or 4 September. It had been a relatively precocious year, but a total of around 500 mm rain (20 inches) fell in August and September. There were extreme floods in the last week of September – the plain around the Château de Châteaubourg was under water,” Pierre Clape. 2024-25 May 2016 Previously *** medium colour; jammy, dark aroma bouquet. Mid-weight palate, cooked red fruits. Nice amount of guts, tone is sweet. 2005-09.
the robe is a smidgin more pale than the 1993 – it is ruby, with a plum red centre. The nose rests on a couch of cooked plum, with clove, slight mushroom, also some Pinot associations. The attack is wiry, tight, has a peppery profile, with iron and mineral after half way. It fades a little on the finish. It is tiring more than the 1993. It has a mineral, true Cornas close. It’s neat and unsassuming. “1992 is usually ahead of 1993, but this bottle I feel has taken in some air via the cork. There was a small budding this year, and the berries were big and diluted, similar to 2014. Harvest conditions weren’t great,” Pierre Clape. 2020-21 May 2016 Previously *** touch paler than usual; smoky red fruits on bouquet. Is just entering its second phase after eight years, some gamey touches. Has a pretty fruit thread through it, a bit of confit on the end. Is meaty, all the same. Shows what small vintages give - but you have to wait. Can run towards 2010-12.
this bottle I brought back to Cornas from my cellar in East Sussex, so it had had two homes, one in London and in Sussex. Plum red, ruby topped robe. This a floral, peony perhaps, very clearly defined nose: it tinkles with pure red fruit, redcurrant and quince, white pepper behind. It is stylish and Burgundian. The palate links very well to the nose via its bright, detailed features, takes on a little more kick of dark tannin on the close, where it deepens. This is serene and fascinating, and you have to concentrate to capture its rather coy offering. It hands out mineral as it closes. It is going very well, is still very young. An STGT wine of great finesse here. “This is a true Cornas. On the finish you find the wine as it was when starting out,” Pierre Clape. 2032-35 May 2016 Previously **** warm, slowly intense nose, starting second phase after 12 years, fungal aspects. Savoury palate, round fruit with dry edges. Lasts well, oily end, prune/leather there. Mineral aftertaste. 2016-18
the robe is notable for its brightness, a brilliant ruby shows real vigour to the eye. The nose curves and holds, takes you on a funfair ride of ripe and stylish fruit swoops. It has a wonderful harmony, not a detail out of place: Everly Brothers singing here. There is just a little grilling. The palate is silken, continuous, most engaging. Its gras has supreme style. It hasn’t evolved much, and reaches out with sweet toned appeal, is very long. The finish brings I a little nutty tannin, toffee, gives Cornas crunch there, dusted moments, close to garrigue herbs. The balance is great, the evolution slow on its content. It tones down on the finish. I didn’t consider this a real, true Cornas when it was younger, but it is certainly getting there now. “It is a bit more Hermitage than Cornas, with more elegant tannins than usual. I find a bit of carburant – diesel – on the nose, which I haven’t found before. The level in the bottle was a bit down,” Pierre Clape. 2034-37 May 2016 Previously March 2007 ****** red fruits roll around a wonderfully rounded bouquet. There is also some plum, and this generosity of red fruit shows off its sunny year. Cinnamon flecked red stone fruit flavour, which is very beautiful and classy in its flow. The shape is spherical - unusual for Cornas. The balance is on the button. Delightful with a cheek of beef in wine sauce. To 2023-26. March 2007, Paris. Previously October 2001 ****** after 11 years first touch of game on bouquet, a fantastic pure example of Syrah! Maturing red fruit, also some garrigue herb. The Clapes say it was more on truffles and the ripe fruit of Hermitage, so not strictly typical when younger. Such gras and fullness on the palate - lasting way past the finish. Still very good grip, it´s young. Prunes, chocolate. Is re-opening after a more closed, younger phase. A Clape: "the only year of my life when all the vats reached 13 degrees natural". Grand Vin. 2014-18 Oct 2001
this has a very good robe, showing just a little advance for its age – ruby over plum. The nose gives smoky, dark airs with a ripe foundation, cooked prune, rays of sun; there are glints of mineral, a wee “high” note, almost reduction. This is still upright in shape – that is a true success at this age. It holds cooked fruits, with tight and clear tannins. Blueberry fruit comes along towards the finish, which is as clean as a whistle. There are violets, a classic Cornas trail on the close, with spearmint, near garrigue moments on the end. The close is very neat. Air aids it and softens it, expands it. Decanting helpful. “The year was very dry, and that had an impact. Côte-Rôtie had a mid-August storm that helped them. For us at Cornas, the grapes were very small, like blueberries. The wines were quite acid, had a lot of colour, were very fresh. The degree was 12° to 12.5° - ridiculously little given the amount of sun we had. There were a couple of millimetres of rain at harvest, nothing to speak of,” Pierre Clape. 2027-29 May 2016 Previously May 2006 ***** red with a tilt of lightness on the edge of the robe. Elegant bouquet here – spiced plum, a little ground coffee, rose flowers with air, old books. The flower presence is beau. It is very softened on the palate, but still has a little white pepper grain, the shape of the wine round; it is also mineral from the start. Acidity comes through as it breathes, the air producing lovely youth and vigour: what a lovely refinement! 2015-18 May 2006, East Sussex Previously March 2000 ***** dense colour; start of damp, advance on bouquet, clear mineral tones. A lovely mix of aged richness and live thrust near the finish. After 11 years is still upright, not yielding much. Has a silvery richness, the air rounds the finish and brings out a nicely ripe tone. This is a favourite of Auguste, who feels it needs until around 2010 before really opening. 2012-14 may be underdoing it! March 2000
a pure ruby robe here. The bouquet issues toffee, sweet fig, like an aged Barolo; it has evolved into a ripe, near sudiste/southern wine. Red berries, black raisin, spice are present, and it denotes a noble, aged wine. The palate connects very well to the nose, offers plump, spiced gras, a concentrated, stately juice in it. This is tasty and well sustained; its freshness is holding it up, and it has evolved with maximum style, continuing its early richness very well. It is most satisfying and arresting, lovely. It is a a Grand Vin 1988, a year that wasn’t always up to this standard across the northern Rhône. “I started on the domaine on 1 May, 1988. I did most of my work in the vineyard. My father did the vinifications of the 1988 and the 1989. For this wine, I say, “merci, Auguste!”, Pierre Clape. 2026-28 May 2016 Previously ****(*) some animal tone, plus a pebbly side. Very nice rich and well-extracted feel on palate, lovely liquorice and a tarry flourish towards the finish. Good, very true style here. Fruit presence on the end, too. 2010-15.
ruby red robe. The nose is on red cherry liqueur, isn’t an evident affair, has some game notes, needs air. This is supple on the opening, which is entertaining. You go straight into the savoury aspect of it. It has a stroking purity, peony-iris flowers in it, the finish rounded. This is remarkable for such a poor vintage, is a wine of finesse. Auguste made this when he was 62 years old. 2022-24 Oct 2016 Previously *** confit, round jam aromas, and this texture is repeated on the palate. Unusually blackberry style fruit, not spiced. The wine is a little simple. Round and charming, it can move quietly along until around 2006 if in magnum.
still quite dark; bouquet mixes some raspberry jam with earthy tones, is deep. Palate combines latent richness with reserve. Almost succulent, robbed of that by the vintage conditions. Very pleasurable, has good, upright red fruit, notably towards the finish. 2007-10.
there is still a bright centre to the red robe. There is a sprinkle of pepper on the nose which is still full and prolonged. An upright bouquet of some width, has an air of cough syrup, shows a little heat. This is a controlled Clape, which sweeps nicely and quite roundly. The front palate is showing a flash of berry fruit. Definite minerality and still live body here after 20 years. It is very Cornas in its shape – upright, very precise, pointed wine with no extra flesh on it. Has a lovely rigour with a meaty core, a mineral-tinged end. The length is OK. Drink this with game. To 2016-19 perhaps. Nov 2005, Berkeley, California Previously **** great bouquet, sappy red, spiced jam with a decisive edge; same on palate - spicy, red fruit with nice warmth. Ample wine, knits the spice and the gras richness together very well. 2008-11.
ruby; bouquet is not very big, and is moving between tightness and rondeur, though there is some depth. Spicy edges on palate, this is less overt than the bouquet. Quiet pleasure on the mid-palate, smooth combo of juiced and medicine type flavour. Fair length still. 2006-10.
quite bright, sound red even after 18 years´ Has a good fungal aroma, showing decomposing matter with spiced black fruit. Good fullness and richness come through on the palate, then the typical mineral edge of Cornas and the dryness of the vintage take it along to a reserved ending. Shows well the earthy intensity of aged Syrah from a drier vintage. 2007-10.
robe has held up very well after 15 years. Warm bouquet, marked gamey aspect. Dry, mineral touches take it past mere fruit. Fine-boned, dry texture at the outset. This is so typical of the Syrah off the rotting granite - the New World has nothing like this: it is not overtly fleshy or sweet. There is a lovely softness, good length and a clean finish. 2004-05.
strong purple colour, not so intense that there is black in it. The nose is very quiet, only emerges a little after one-plus hours, and then presents young , rather unformed garden fruit. The balance seems good on the palate; this is a mid-weight vintage with mild tannins. It is sound in that sense, but isn’t one that sends you scrambling for the record books. It can open further, and decanting will benefit it. 1996-98 Feb 1985
pale, plum red. Mineral, flintstone, shapely red berry, red currant fruit air, has a mild honey backdrop; also airs of lavender, dust and dry soil. The palate runs along on a fine tune of red fruit, with a clear, salty cut towards the finish. Granite here – big time thanks to this crisp front to the wine. The finish is firm and confident, has held very well, gives pockets of grace and style there. After 1 hour, it becomes aromatic, extremely fine and even delicate. My oh my, this is fine par excellence, has a supremely soft tread to it, is a Grand Vin. 2020-22. In my cellar since I was rather younger. March 2011 Previously ***** mature dark red, well sustained after 18 years. Plum/coffee aroma, some richness and sap. Mixes complexity and fullness, is very Cornas in style. Chocolate aspect, and a pebbly dryness noticeable on the end. Bosky, leafy wine, expresses truly one of the straight, less full-on heat years. Quality and expression of terroir. 2006-08.
dark colour still, only a bit of ease. Dark, touch dried aromas, holding very well. Very Syrah typique. Moves around with air, dries then fleshes. Still very restrained, can live towards 2010-15. Rich but subtle. Top wine. Previously Jan 1985 *** dark robe, but not right up to the top. Alcohol and the darkness of a tannic year show on the nose, not a lot of fruit on display. The palate is very dry, almost throughout. It is pretty closed up, not charming, and I wonder where it will all go in time. It’s very dark, and rather mean as it stands. Time always repays the Clape wines, so I take the view that it will move forward. 2004-07 drunk the 26 Jan 1985
clear, attractive ruby red robe, a sage depth to it. This is very typical Clape Cornas on the nose, open one hour – it has floral, plum fruit airs with a lean towards Pinot Noir, graceful snap. There are peony flowers, rose hip, good lift – it is starkly beautiful. The palate accentuates freshness with a most discreet raspberry-red berry hover of roasted, fungal elements. There is a diaphanous, silken form to the fruit, and a cavernous presence from the hillside. Another old Syrah that gone to the Pinote stage – it has a juicy sweetness, an aching beauty, an inspiring graciousness. It is outstanding. The most neat pockets of scented strawberry, tender fruit appear towards the finish. It is orb-like on both nose and palate. “It has become sweeter in the glass,” Steven Spurrier. I took this from my cellar yesterday to bring to drink with Steven inLondon. In 1973 the world was full of terrible wines, corked bottles, bad barrels, oxidative wines, so this stands out incredibly for its sense of place, nobility and grace. It has a caressing softness, a spherical texture, is a wine that renders me in raptures. 2026-30 Dec 2014
the colour has held well, is a pretty pale purple, good sheen in it, and it has greater depth than the La Chapelle robe tasted with it. The nose is still reticent, but has latent warmth and promise. The palate is extremely typical Cornas, has excellent depth and is very thorough. Has the firm Syrah style, is on that typical grip of Cornas, offers some dryness, notes of very light pepper, some dryness in the finishing tannins. This can still drink well and show a bit more over the next 5 years, last until around 1998 – it isn`t slacking or loosening much, but its weak link will be the drying out. It shows a rustic edge on the finale – the Syrah of Cornas as opposed to the class and breadth of the Hermitage Syrah in La Chapelle 1969. 1998-2001 Feb 1991, chez Robin Yapp, Mere, GB