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The Wines

Syrah (av age 25 years) from Les Saveaux (flat areas, sand, quite deep soils, av age 30 years, helps the acidity), Patou, Bouyonnet on Les CĂ´tes (2000-2016, 230 metres), overall 60% slope vineyards, 40% foot of slope, flat vineyards, 80-100% destemmed (20% stems included since 2018), 3 week vinification, cap punchings, malo completed in cask, aged 2-5 year 600-litre oak casks 12 months, on its lees, first wine under his own name 2003, unfined, filtered, 8-13,000 b

2018

dark red, bright and appealing robe. The bouquet is nicely live – off we go, on ample, buzzing blackberry, loganberry, a note of black olives. It’s wide and lively, has bounce. This has a rich and easy roll attack before a gradual gain in foundation, base - a serious side, with a firm couch of ripe tannin. It’s well orchestrated along the palate, builds steadily, ends on oily, running content and fruit notes. It ends with a touch of good vegetal freshness. This is modern, vibrant Cornas. Decant it. “The stems have brought balance,” Johann Michel. 14°. €25. From 2022. 2040-42 Dec 2019

2017

1) (Les Saveaux, 40% of the wine) ***(*) dark robe. Blueberry coulis aroma, a pleasing roundness and purity of fruit – it’s inviting, comes with licorice and smoke. The palate is juiced, and off, on the go, picks up slightly wired, virile tannin after the mid-point. This is sleek, with enough gras to prolong. The aftertaste is chewy, salted. This is clear and modern Cornas. 11-12 years 2) (Les Côtes) **** very, dark, intense robe. Has a likeable, rolling wave of black fruits, cherry, with vanilla, liqueur style, cassis de Dijon airs. The palate waves its fruit well, the texture very smooth, tannins tucked in well until the finish, with a late increase in intensity, well measured it is. This is tuneful Cornas, and a good orchestrator of the final wine, thanks also to it giving it good spine; it has a sensuous feel. From 2021. 13-15 years March 2018

2016 ()

healthy red robe. Mulberry and cooked plum a leaning towards Pinot, shows on the nose; it’s a joli, unfussy opening with mild sun and no forcing, has a raspberry top note. The palate drinks with plump appeal, is already en route, and flows consecutively, no halts along its way. This is charming, even if light for a traditional Cornas. The balance is sound. It has adapted well to its new home in bottle since Dec 2017. “It’s well balanced,” Johann Michel. 13.5°. 2028-29 March 2018

2014

bottled one week ago: healthy dark red robe. Toffee, supple blackberry aroma that I supple and open. The palate is soft, floral in style, gives red fruits with a little mild tannin, and a note of cassis bud towards the finish. There are powder, vegetal moments with stealthy grip. It is harmonious but low-key in depth. Time can coax out  a little more, both content and tannin. This is New Wave Cornas. “The wine was held back by the flat, foot of the slope vineyards and their lack of depth. The vintage is similar to 2012 – the wines are fresh, live, on their fruit and elegant, and are more easy than 2011 or 2013,” Johann Michel. 13.5°. 2022-23  Dec 2015

2012 ()

bottled 6 weeks ago: bright robe, good red and black tints. Blackberry fruit aroma here that is supple, and has a good layering. The nose travels far and sustains. This is modern, swish Cornas whose shape is round, and will certainly tighten with two more winters under its belt. The tannins are soft, the length sound; there is a light graininess, coffee moments. Could be drunk now as an attacking Cornas, but the finish will be more complete and round within the wine from 2015. 13.5°. 8,000 b. 2020-21  Dec 2013

2011

red robe, in good shape. Has an oily, pine needles, wax-gummy aroma, stewed red fruits, hints of blueberry, seashore, biscuit airs. The palate has a cool, iodine make-up, with a rose, perfumed presence. It tapers towards the finish, is delicate, a little unsure. It carries a lesser vintage style (tasted blind), 2008 perhaps. There is a touch of strawberry late on, filigree tannins. It’s a wee bit tired. 13°. To 2025 May 2018 Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) (casks) dark robe. Has an elegant fruit aroma, with an appealing little sweet note. The fruit is fine, and there is a light mineral note, a silicate primrose flower air. The palate fruit is tasty on the attack, juicy and enjoyable. It leads to a small pocket of tannin, an extra dark grain. All very orderly, an undemanding Cornas that is modern, clearly fruited, with a discreet thread of mineral though it. An aromatic Cornas that is w.o.w. hits town! There is light scenting on the aftertaste. From mid-late 2013. 2021-23 Nov 2012

2009

(casks) dark robe, legs down glass. Black fruit, sweet tea and oily airs in the nose, plus some meaty notes. Rich debut to the palate – offers fleshy, wide fruit with a ripe line all through. Ends on a ripe roundness, its tannins absorbed. Early drinking style of Cornas, has fair length. I am not convinced by its structure. From 2012. €17 is a fair price, I suppose. 2019-20 Nov 2010

2008 ()

healthy red, dark tinted robe. Active, pepper-licorice airs which are a bit strict, come with smoke, some greenness, tobacco airs. From the start it shows the rather green snap of 2008. The palate is on the go, very much in the image of the vintage – it is a bustling, busy, peppery wine. It has a little gras carry at the end, and the light gras richness on the finish resolves the issue, helps its length and security. Lacks roundness. The aftertaste is moving up and down. To 2017  May 2011 Willi’s Wine Bar, Paris

2007

full, bright red. Oak and toffee mingle in a careful red fruits nose, nice curve and roundness about it. The palate is tighter than the nose – offers red fruit such as plum, with a gradual take-on of tannin. The clutch of late tannin needs 18 months to soften. Supple red fruit lies at its heart. 2017-18 Dec 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **(*) full, dark robe; reductive, high top air to the bouquet – under that, it shows grainy black fruits. The palate offers low-key black fruits, comes with a slightly sappy, maybe volatile nature. It ends securely. A traditional style wine whose fruit is round, comfortable but ends on a rather dry note. Unfinished business – but can come together and clarify. Feet on the ground wine. 2018-19 Dec 2008

2006 ()

quite a full, black cherry robe; on the nose are oily, black fruits with a sound depth – black cherries, griottes or soaked cherries, licorice – is quite “up”, a shade wannabe. The palate is led by brisk black cherry, and its oak adds a crunchy note, and rules the finish. The fruit is pretty clear within. There is nice spine to this, and it has a wholesome future. There is good fruit carry to the end, with some raspberry there. From 2010. 2021-22 Jan 2008 Previously Dec 2007 ***(*) thorough robe, with a black-hued centre. Has a mild, elegant nose, that contains a few herbs, and squeezy, a bit baked black fruit aromas. This is a fresh style of Cornas – it is cleanly-cut, with live black fruits, and a violet, clear finish. Vrai, sympa wine, that makes for good, brisk drinking when young. The palate has a supple, fleshy mid-point. Ideally, leave until 2009 to allow its tannins to settle. Good winemaking. 2018-20 Dec 2007. Bottled two weeks ago. 9,000 b this year, €15

2005 ()

bright, dark robe; the bouquet shows black berry fruit with some reserves for more, is also a touch funky. The palate is marked by live fruit; there is a good, typical mineral presence in the black berry flavour, which flows truly. The tannins are live, it ends with gusto. From 2008, but is drinkable now thanks to its clear fruit. Travels straight along, but the finish becomes tarry and a little downbeat. No vin de presse added this year. Bottled 10 days ago. 2015-17 Dec 2006 5,400 b this year

2003 ()

(casks) black jam aroma, not typical Cornas. Red berry attack, some late tannin to provide pepper and a prop. Full, no excess. Good length, some style. 2007-08 on. 2019-21

2002 ()

reduced bouquet on different bottles, some fruit roundness underneath. Red berry fruits on palate, but very stinky again. Length fair, gentle wine. Needs decanting. Can break out eg 2007. 2011-13

2001

earthy style red fruit Syrah/toffee aroma; solid, with cooked fruit finale, thorough tannins. Mineral, bit dry end. 2006 on. Has traditional punch. 2015-18

2000 ()

red fruit/violets/reduced a little on nose; brewed fruit, classic style. Meaty, stewed, tannins OK. 2005 on. 2013-14

1999 ()

oily, brambly fruit, broad nose; vigorous wild berries, fresh, clean finish. Nice punch, 2006 on. 2016-18