2016 Harwood-fest (Harwood Arms, London): Ridiculous colour — deepest ruby, dense with a touch of purple still. Outrageous nose too, all raspberry liqueur with floral top notes. So sweet and ripe. Sweet, fragrant from the attack to the finish. Cornas on steroids. So much more vibrant and joyously fruited than a bottle five years ago. ***(**)
Decanted 3 hrs. Deep brick red, brightened edges. Large bq w smoked meat, raspberries, bay leaf, allspice. Elegant. Polished tannins, plenty of fruit w plums and raspberry jam, some minerality. Nice, integrated acidity. Very well balanced. Long aftertaste w prominent fruit. Will last longer, 5 yrs easily. The power of Cornas has turned into elegance. Excellent!!
For my palate, a point. Dark fruit and vegetal/Marmite/coffee aromas, very long and superb balance. Acidity still there so no rich. Tannins mostly resolved, but not much hint of age in colour. Superb bottle with several game and pork dishes. Last bottle I have, but would drink well for at least 5 years....maybe 10 if you like old Cornas.
Souper chez le Baron (Joliette): Un nez fermier, de cerises noires, Une bouche ronde et fraiche, à la texture bourguignonne, des arômes de pinot, mais une structure plus droite (Clos Rougeard??). Un vin incroyablement jeune et tannique, c'est hallucinant, presque inquiétant ce niveau de tanins, mais il est si jeune et frais. Un vin profond, que je mettais 15 ans plus jeune! 93-94 + pts
Il y avait longtemps que je ne m'étais planté autant sur un vin à l'aveugle!
Northern Rhone Dinner Part 3 - Cornas (Vancouver, BC): Beautiful nose. Classy and refined and almost a blend of the classic '96 with a bit of the sweetness from the '97. Sappy black fruits on the palate with excellent length. For the most part the structure has softened and moved into the background but there's still a touch of rusticity lingering around to remind you what you are drinking. Overall a bit richer than the '96 but definitely cut from the same cloth. Outstanding.
Cellared since original release. Kermit Lynch import, Lot L 9251. I took this bottle home to release because ullage was much more than for the other bottles I have -- close to 1 inch. This is a fresh, powerful, exuberant wine with mature fruit but possibly still with upside potential. It is broad in the mouth, still with some acidity on the palate and deep, dark fruit, but starting to gain some finesse from aging.
Bud's 70th birthday lunch - the day after (Eketahuna, New Zealand): Tremendous showing for this great wine. Smokey, leathery, vibrant blackberry, animal, mineral nose of great interest and complexity. The palates delivers on the exquisite promise of the nose in a fresh and mineral, layered and focused rich and ripe Syrah that is slightly rustic and has a bit of Brett but in a way that adds to the experience. Mature but still able to age for another case or two in a cold cellar. A great showing for Clape. (given to us by August Clape after visiting his cave in 1992)
Tasted blind. Color: medium/light ruby -> light ruby rim. Beautifully mature nose of leather, barnyard, cassis, some bacon notes. Huge palate showing amazing structure and poise. Complex tertiary notes of leather, tar, plums. Great wine and outclassing the two others in the flight ('88 Guigal Cote Rotie and '91 Chave Hermitage) by quite a ways.
Evolved garnet colour with a fully developed quite earthy, bretty nose with mostly dried red fruit and undetectable oak. Complex and elegant with a silky texture, dark fruit, earth and medicinal notes on palate. Overall, a past its best and mellow wine with a smooth finish.
Bright garnet with some bricking on the rim. Bretty nose with intense barnyard, medicinal aromas, earthyness, leather and fading fruit. On the palate it is medium-bodied and silky-textured with a medium to long aftertaste.
This was the best wine among the four vintages -89, 90, 93 & 94 - of Clape Cornas we tasted last night. Fully mature with an expressive and complex, if quite rustic, nose with farmyard, leathery, damp earth and sus bois aromas but with a core of sweet cinnamon spice, mint, dark fruit and even cherry jam which gave a freshness and fruitiness to this old wine. In the palate it is more concentrated than the 1989 but still it is soft with resolved tannins and good flavor intensity which lingers. Serious and complex mature wine with character and some flaws. I was quite happy with it.
A. Clape Cornas tasting & d'Auvenay, PYCM, Selosse, Rieussec .... (Netherlands): A great year in the northern Rhône, despite the near-drought conditions. On the palate this was more polished than recent bottle’s. Impressive nose of dense olive tapenade, dried tobacco, and cherries. Great earthen-driven flavors of mushroom, tobacco, cherries and some spiced plums. Very nice integrated tannins, great depth, balance and a long powerful finish. While it’s insanely great to drink now, still a long and bright future.
Clape Cornas Vertical (RN74, San Francisco): Broader than the 1991 but not as deep. Came across as comparatively metallic, thin, a bit clumsy and lacking in site or varietal typicity. If I hadn't had the 1999 and 1991 I might have liked this better, but in any event it offers little elegance or distinction.
Cornas (28-50, London): Full, slightly cloudy ruby. Nose slightly different to the other wines, less typicity, I wouldn't go as far as Bordeaux that some are suggesting, but it ain't Cornas. Positive atatck, dense, quite fleshy fruit and etxture. A little too dry for th efruit I think, but certainly very nice. A food wine. ***1/2
Very barnyardy on the nose which dominated initially and never quite went away. I remembered thinking this wine was very light for a Cornas. In fact it wouldn't have been outrageous to suggest its origins were from another region famous for wines light in colour further north. That said I found this wine just hanging on in all areas. Texturally the wine is bordering on lean and never really became as accessible as you would hope for a wine of this age and probably not going anywhere either. There is some Cornas character but it's maturity seems somewhat accelerated, at least in this bottle anyway. Shows glimpses of something more interesting but shuts down again just as quickly. I have had some fantastic wines over the years from this producer and from lesser vintages. I expected more from this.
Definitive Rhone (Fabi and Rosi European Kitchen Austin, Texas): An outstanding wine among the many rhones we tasted in our salon, two groups put this wine at the top of a very good flight, another group preferred the younger wines of the flight. Upon opening the wine was quite barnyard-y, which blew off after 5 minutes. This is a big wine, probably young, and continued to develop for more than an hour in the glass. For one vet, it reminded of a classic hermitage (and he does like his hermitage!), for another vet, of a bordeaux (some bell pepper). The wine is bretty and funky, but some discernment into its smoke, pork fat, and leather character finds loads of flavors: black plums, black cherry, sweet black currant, black pepper, graphite, black olives, wet stone, brine, earth, tobacco leaf, stewed tomato, cherry pit. "Bright, happy, beautiful," she declared on this fine spring day, about the wine. Another established taster thought it "killer tight" with much time to go, and scored it a 98; a younger taster thought it dry herbal and barnyard, astringent, gave it an 85. Of course there is no right or wrong in taste, que syrah, syrah, but for me the '90 Clape was the best cornas I've drunk, and I think it will improve. I want it.
With GV. An explosive nose of tapenade with some meat behind the olives. The palate has nice acidity and is pretty round and pleasing. I don't get quite the waves of fruit described in other tasting notes, but at age 17 this is still awfully young and has mellowed enough to take on a nice roundness. Nothing very savage here. Quite polished and tasted blind I would guess this as a lot younger than 1990.
Great nose. Meaty but with pure blackberry type fruit. The palate is very densely packed and shows lots of dark fruit that is wrapped in a meaty rind. Great finish. Plenty of tannins. This needs some time. Maybe 5 years or so. Fabulous.
Purple color. Very young looking. Beautiful nose of dark blackberry type fruit and meaty nuances. The palate takes some time to unwind. Lots of dark fruit and a hint of bacon. Meaty notes but very elegant. This wine finishes very long. A really stunning example of Cornas just starting into its' teenage years. Remarkable.