Revenge of the Cornas

Michaeangelo Hotel

Tasted March 19, 2019 by MC2 Wines with 77 views

Introduction

Think of Revenge of the Nerds and instead you get Cornas. An oft overlooked region that seems to be having a surgence (resurgence?) lately with a few cult wines commanding some pretty significant prices. In this tasting we went through the up and comers through to the undisputed master (Noel Verset). Wines were all great for the most part.

Flight 1 (16 notes)

Red
2015 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas La Geynale France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Nice start to the tasting. This is classic Cornas. Lots of lovely dark black fruits and a bit of a more gentle note (which I think is how I interpret the acidity in these wines). Very fine tannins. Tasty.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Again this is a really lovely wine. Here more purple flowers (I get violets although others were getting lavender). Lots of dark fruits. Just this touch of sweet but in that perfectly ripe and not over ripe way. There are still the more drying tannin, but it is a very young wine. Quite enjoyable though.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Alain Voge Cornas Cuvée Vieilles Fontaines France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Probably my least favorite wine of the tasting, but I think that was because it's not meant to be consumed young. At this age the oak really dominates. Lots of vanilla extract which makes it hard to get to the fruit and completely overshadows any floral or more forest notes. Will plan to hold ours for at least 10 years and see where we are. The 2010 already had a lot more integration so I do think the wine will get there will time. This is a wine that is build to age.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2015 Marcel Juge Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
This was just wonderful. I think there was some skepticism in the group on whether it deserved the more vaulted status it has taken of late, but I feel safe to say it absolutely does. For most everyone it was the favorite of the first five wines. Just ripe blackberries, hints of floral, a touch of truffle. It's a pretty and elegant wine with a lovely strength and backbone to it. Very much on the young side. Wish we'd found the producer a few years ago when bottles were actually available.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2014 Franck Balthazar Cornas Chaillot France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
From a magnum. Amazing how much more approachable this wine was than it's 2015 younger brother, but that makes sense given vintages. Again those lovely black fruits and a bit of the tannin. There's a quicker finish. I think the '15 is probably the better wine, but for right now this might have been a bit more expressive.
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Red
2010 Alain Voge Cornas Les Vieilles Vignes France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Compared to the 2015 Voge we tried earlier (which granted was the Fontaine) the oak was much more integrated here although I wouldn't say it was really ready to drink. There's a smoothness and a bit more body (which I think the oak helps), but less purity of fruit and a bit less of the crispness I like sometimes in these wines. Would be interesting to revisit in 5 more years.
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Red
2010 Alain Verset Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
For me these were the affordable wines of the tasting that really stood out (both the '10 and the '09). Very much the old school style. Again there's the lovely black fruits (think fig and plum) and the violets and maybe a bit of pine needle or fir. It is clean and crisp and just very pretty.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2009 Alain Verset Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Another little gem from this producer. There's the black fruits and the hints of floral and just this wonderful finesse to the wine (again, just great acidity). Keeps everything feeling very fresh and almost a bit light on its feet event while the wine is still quite powerful.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2001 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Another favorite of mine from the tasting. This was a wine too that really opened up in the glass during the tasting. My initial impression was 'good' but by the end I was quite taken with it. Lots of the black fruits and the floral and more of a mint or menthol note. Again very well integrated and structured and yet hard to see the age on this. It came across as quite young and vibrant. It's just lovely.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1998 Thierry Allemand Cornas Reynard France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
flawed
Corked which was a definite bummer as I was excited for this wine, but the '01 Reynard and '97 Chaillot made up for it. I will say the nose was aggressively corked, the palate was a bit less intense but clearly missing the enjoyment that the others bring.
Red
1997 Thierry Allemand Cornas Chaillot France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Definite split in the group between whether they preferred this or the '01 Reynard. I was a bit more in the later camp, but to be fair there's no way I'd move this from my glass. One of the only wines with some brett, but not in a bad way. Again a bit of that oregon forest floor where you get more of the pine needles and just the sense of refreshment and green. Black fruits. Some flowers poking through. It's a lovely wine.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1997 Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
This was a nice wine and yet I think a bit overshadowed by some of the others in the tasting (difficult to be placed between Allemand and Noel Verset). Here the gravel notes predominated for me. A bit of the black fruits. Decent acidity. A nice wine and still going strong (CT window not right).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1994 Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
From a magnum. This was good. Would say fell between the '97 and the '89 (the later of which really was just rocking). Touch more elegant than the '97. Starting to bring some more of the leather notes. You can tell there is some age on this wine (one of the few in the tasting where that was true). Black fruits still going strong though.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1989 Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Just in an excellent spot at the moment. This was very bright and vibrant and the acidity really stood out in how fresh the wine came across. Perhaps even a bit more fruit here than either the '97 or the '94 which was interesting. Very well structured which gave this feeling of elegance and finesse. Nice wine and one of my favorites of the tasting.
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Red
2000 Noël Verset Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
And so we come to the main event. You can't do a Cornas tasting without Noel and I'll say he showed very well this evening. This is just a very well done wine. There's a hint of that funkiness that makes northern syrah so fun. Still lots of the black fruits. Again somehow hitting that just right level of ripeness. Like when you pick blackberries as a kid and you find one that is not still sour nor too mushy and over the hill. There's an intensity to the wine at the same time there's a nice softness. Acidity is just great. Wine going strong. For me I gave this the slight edge over the '99 but the reality is both wines are pretty fabulous.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
1999 Noël Verset Cornas France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas
Pretty amazing to think I am getting a second shot at this wine. Again the funky style comes out here but I think less pronounced than the last time we had this wine. It's a bit more mellow than the '00 - acidity is not quite as bright although still obviously there. It's got some spiciness to it as well. If I split hairs I slightly preferred the '00, but I still think this is a pretty phenomenal wine.
1 person found this helpful Comment

Closing

My WOTN was maybe the '01 Allemand, '15 Juge, '00 Verset. The '89 Clape and '99 Verset and '97 Allemand also deserve special mention. I was also very impressed with the Alain Verset wines. Overall a fun tasting.

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