Cornas is a “bowl” of hillside vineyards planted above the town itself, just south of the great Hermitage. Similarly these hillsides have lots of granitic soils on the steep prefaces….BUT in the hands of the great ones (Clape, Verset & Allemand)…produce a very different Syrah from Hermitage or Cote Rotie.
This particular post is all about the 2009 August Clape. August himself is pretty much retired, but still comes around to check things out as he lives in the same town, right down the street. His son, Pierre Marie & grandson, Olivier now run the operations.
As they will readily tell you, their wine is really made in the vineyard.
Previously, I had assumed the wildness & rather eccentric rusticty of Noel Verset’s Cornas was largely due to his style of old school winemaking. While that still may be true, I also tasted the same kind of character & rusticity in Clape’s 2008 Sabarottes cuvee which was vinified separately (out of foudre, prior to blending).
We knew the 2009 would be a very special wine, just by the pure excitement on Pierre Marie & Olivier’s faces as we talked & tasted.
As is the case with Clape’s Cornas, the 2009 is black (perhaps blacker than usual in this case), masculine, minerally, compact & full of Old World character yet has wonderful balance, vinosity & great length on the palate.
Having tasted quite a few older Clape Cornas over the past 12 months, I am so anxious about how this mighty, brawny rendition will taste with some bottle age….especially since it has some Sabarottes in it.
If you can find some…..I suggest you get a bottle or 2. It really is that good!