Day 2 started fantastically with two outstanding tastings at Clusel-Roch and Domaine Rostaing highlighting the wonderful purity of fruit in the 2012 vintage supported by finesse and freshness. These are wines which will age with real grace.
Sadly judging by the menu des vendangeurs chez Andre Perret I think I made a mistake in the timing of my appointment at the Domaine Perret; I should have gone just before lunch, not just after! A friend of Andre’s closes his restaurant for two weeks, just so that he can come and cook for the harvesting team! The Perret Condrieu’s are beautifully pure yet opulent with a hint of freshness uplifting the wines in the palate.
2012 is clearly a strong vintage in Cornas. The Domaine Voge wines highlight this, balancing a deep brooding fruit character with striking freshness and drive.
I also had a wonderful reminder as to how wine is a great source of natural friendship. Running very late I dived into the local cafe in Cornas to grab a quick salad to find myself sitting next to four young vignerons, celebrating the end of their harvest. Before I knew it, I found myself with two extra appointments at the end of the day!!!
Guillaume Gilles having bought some of Robert Michel’s vineyards is already a name to have received noticeable recognition, but young Mikael Bourg is still finding his way with his 1.5 ha and has made some lovely 2012’s.
Down to Chateauneuf and after a bit of coercion I managed to persuade Vincent Avril to let me taste his 2012 Clos des Papes at 7.30 in the morning before he went out with his pickers!!! His 2012 is definitely better than croissant or pain au chocolate first thing! Both red and white are absolute beauties.
All the Chateauneufs were very strong. Vieux Telegraphe, Font de Michelle, Beaucastel and Versino all had great balance and pure fruit flavours.
I finished my trip being beautifully looked after by James and Joanna King at their stunning property Ch Unang. Right in the midst of harvest it was great to see their team at full steam ahead and we all hope the weather holds up for the final week of harvest.
My parting shot is the rather bizarre photo of a garden gnome’s paradise with windmill and Swiss chalet included! Little would you know that behind this facade lie some of the Northern Rhone’s greatest wines in the cellar of Bernard Faurie… Bernard’s favourite location is the Swiss Alps and apparently his garden reminds him of what he is aspiring to!!
All in all 2012 is a very exciting vintage indeed, with wines of tremendous fruit content, purity and slightly lower alcohol content than some preceding years. These wines will give huge pleasure and age with grace.