Marked by hints of tar and black pepper on the nose, Clape's 2016 Cornas is earthy and savory, loaded with notes of black olives but with enough blueberries and blackberries to satisfy fans of fruit as well. It's full-bodied, rich and tannic but not tough or hard, with incredible balance. It's so harmonious that it's not overly difficult to drink now, yet it should age gracefully for a couple of decades.
Only a red wine appellation, Côte Rôtie is the most northern of all Rhône appellations and is produced mostly from Syrah, although Viognier may contribute up to 20% of the blend. Its terroir is divided into two categories. Côte Brune's soil is comprised of iron-entrenched granite giving thesoil a rich red-brown colour. As a result, it creates wine of notable power and concentration that usually needs time in the cellar to soften and develop. Heading south down the slope towards Condrieu, one encounters Côte Blonde, an area comprised of decomposed schist and mica that is lighter in colour and tends to produce elegantly styled wine for earlier consumption (most of the area's Viognier is grown here). Many traditional producers of Côte Rôtie feel that their best wines are a blend of the two.