Goedhuis, October 2011
Powerful, smoky and intense, the 2010 Vieilles Vignes is a ‘tour de force' with an incrediblypowerful palate further exhibiting earthy spice and black pepper. A solid core of sweet, plump fruit slowly emerges on its long length. This wine will require a bit of patience but the potential is colossal.
Alain Voge is owed a lot of credit for putting Cornas and St Péray on the fine wine map, thanks to his tireless work from the 1980s up to the 2000s. In his later years he has stepped down from the day to day management, entrusting this firstly to the accomplished Albéric Mazoyer and now to Lionel Fraisse who joined the estate in 2012, and who assumes the full post this year following Albéric’s retirement. Together they have driven the estate to ever-greater heights, in 2016 overseeing the final stage of conversion to certified organic farming. The domaine is rightly proud of the work it has done to champion the pithy, phenolic character of Marsanne grown on St Péray’s limestone and granite soils, and their whites have length and savoury bite. The reds are equally well handled, and are benchmark Cornas – bright Syrah with depth, freshness and a hint of wild hedgerow fruit.
This most southerly appellation has long been lost in the shadows by the limelight of its more glamorous neighbours. It has suffered from an archaic (and entrenched) reputation of producing tannic, dense wines that need many years to come around. Yet for a long time, this has not been the case. Many of Cornas' wines are produced from slopes of excellent reputation, known for their well drained steep terrains as well as their sheltered exposures from cold northern winds. Due to this micro-climate of sorts, it usually produces riper wine than the more northern appellations in colder vintages. Cornas is one of the most underestimated appellations which can at times challenge Hermitage.