2009 Auguste Clape Cornas
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Almost as good, yet in a completely different style, the 2009 Cornas is about as sexy and voluptuous as Cornas gets! Loaded with kirsch, licorice, dried flowers and smoked meat-like aromas and flavors, this awesome 2009 has thrilling concentration, full-bodied richness and knockout length. It has the fruit to impress today, but needs 3-4 years of bottle age and will have over two decades of longevity. (JD)
Possesses the delicious ripeness of the vintage, replete with dense layers of braised fig, steeped plum and black currant alongside bitter cherry notes. The structure, however, is strident and authoritative, resembling a 2010 with chalk, olive paste and warm brick notes coursing through the finish. Lock this one away for a while. Best from 2016 through 2030. (JM)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Opaque violet color. The nose offers a kaleidoscopic bouquet of red and dark berry scents along with incense, candied violet, licorice and smoky minerals. Pretty much a distillation of syrah, showing superb clarity and intensity on the palate, with excellent depth and clarity to the sweet black raspberry and floral pastille flavors. The mineral quality builds with air and adds focus and cut to the long, spicy, strikingly pure finish. This is one of the best wines I tasted from the northern Rhone this vintage and appears to be destined for a very long life. (JR)
Importer Kermit Lynch writes: "In the world of wine, there are many good winegrowers. However, there are only a very select few who are truly great, and Auguste Clape is among them. Critics and connoisseurs alike all agree that he is one of the greatest pioneers of the Northern Rhône, and his Syrahs from the cru of Cornas are among the most celebrated wines of France...Though the Clapes farm only eight hectares, the challenge presented by the rough, tightly stacked terrace vineyards of Cornas is largely enough to handle by anybody's standards. The dicey precipices make using any machinery in the vineyards impossible. All work must be done by hand. There are no official rules to their viticultural methodology-they work the old-fashioned way, by instinct, feeling, and common sense. The vineyards sit on granite subsoil, behind the village, with optimal sun exposure...Individual parcels are vinified separately in old, oval foudres. Long élévages of twelve to twenty-two months add depth to the natural complexity of the wines. The wines are capable of tremendous longevity in the cellar, although Kermit also encourages trying them while they are young and fresh, to better appreciate the evolution to come. For a taste of the old-style Syrah from the fabulous, sculptured slopes of the Northern Rhône, Auguste Clape's Cornas is the only place to start." 14% abv.