2009 Auguste Clape Cornas

SKU #1109139 97 points 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)  (8/2014)

96 points Wine Spectator

 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)  (11/2012)

95 points 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)  (4/2012)

K&L Notes

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.

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Rhone

- Legendary wine-producing region in southeast France. Stereotypically speaking, Rhone wines are high in alcohol, and the majority produced is red. The northern Rhone is best known for outstanding 100% Syrah wines from areas such as Cote Rotie and Hermitage, as well as for fabulous white wines from Condrieu (where Viognier is king). In the southern Rhone, look for spicy, full-bodied wines that are blends of Grenache, Syrah, and other varietals coming from appellations such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, or Rasteau. Wines labeled as Cote du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Village (a cut above generic Cotes du Rhone) are frequently found here in the US because they often represent some of the best values on the market. View our bestselling Rhone Valley wines.
Alcohol Content (%): 14