Alain Verset Cornas 2015
Noël's nephew Alain carries on the tradition by making wines in the ‘old school’ way. There is no destemming of bunches (keeping the tannic fabric of the wine for long aging potential); whole bunches are fermented for 10-15 days in concrete vats under the family home; he uses a basket press to squeeze the handpicked grapes and get maximum extraction; he uses only indigenous yeasts and ages in old barrels, usually for 2 years in 4-5 year old casks. Alain has about one hectare (2.5 acres) of vines in Cornas-Reynards, Mazards and Les Côtes, which is not enough to support his family of five children, so he has been working at a factory during the week making garbage cans. Apparently though, retirement will be soon and he will hopefully be able to bottle a little more wine. We have read that the total production is only about 900 bottles. Look for stony mineral and granite components with savory fruit notes revealing themselves after aeration. 100% Syrah.
Cornas has a very long history of grape growing and winemaking. The Romans are believed to have planted vines in Cornas 2000 years ago, and by the 10th century, the Canon of Viviers was writing that the church in Cornas was ‘surrounded by vines.’ The Cornas vineyards today cover 130 ha (about 320 acres), almost exactly the same area as Hermitage. And given the boundaries of the appellation and the nature of the terrain there’s little room for growth. In comparison, Côte-Rôtie is more than twice the size. Cornas does not have as long of a history as its neighbors in the northern Rhône of bottling and exporting its wines. Until the 1950s, much of the wine was still being sold by the winemakers ‘en vrac’, in bulk, to local restaurants who would sell by the glass or by the carafe straight from the barrel, or to private individuals who would carry out their own bottling. It was only once a small number of merchant houses, particularly Paul Jaboulet and Delas Frères, started buying and blending wines from smaller producers and bottling the results under their own labels that Cornas started to be seen outside the immediate region.
Vinous“Brilliant violet. A complex bouquet evokes ripe black and blue fruits and floral pastilles, along with licorice, cracked pepper and olive accents. Fleshy and energetic in the mouth, offering intense boysenberry, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors supported by a spine of zesty acidity. Rich yet surprisingly lively in style. Finishes gently sweet and very long, revealing slow-building tannins and a late jolt of cracked pepper.”