The 2018 Cornas is a classic wine from this renowned estate that's 100% Syrah, mostly from the Reynard lieu-dit, brought up all in ancient foudre and casks. This is as classic and old school as they come, and the 2018 is as Clape as it gets with its bloody blue fruits, liquid violet, smoked game, pepper, bay leaf, and iron-like aromas and flavors. More medium to full-bodied on the palate, it doesn't have the sheer richness of the 2015 or 2017, and if anything, reminds me slightly of the 2016 with its incredible purity, balance, and finesse. The structure and tannins, which were more up-front and present from barrel, have a more round, seamless feel that gives this some up-front appeal. Granted, I followed this bottle for multiple days, and it certainly benefited from lots of air. This is a vintage that could certainly continue to offer pleasure over the coming decade and never really shut down, yet I suspect this will firm up quickly over the coming 2-4 years and require at least a decade of bottle age to really show its true potential. I promise, you will not be disappointed to have this in your cellar.
Bottled late in 2020, the 2018 Cornas is another exceptional vintage for this cuvée, drawn from the family's older vines, largely in the lieux-dits of La Côte, Sabarotte and Reynard. Yes, it's from a hot, sunny vintage, it's rich and ripe, with plenty of red plum fruit up front, but there's a solid underpinning of crushed stone to provide balance. Full-bodied and velvety in feel in the mouth, it lingers elegantly on the lengthy finish. Complete, balanced and fine, it should drink well through at least 2040.
Cask samples tasted at the domaine.
Sample cuvée 1: Mazards and Pied La Vigne.
Leathery nose, quite repressed fruit. Peppery and elegant. Light, delicate style – especially for Cornas. Supple tannins.
Sample cuvée 2: Reynards young vines.
Leather, aniseed, black cherry. Upfront fruit, with more juice than sample cuvée 1, but less persistence.
Sample cuvée 3: Petite Côte.
Rich black fruit. Spicy-sausage complexity. Violets too. Leathery and length, and opens in the glass.
Sample cuvée 4: Sabarotte.
So fragrant! Liquorice, leather, stables and black fruit. Great poise and precision with high acid and softer tannins than expected.
2022 – 2038
Sample cuvée 5: La Côte.
Fairly closed and dense with lots of fruit power and chewy tannic grip. No spice here, it's all dark fruits.
Sample cuvée 6: Reynards vieilles vignes.
Black-cherry fruit, beefy nose, fully tannic and heady. Seems like the engine room of a blend.
The flagship comes largely from the Reynard lieu-dit (unquestionably one of the finest vineyards in the appellation) and the oldest vines of the estate. The lots destined for this cuvée offered another level of richness and depth, with more opulence and decadence than most recent vintages. Full-bodied, concentrated, and tannic on the palate, it’s going to require patience. The 2015 was even more tannic and backward at this stage, but there’s more than a touch of greatness in this beauty.