Browse Tag


One hand

Clape 2002 Cornas (Rhône) – From a local store’s closeout bin, at a low-for-Cornas price. That’s still way too high for this wine, which is basically fully mature, and tastes of a good aged Côtes-du-Rhône (syrah-based, of course): sepia fruit on a warm bed of brown soil and faded herb. There’s nothing about it that speaks of Cornas, which is why even the closeout price is too high. (5/12)

Shy oatmeal

Allemand 1999 Cornas Chaillots (Rhône) – Still sorting itself out, but the folders are starting to populate. In one, there’s an herb-infused slow-cooked meat, still enveloped in a certain mystery. In another, something very floral and even a little aggressively aromatic. In a third, rocks piled upon rocks. This is still headed somewhere, and though it’s quite approachable now I think there’s more to see before it decides to stop for a rest and an idealized drinking experience. (11/10)

Let’s go, man

Allemand 1995 Cornas Reynard (Rhône) – Hey Zeus, this is good. Entering a bit of a soy phase, but it’s soy-soaked springbok jerky, very saline and entirely meaty. There’s salty brown minerality, too. Herbs, sometimes (though not always) found in older Cornas? Not so much, but in their place is a sort of lurid necro-floral aroma that’s really much better than that descriptor makes it sound. Balanced, still muscled despite much maturation, and really beautiful…if you’re a carnivore, that is. (11/10)

Starship ballad

Michel Perraud 1999 Cornas “Sarah” (Rhône) – Grippy but light-styled, showing rough (and surprisingly red) fruit, earth, nuts, olives, and ground peppercorns. But really, that grocery list makes the wine sound more interesting than it actually is. Mostly, it’s simple and short…a wine with training wheels and a flimsy frame. (5/10)

Samantha Fox

Allemand 1998 Cornas Reynard (Rhône) – Imported by Vieux Vins. A roomful of wine geeks doesn’t think this is corked, save one holdout, but given the grudging, sullen performance of the wine, that holdout might as well be correct. There’s nothing here. Obviously not an intact bottle. (1/10)


Allemand 2005 Cornas Reynard (Rhône) – The brooding, dark heart of Cornas, with 50% less apocalypse. Very nearly perfect in form, and thus set up for long aging. Right now, there’s a lot of (ripe) tannin and smoke, but I expect rather a lot to emerge in the years decades to come. (7/09)

Cornas game hen

Clape 1990 Cornas (Rhône) – Smoked beef, licorice. Hard and edgy, yet with plenty of complex elaborations around the perimeter; baroque in design, maybe, but a more rough-hewn country interpretation than the overly-precious, cherubic norm. Mature? It’s hard to say, but probably not. Time and time again, in the company of Rhônes (and Rhônish cousins) of greater alleged repute, the Cornas outperforms them all. There’s a lesson there, but – alas – one I should have learned back when the wines weren’t eyeing triple-digit prices with only a minor tilt of the head. (3/09)

German fox

Allemand 2001 Cornas Reynard (Rhône) – Decanted without having to ask, it’s still (as expected) quite firm, with dark black earth soaked with dried blood, finishing lush with iron-rich flavors of both. Very mineral-dominated, with excellent structure. Grows with air, though in the end we run out of wine before that unfolding is complete. Balanced and long, but not at its best at this stage. (4/06)

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