Notes from a summer bocce afternoon.
The theme was Cornas, although we allowed some leeway for those that didn’t have any to bring other Northern Rhones.
1995 Jabouler Cornas Dom. St. Pierre – Jaboulet had made Cornas for some years from bought in grapes, but in 1993 bought a 9.1 acre vineyard called Domaine St. Pierre and began making a single property Cornas. This was the second vintage, I believe. Warm dark fruit with added hints of iron, gaminess and black pepper. Soft tannins, holding well, but won’t improve, good length and smooth finish.
1996 Jabouler Cornas Dom. St. Pierre – blackberries, sweeter than the 95, but lower fruit level generally, decent balance, less tannin, needs drinking but still at least presentable. Clearly comes second to the 1995.
2000 Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage ‘Les Jalets’ – I had misgivings when I saw this one – the Jalets has always been decent early drinking while the Thalabert ages far better. No worries though – some nice raspberry and herbal hints, and a soft and pleasant medium length finish.
1993 Chapoutier Hermitage La Sizeraine – I’ve still got some of this and was interested to get an update on condition. The wine is now showing and almost Burgundian colour, with orange edges. The nose was mushroomy dark fruit, not as funky as some previous tastings, well balanced, softened and smooth now – surprisingly nice, but the fact that it leaned out with time in the glass indicates that it needs drinking up now.
1998 Clape Cornas – good colour, warm pure fruit with no funk in the nose, mellow on palate, smooth and with very good length. I thought I was getting some hints of red fruit and anise in the finish by the time I drank this one up. At a very nice place right now.
1998 Clape Cornas Renaissance – this young vines version was attractive but seemed a bit simpler in the nose. Soft tannins, mellow medium length wine drinking well now.
2000 Clape Cornas – meat and some barnyard in this nose and an underlay of smoky black olive, very nice. Smooth pure wine on palate with good length. Very nice, and no rush.
Next month the event will be repeated as Cote Rotie in the garden.