Whenever Cornas comes to mind so does Clape. This is the most famous estate in Cornas...indeed it is the estate that single-handedly built a reputation for the whole appellation. This is a no-frills operation : no sign on the door, no fancy modern winery equipment, no new oak, no 'reserve' cuvées, just great vineyards and experienced, non-interventionist winemaking.
Clape's Cornas is deeply coloured, full-bodied, with a powerful tannic structure and great natural richness. Uncompromising when young, it develops surprising charm with age, as well as outstanding complexity and intensity.
Spice- and mineral- accented dark berry, smoky bacon and floral pastille scents show excellent delineation and pick up deeper licorice and olive paste notes with air. Sappy and expansive in the mouth, offering juicy boysenberry, bitter cherry and spicecake flavors that show outstanding depth and are lifted by a potent mineral flourish. Powerful yet lively in character, delivering solid finishing thrust and closing with noteworthy tenacity and youthfully chewy tannins that build steadily. Rating: 96-97 Points; Josh Raynolds; Vinous.com
A tasting of the various lieu-dits suggest a fairly classic vintage, on the riper side but not as ripe as 2015, with well-balanced acidity and ripe tannins that are relatively approachable for this domain. Some tanks showed a little raised volatile acidity, which may show up in the final blend. They will make Renaissance this year; tanks yet to be selected at this stage, so the score is very much just an early indication. Some rain in May had Pierre Clape worried about mildew, but a few treatments with copper did the trick - there was a little on his whites but not his reds. A relaxed harvest started on the 12th of September, fermentations were long with no destemming as usual, fermented in concrete, aged in large old oak barrels. Rating: 97 Points; Matt Wallis; Decanter
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