Even though my fevered writing about 2011 Burgundy has driven me slightly bonkers, and caused all sorts of bizarre worries to surface in my mind, I still cannot help writing about my sultry temptress fine wine. This one is a bit different to fresh, young Pinot – a totally mature Cornas.
I used to buy Cornas all the time, but then Clape got hugely pricey, Jean Lionnet and Noel ‘Papa’ Verset retired and the next generation got obsessed with overly-extractive wine-making and playing silly buggers with new oak. This is one of my last bottles from the 1990s, a period that now strikes me as being a golden era in Cornas. And this example has lasted well in my cellar; it’s time to drink, but it’s good.
Cornas ‘Chaillot’ 1999, Domaine Thierry Allemand
A lovely meaty, herbal nose that is totally mature but not dead yet. The fruit that remains is slightly decayed black fruit, but this is more about complex tertiary aromas rather than fruit. Complex they certainly are, the earth, meat and leather combine to make a winningly complete experience. The alcohol level is quite modest, which is nice, and there’s no oak about. It is all about the communication of place through the prisms of Syrah and age. It is drying out a little on the palate and the acidity stands out as being a bit spiky, but this is quality mature Cornas action. Still a good tannic structure here and a lovely spicy grip to it. Its mature state gives it a pleasing degree of elegance. The complex flavours on the finish go on and on. Desirable, drinkable and delicious, well worth keeping this long and enjoying with the appropriate food.
In this case appropriate food was beef stew. And blow me if it wasn’t the best beef stew I’ve ever made! I’ve got the recipe total sussed. If anyone out there likes beef stew give me some notice, then drop on round and prepare to have your mind blown. Here it is.