Brilliantly mature Cornas

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 Thierry Allemand
Cornas ‘Chaillot’ 1999 Thierry Allemand

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.

Beezer beef stew and Cornas
Beezer beef stew and Cornas
  • David DJ

    Love old Allemand David and cherish remaining Noel Versets I have left. Beef stew looks good. Remiss of me but totally forgot to thank you for Jersey Beef recommendation – rolled sirloin and topside even were amazing over Christmas period…

  • Glad you enjoyed the beef; it’s a real winner, eh?

    You are a lucky man to have some Verset left and I am a lucky man to know you 😉

    I worked magic with that beef stew.

  • David DJ

    What cut did you use? Definitely going back for more when I can get out of the drive.

    Happy to instigate a Verset-fuelled Hants social once my VAT & Tax are out the way…

  • A kilo of shin. Meltingly tender by the time I’d finished with it.

    We could host you for lunch, I’m sure, sanity allowing. I have some rather nice wines I could open… if you twist my arm… We could compare Verset with the bottle of La Chapelle 1995 I’ve got knocking around.

    Blooming cold and the snow makes travel a drag. I’m not sure what I’ll do about shopping…

  • David DJ

    Sounds good David, thanks. Let’s talk before too long…

  • David DJ

    ps – I’ve just pulled a 99 Cornas for later – never let it be said your website doesn’t influence people…

  • It usually influences people to buy up all of a wine before I have the chance to afford any. After I reviewed Pernand-Vergelesses Ile de Vergelesses 2005 from Chandon de Briailles every bottle in London had been purchased before I rang around wine merchants the following afternoon. I’m pleased to have scored a magnum of it just the other day – lovely wine.

  • Gernot

    Hi David,
    had the 99 Allemand two weeks ago. If I remember rightly we bought the bottles at the same time at Katie’s and James’s wedding. Wonderful wine very fleshy I thought but still very Cornas. Someone told me recently that Allemand does not age very well. Anyway 10 years+ is good enough to me.

  • James

    Peter, Katie and I drank a bottle of Allemand Chaillot 2001 alongside Burgaud Cote Rotie 2001 October/November last year. I was slightly surprised at how much I enjoyed both wines, to be honest-both delicious, but the Allemand was particularly striking and much impressed the Kid also. The Chaillot is the younger vines of the 2 Allemand cuvees- and something I was not predisposed to like! Shame about the pricing, though (e.g 2011 primeur prices for Allemand Cornas approx £40 (Chaillot) and £50 (Reynard) per bottle before tax and duty)- the latter an approx 40% premium on Clape Cornas…