Corking Cornas

I suppose this is a bit off of me, the poor chap does need a rest after all those years of hard work, but I was so disconsolate when I learned that 2005 was Jean Lionnet’s final vintage before he retired and sold off his vineyards. His prestige cuvee Cornas, Domaine de Rochepertuis, was one of the screaming bargains of the wine world – few seriously fine wines were available for such a minimal outlay of fun tokens. I only have a few bottles of his wine left and I have no doubt that all of them will provide as much pleasure as this one.

2004 is not everyone’s favourite vintage in the Northern Rhone – there are accusations of ‘meanie greenies’. I do not feel this wine suffers from such traits and, more generally, surely one does not want to imbibe the very ripest and most heroic of wines all the time? A bit of restraint is often just the thing to keep one keen. The fruit/acid balance in this bottle is just right to give it real energy.

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Cornas ‘Domaine de Rochepertuis’ 2004, Jean Lionnet

This is a lovely nose of fresh, bright fruit that is charged with real élan. There are shades of mature softness to it whilst still being really charged with ebullience. I love its suave, sophisticated earthiness. Yeah, there is plenty going on with this nose, engaging vivacity and total harmony. The palate is also on the feisty side whilst having a really satisfying degree of poise to its intricately structured flavours. The tannins have some rigour and support the crisp fruit very well. It is not heavy, hard or harsh, just a cracking drinking experience that leaves me wanting to plunge in and drink more to sate my urges for more of its cracking charms. It’ll keep for quite a while yet, I’d wager.

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