Alain Voge Cornas Vieilles Vignes 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
One of the leading estates in Cornas, Alain Voge, with more and more assistance from Alberic Mazoyer (formerly at Chapoutier), produces some of the most impressive, concentrated and rich wines of the appellation. Owning 17 acres in Cornas, spread across 12 different plots, and 15 acres in Saint Peray, this estate produces two whites from Saint Peray and up to three Cornas in any given vintage. In Cornas, the first cuvee is the Les Chailles, which comes from vines planted in the mid-1980s. Aged 18 months in neutral oak, it is the most forward and approachable of the releases. The old vine Vieilles Vignes cuvee sees more time in oak (some of which can be new) and comes from vines averaging 30 to90 years in age. Lastly, the tiny production and top wine, the Les Vieilles Fontaines, is a vineyard selection (normally from the Les Cotes and Chaillot lieux-dits) that sees up to 24 months in 15% new oak. Both the Vieilles Vignes and Les Vieilles Fontaines are serious, concentrated wines that will benefit from short-term cellaring. As a whole, vinification here is semi-modern, with plenty of destemming, and while the wines shows gorgeous polish and purity, they never lose their Cornas soul. These wines need to be on every reader’s short list.
Since its inception, several generations ago, Domaine Alain Voge has always been a family domain located in Cornas. In 1958, Alain Voge joined his father to work on the small typical farm. He decided to specialise in wine.
At the time, it was an audacious decision: despite their history, the Cornas and Saint Peray appellations were forgotten sleeping beauties. Very quickly, he extended the vineyards in places which had remained uncultivated over the last 30 years and developed the sales of his bottled wines. Supported by his wife Eliane, he visited the best national and regional restaurants to make his wines known.
Thanks to their quality and to Alain Voge’s creative approach, the domain’s reputation has rapidly increased. Yesterday, as today and tomorrow, our philosophy is to practice a hand made viticulture on the slopes of the Rhône right bank, dedicated to Syrah and Marsanne. Our wines are the expression of their terroir, for the pleasure of lovers, all over the world.
Distinguished as a fine Syrah producing zone since the 18th century, Cornas, like Cote Rotie, is made up of vineyards covering steep and hard-to-work, granite terraces. As a result the region’s wines fell out of favor during the mid 20th century when the global market was more focused on bulk wines and vineyards that yielded high quantities. It wasn’t until the 1980s when a group of energetic young winemakers reestablished the integrity of these precipitous terraces and also began making an ultra-modern style of Syrah. The new style didn’t need a decade before it was drinkable and could reach the consumer faster than the region’s traditional wines. Given the new quality coming out of the zone, its popularity once again soared and today a good Cornas can easily challenge many of those from Hermitage. Characteristics of Syrah from Cornas include teeth-staining flavors of blackberry jam, plum, pepper, violets, smoked game, charcoal, chalk dust and smoke.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”