Auguste Clape Cornas 2018
Monsieur Clape's Cornas is systematically considered the best in the appellation, constantly attaining the most amazing levels of excellence. There is always an extremely deep purple, almost black color that exudes a never-ending array of rich complex aromas of dried fruits, licorice, spice and pepper. The sheer power and concentration of the wine on the palate is overwhelming. The attack is sensational, followed with an incredible volume of extract that saturates the palate in rich, concentrated fruity tannins that last through a magnificently long, stunning finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Bottled late in 2020, the 2018 Cornas is another exceptional vintage for this cuvee, drawn from the family's older vines, largely in the lieux-dits of La Cote, Sabarotte and Reynard. Yes, it's from a hot, sunny vintage, it's rich and ripe, with plenty of red plum fruit up front, but there's a solid underpinning of crushed stone to provide balance. Full-bodied and velvety in feel in the mouth, it lingers elegantly on the lengthy finish. Complete, balanced and fine. Best After 2023
Remarkably fresh nose, considering that August 2018 was so hot in the Rhone. Stunning aromas of bitter chocolate and perfectly ripe wild blackberries. I love the generous but not expansive body, where there’s a sensational interplay of fine tannins and mineral freshness that drive the very long and exciting finish.
The 2018 Cornas is a classic wine from this renowned estate that's 100% Syrah, mostly from the Reynard lieu-dit, brought up all in ancient foudre and casks. This is as classic and old school as they come, and the 2018 is as Clape as it gets with its bloody blue fruits, liquid violet, smoked game, pepper, bay leaf, and iron-like aromas and flavors. More medium to full-bodied on the palate, it doesn't have the sheer richness of the 2015 or 2017, and if anything, reminds me slightly of the 2016 with its incredible purity, balance, and finesse. The structure and tannins, which were more up-front and present from barrel, have a more round, seamless feel that gives this some up-front appeal. Granted, I followed this bottle for multiple days, and it certainly benefited from lots of air. Rating: 97+
In the world of wine, there are many good winegrowers. However, there are only a very select few who are truly great, and Auguste Clape will go down in history as one of the greats. A proud and uncompromising pioneer of fine winemaking in the Northern Rhône, his Syrahs from the cru of Cornas have earned their place among the most celebrated wines of France. The Clapes have been vignerons for many generations, but the infamous grower strikes of 1906 and 1907 forced Auguste's grandfather out of the Languedoc and into the Northern Rhône to start anew from practically nothing. The Clapes rebuilt their fortunes, terrace by terrace, along the steep, western slopes of the Rhône River. Without pretense or fanfare, Auguste, the former mayor of Cornas, was a stately picture of grace and magnanimity—a no-nonsense wise man who never rested on his laurels and sought to better himself and his wines each year until his passing in 2018 at the age of 93. Today, his son, Pierre-Marie, and grandson, Olivier, carry on his legacy with honor and integrity.
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.”