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Courbis Cornas La Sabarotte 2009

Syrah/Shiraz from Cornas, Rhone, France
  • RP95
  • WS94
13.5% ABV
  • RP95
  • WS92
  • RP94
  • WS93
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Cornas La Sabarotte parcel – widely considered to be among the very best sites of the appellation - has extremely old vines (most planted in 1947 but some are even older) on a granite-limestone soil. It is Courbis' most dramatic wine, showing saturated black-purple in color with layers of chewy, ripe, sweet fruit with black olive and berry, tar and mineral notes. It has remarkable intensity and richness.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the finest Cornas wines I have tasted is Courbis’s 2009 Cornas La Sabarotte. With a style similar to Les Eygats, it exhibits notes of blueberry and blackberry liqueur intermixed with incense, creosote, charcoal, roasted meats and spring flowers. It possesses fabulous fruit as well as a skyscraper-like texture. There is no evidence of new oak because of the lavish concentration. This enormously impressive, full-bodied, massive wine will be even better in 5-10 years and should last for 25+ years.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
Takes a ripe, modern approach at first, with roasted fig, crushed plum and raspberry notes leading the way, but also lots of roasted earth and tobacco tugging from underneath to keep this honest. A piercing chalky streak emerges on the finish, providing added length and range. Very impressive. Best from 2014 through 2025.
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Courbis

Courbis

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Courbis, , France - Rhone
Courbis
The origins of the Courbis family estate date back to the 16th century. More recently, the brothers Dominique and Laurent Courbis have succeeded their father, Maurice, who was the mayor of Chateaubourg, their hometown.

All the grapes are harvested by hand and yields are kept to an average of 30 hl/ha. The fruit is 100% destemmed and the maceration period for the Syrahs lasts between two and three weeks. The wines mature in oak casks which are new or up to three years old. The red wines are fined with egg whites but not filtered and are bottled between two and three years of the harvest.

The wines of the Courbis estate are some of the most compelling examples of St. Joseph and Cornas being made today. The Courbis brothers have combined their long family experience with a modern style and this has earned them international recognition. Robert Parker sums it up in his book on Rhone wines: “Courbis is a name to watch in the Northern Rhone.” Courbis wines regularly receive rave reviews in Wine Spectator, International Wine Cellar, The Wine Advocate and Revue du Vin de France.

California

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Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

AIWSABAR_2009 Item# 112524

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