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Vincent Paris, Cornas Granit 30 Rhone 2017
This Cornas from 15 year old vines is grown on 30% gradient granite and is aged for just 3 months in old foudres the better to showcase juicy blackberry fruit with crunch and minerality drawing it in to a beautifully long and appetising finish. The pure Syrah is polished and peppery with hugely intense dark berry fruit. Whilst it's quite a restrained style of Cornas, that peppery spice makes it the perfect seasoning for any big red meat dish or slow-cooked stew.
The name of this wine, "30", references both the gradient slope of the vineyard as well as the average age of the vines. Prunes to only four bunches of grapes per vine (the norm is between five and seven) which concentrates the vines' growing power and cuts down on the need for green harvests. Ferments at low temps, vinfied 2/3 in barrel and 1/3 in tank. Aged in Oak barrels for up to 12 months. Roughly 1,000 cases produced each year.
Vincent Paris, whose first vintage was 1997, is as shy as his wines are bold. In his early 30's, he has retro sideburns, but not much else in the Cornas appellation's new star is 'retro'. Vincent's uncle is Robert Michel, one of Cornas' finest growers. He made his two first wines with his uncle then, seeking autonomy, rented facilities for the vinification of his most recent wines. He is in the process of building his own winemaking facilities with a courtyard that holds his apricot plantation. Vincent Paris, co-president of the appellation of Cornas with Jacques Lemencier, owns 6 hectares of vineyards and produces about 2,500cs per year of which 1,600cs are Cornas. He inherited most of his own vines from his grandfather (some of which are 90 years old) and has also rented some vines from his uncle. Vincent's total rented and owned holdings amount to 8 hectares. They are located at different places primarily along the southeast facing Cornas slope and a small lot in St. Joseph. He prunes to only four bunches of grapes per vine (the norm is between five and seven) which concentrates the vines' growing power and cuts down on the need for green harvests. He ferments at relatively low temperatures and matures his wine in oak barrels for up to 12 months. The Cornas Granit 30 and 60 designations refer to the soil, the approximate age of the vines, and the slope on which they are planted. The Granit 30 is concentrated black fruit in a relatively consumer friendly style perhaps a bit more Syrah-ish than Cornas-ish, whereas the 60 is classic Cornas dense, aromas of kidney and iron, with a terrific mineral underpinning. He also makes very small amounts of Cornas 'Geynale' from very old vines from 1910 that he inherited from his uncle, Robert Michel. He vinifies this with 100% whole cluster, and it produces a classic titan of traditional Cornas! His St Joseph red is made from 10 and 20 year old vines, and is vinfied half in used barrel and half in tank. The Granit Blanc is produced within the region of Cornas but cannot be called so as AOC wines of Cornas cannot be white, hence being VdP. A blend of 2/3s Viognier, 1/3 Roussanne that is exceptional value for a northern Rhone white and perfect as an aperitif. The Saint Joseph is refreshing, fruity and very approachable with a lively acidity.
Wine Advocate 91pts (2016) - The 2016 Cornas Granit 30 had been blended and was in tank awaiting bottling during my visit. Medium to full-bodied, it’s already almost drinkable, showing attractive and classic notes of crushed stone, blood and cherries, reasonably supple tannins and charming blueberries on the finish.