Cornas is a tiny appellation. It covers 145 hectares (compared with Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s 3,000+), and is home to fewer than 50 vignerons. The name comes from the Celtic word for “burnt earth,” and it’s an appropriate moniker: Cornas is pure Syrah like the rest of the Northern Rhône, but the feel is of something farther to the South.
The Domaine Dumien-Serrette is relatively new to the Ansonia portfolio, but hardly new to Cornas — records show Dumiens living there in 1515. Our allocation from this grower last year was so small that it sold out entirely in Futures, and we weren’t able to offer any of their delicious 2016 Cornas from inventory.
TheOur allocation has grown only slightly this year, and we’ve added two additional cuvées (one old-vine cuvée, one Vin de Pays). All three will appear in next Sunday’s July Futures release, but we’re opening up the bidding early for this one.
Fifth generation winemaker Nicolas Serrette farms a miniscule 1.8 hectares, producing only about 500 cases a year. Simon Field MW of Berry Brothers in London writes of their wine’s’ “granitic splendor” and “beguiling floral elegance which sets them apart.” Their 80 year old vines produce intense, teeth-staining Syrah, with extraordinary depth but remarkable freshness.
The 2017 Cornas “Patou” is magnificent — a combination of inky black flavors with unusually refined floral finesse. The nose is deep and rich, showing cherries, cocoa, anise, and pepper. On the palate it’s very fine and silky, with intense mouthfeel and notes of cherry jam, violets, and olive. The Wine Advocate awarded 93 points, finding it “intense, with an attractive dusty texture of chalk dust, charcoal and crushed stone.” It will need a year or two to show its special character, but your patience will be amply rewarded.
Like many of the best wines we import, this is as scarce as it is delicious: we’ve got fewer than 12 cases to our name. Orders will be first come first served; if there’s any left by Sunday we’ll include it in the July Futures.
Dumien-Serrette Cornas Patou 2017
Ansonia Retail: $660
July Futures: $495/case
AVAILABLE BY THE CASE AND HALF-CASE