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.
Today fifth generation winemaker Nicolas Serrette farms a miniscule 1.8 hectares in Cornas. We feel lucky to have finally gotten an audience at this address — a tiny, well-known producer in a tiny, popular appellation. Our entire allocation of his 2016 Cornas sold through Futures last year, but we got a bit more this vintage and we’re thrilled to release it today.
Simon Field MW of Berry Brothers writes of the Dumien-Serrette wines’ “granitic splendor” and “beguiling floral elegance which sets them apart.” They draw from 80+ year old vines to produce intense, teeth-staining Syrah, with extraordinary depth but remarkable freshness. Their 2016 was delicious, but their 2017 is even better.
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.”
This is intense, inky, old-school Syrah of the highest caliber — the rugged Northern Rhône at its finest.
Dumien-Serrette Cornas 2017
bottle price: $52
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