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The Wines

100% Syrah from own vineyards at St-Pierre, plus Eygas, La Côte, soils a mixture of decomposed granite (gore) and clay-limestone, alluvial stones,destemmed, 10 day fermentation, then 3 week maceration, cap punchings, aged 80% 1-4 year 228-litre oak casks, 20% concrete vat 13-16 months, called Les Arènes since 2004

2016

(casks) full robe, black centre. The nose sits with reserve, has a blackberry jam or paste aroma, a sure depth. There is variety to come as it evolves and opens. The palate runs with stylish black fruit content, has a note of oxtail fullness and becomes well grounded towards the finish. It’s a slow release, more traditional than modern Cornas, good and complete: drink from spring 2020. 2031-33 Nov 2017

2015 ()

(casks/vat) dark red robe. Iodine and an inky blueberry fruit set the bouquet in motion. It’s profound, firm, layered, has potential. The palate sets off with real vigour, holds black fruited content with fresh purpose in the tannins, the cassis fruit still showing in flashes on the aftertaste. It really hits the line running. This is up-tempo Cornas with an air of freedom that is very engaging. From mid-2019. 2031-33 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(casks) full robe. The nose bustles with energetic fruit, combing raspberry and loganberry, a note of black olives: it paints a good first picture, has a joli width. The palate connects well to the nose, the fruit lively, the tannins clear and shapely. This is a good all round package, a well made ensemble. It isn’t as serious as the big vintages, but is certainly enjoyable. There is a spot of late grain from the tannin, a note of herbs there, too. 13.5°. From mid-2017. 2024-26  Oct 2015 

2013

(casks) dark robe, a touch of matt in the hue. The main aroma combines baked, grilled, oak-nut aromas – this is a good nose that is well sealed, has a low-level meaty depth. This has definite promise: it bears inky dark fruit and flavour with some punch in its tannins, oak in evidence. The gras richness is pretty fluid, and extends agreeably, with floral dabs and perfumes. Good balance. A fine wine with a restrained, shapely finish. From mid-2016. 2026-28  Jan 2015

2012 ()

(casks) notably dark robe; has an ample, stewed fruits air, mulberry and elder here, black cherry and licorice. The palate is grilled, at a basic, fundamental stage. Has good southern zone flesh and a liqueur red fruits richness, determined waves of fruit and matter. Good, rather traditional, genuine, has character. There are toffee, oak notes on the aftertaste, the finish a touch dry. 2024-25  Nov 2013

2011

(casks) rather dark robe. Oily, ample, unctuous aroma with a violet flower backdrop, its fruit notably ripe. The palate is on a fleshy run, the black fruit given tarry depth by its prominent, oaked tannins. Stylistically the aim is for sweet fruit, rather plush style – late cropping accentuates this over terroir. It is a bit perfumato for me. Decant this. From mid-2013. 2020-21  Nov 2012

2010 ()

(casks) dark robe. Oily, squeezy black fruit with light trimming of black pepper, also prune and violet. Good, fresh delivery of black fruits; this could have more distinct terroir. It ends on that black fruit in a tighter manner, with a mild influence there. It shows good style after half way, culminating in a mineral finish. From 2015, and is capable of displaying Cornas qualities. A safe sort of wine. 2024-27 July 2011

2009 ()

still dark red. Has a soft but nicely filled bouquet led by blackberry with undertones of game, roasting. This starts briskly, is fresh from the heights style wine. It moves quite swiftly, is enclosed by oaking and its content is a trifle limited. The close is fresh. It still shows oaking, more than necessary. It has slipped back since last tasted, and there are some questions now. 13°. 2026-28  Nov 2015 Previously Nov 2013 ****(*) bright, full, dark red. Has a go-go aroma – airs of bright, simmered red stone fruits and a close covering of tannin and mineral around them, a spark of licorice. Raspberry sits here in a broad measure. There are wee notes of reduction and game on the attack, but lots of forward black fruit, some prune and a ripe, nicely gummy set of late tannins. A dark point of extra intent and concentration appears on the close, where oak mingles. Pretty genuine. It will offer plenty of stimulus. The aftertaste brings in tarry intensity and good gras richness. 14°. From 2015. 2026-28  Nov 2013  Previously July 2011 ****(*) dark robe of a full black-purple. Grilled, still post-raising bouquet, with nutty airs in the oak-smoke black berry fruit. Has good lift for a 2009 – that is the Cornas imprint. The palate is still in a direct shape, and isn`t yet settled into a focused centre here. The texture is stylish, has a depth of juice and is enjoyable on the second half. Tar first, then oak on aftertaste. A pretty good example of Cornas. From 2014. 2027-30 July 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ****(*) (casks) full robe. Combination of grain and game on the nose, a hint of saltiness and also coffee – the fruit is ripe, such as prune, and violet floats as well. There is also a game note in the palate fruit, the second half is sweet-toned. A wine of the vintage more than the place with its prominent ripeness, or it is a full south-facing slope that brings this pliant, fleshy nature and the juicy finale. Cocoa and tea aftertaste notes. True stuff, persistent. From 2013. 2023-25 Nov 2010.

2008

mid-depth red; withdrawn nose – plum red fruits are inside, but not showing openly at all, has a little width. A live bout of red fruits lie on the palate, but take on a sticky side towards the finish. More like the southern zone of Cornas in style, with its red jam nature. Tannins and oak combine on the finish, leaving a toffee, white raisin effect. Unlike most other Cornas 2008s, which have more hauteur and cut. 2016-17 Dec 2009

2007 ()

(casks) quite a full red. The nose is well varied – smoky, brewed black fruits, a little stalk or cassis leaf, is there Havana cigar here, too? The palate starts on an interesting black fruit run – with a nice sweep of tannin and acidity through it. It lengthens soundly, and retains good grip. It has the structure to evolve well – it is upright now, but not wildly so. It ends on a saline note, almost seaweed. Has local character. From 2010. 2019-21 Dec 2008

2006

quite a dark robe with some brightness in it. Has a supple, raspberry jam aroma with good, secure width – bears a polished, affable nature with a little floral air. This is a soft style of Cornas, maybe from the southern zone; has quite a free flow, and gains a little more density and interest as it goes. The flavour is mainly red fruits. Has a little tannic-oak pep, and the length is pretty good. From late 2009. 2019-21 Jan 2008

2004

toasted aroma - indeed burnt toast, bouquet is stiff and peppery, lacks fruit. Palate also stiff - the oak prevails and the underlying matter is not rich enough for it. Hard to enjoy - the oak swarms severely. Leave, cross fingers, hope - or swerve. Try around 2009 April 2006

2003

(cask) tight, a block of stewed fruit aroma. Dense wine, raspberry fruits, still very enclosed. Tannins ripe. Sound enough, length OK. Leave so can diversify. 2007 on. 2018-21

2002

live nose, violets, earthy; round fruit, sound three-quarter weight. More jam texture than usual. Esp 2006 on. 2012-14

2001

big bouquet - oily/leathery/wild berries/pepper; lively, prolonged fruit, mineral/dry end, very terroir. Tasty. 2006 on. 2016-17

2000 ()

bosky, varied nose, pine, smoky leather/spice. Very Ardèche granite style. Surprising mid-palate flesh, red berry attack, is just a little stretched. Tannic chew at end. 2012-15.

1999

smoky, brambly fruit, cedar/violet aromas; soft, more plump than usual for Cornas. Full, ripe crop black fruit, some gaminess. Oily/tannic touch at end. 2013-15.

1991

this was a special bottling for John Gauntley Wine & Cigar Merchants in Nottingham: the robe is evolving, has see-through patches in it. Candy, bubble gum, blackcurrant aroma, is meaty, has high tone, raisin and honey. The palate has a funny sweetness that does not match many 1991s, and is something I would ascribe to this being a merchant wine. But it does have matter and gras richness. It is fusty on the finish, but is ripe and sweet as well there. Not a bad effort all round, and still has gras. 13°. 2018-20