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Noël Verset was the last of the Cornas old timers, born 4 December, 1919. He has only ever known manual work, both in the vineyard and outside in the dog days of the 1950s, when he doubled up working nights on the French Railways in a warehouse in Valence. His traditional Cornas is robust, and reflects the old days – whole bunches, foot crushing, used cask raising, and maybe some volatile hints here and there. The size of the casks changed in his later years from 600-litres to 228-litres as the oak aged, and he found the demi-muids of 600-litres too heavy to handle. His last vintage was 2006, with crop from his 0.18 hectare Champelrose vineyard. This is now worked by his nephew Alain, while his 0.5 ha holding on Chaillot is being worked by Franck Balthazar. Chapeau, Monsieur Verset!

Impasse de la Couleyre 07130 Cornas

Tel: +33(0)475 40 36 66

Countries exported to:1) USA 2) GB 3) Japan/Canada

British Importers: Richards Walford & Co. Ltd, The Manor House, Pickworth, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 4DJ, +44(0)1780 460276, www.r-w.co.uk

USA Importers: Kermit Lynch, 1605 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702, +1 510 524 1524, www.kermitlynch.com