Looking at the Cornas releases, the 2016 Cornas Granite 30 comes from the Patou and Saint Pierre lieux-dits and was completely destemmed before aging in a mix of barrels. It’s a ripe, vibrant beauty that's overflowing with fruit. Blackberries, blueberries, violets, spring flowers and hints of minerality all give way to a full-bodied, unctuous effort that has good acidity and sweet tannin. It's another no-brainer wine from this estate. The wines from the young Vincent Paris (who is now co-president of the Cornas Appellation) continue to get better and better every year, and he’s produced brilliant wines in both 2015 and 2016. It’s important to understand the three Cornas cuvées: Granite 30, Granite 60, and La Geynale. The Granite 30 is a younger vine cuvée from less steep hillside parcels (roughly 30 degrees), and it’s mostly destemmed and brought up in a mix of mostly used barrels. There are about 1,000 cases produced. The Granite 60 comes from older vines in the Patou, Les Mazards and Sauman lieux-dits, and steep slopes (60 degrees). This cuvée sees some stem inclusion and a similar time in mostly used barrels. This cuvée is normally a solid step up in depth and quality over the Granite 30. Roughly 400 cases is a normal production level for this release. Lastly, the La Geynale comes from the oldest vines of the estate, which were planted in 1910 and are located in the Geynale and Reynard lieux-dit. This cuvée sees very little destemming and is aged in, again, mostly neutr
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. Vincent Paris has been working in Cornas for more than a decade, but still qualifies (in my opinion) as one of the young guys. His prized parcel is in La Geynale, a plot of 100-year-old vines facing due south. His 2015s are classically firm, structured wines that demand cellaring, while the 2016s are more flattering to taste yet still express their terroirs. Paris says he used to do more pigeage but has cut back in favor of gentler extraction techniques. The wines are still plenty dark and concentrated but perhaps a bit less austere as a result. (JC)
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