“Beguiling” New 2018 Cornas: Syrah at its Most Intense

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 sunnier from further South.

Today fifth generation winemaker Nicolas Serrette farms a miniscule 1.8 hectares (4 acres) in Cornas. We feel lucky to have finally gotten an audience at this address — a tiny, well-known producer in a tiny, popular appellation. Give their wines a bit of time and space, and they’re sure to impress.

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.

The 2018 Cornas “Patou” is magnificent — a combination of inky black flavors with unusually refined floral finesse. Full of fine-grained tannin and perfectly ripe fruit, this is as bold and intense as Syrah gets. The nose is deep and rich, showing cherries, cocoa, anise, and pepper. On the palate it’s masculine and distilled, with notes of cherry jam, violets, and olive.

Most wines this ageworthy will run $100 or more; we think this provides excellent value at just over $50. Put this one in the cellar for a year or two before drinking — then enjoy for another ten.


Dumien-Serrette Cornas “Patou” 2018
bottle price: $52

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