Highlights: Chapoutier Saint-Pierre Cornas 2019 Northern Rhône, France

A real treat to try this new Cornas lieu dit from Chapoutier. It’s brilliant. There’s some sternness and structure, but there’s also lots of refinement. People used to knock Cornas as being rustic, and with the structure this wine has and the granitic-derived freshness and edginess, it could be, but here the wildness has been reined in, and this is a wine that shows superb balance.  

Chapoutier Saint-Pierre Cornas 2019 Northern Rhône, France
14% alcohol. This is a new Lieu Dit from Chapoutier, and just 460 bottles were made. It’s 100% Syrah from a cool, south-east facing hilly terroir at 400m. Soils are rankosol over relatively unweathered white granite. Grapes were destemmed and fermented in concrete vats with a post ferment maceration, and then malolactic was in barrel (20% new), with an 18 month elevage. It’s a vivid, intensely coloured expression of Syrah with brooding black cherry and raspberry fruit, as well as some sweet blackberry notes. There’s a freshness here, with some peppery hints, but also a depth and lushness to the fruit. It’s a dense, slightly meaty (cured meats and a touch of olive) wine backed by substantial structure, and a really distinctive crushed rock texture. I like the texture here, and I reckon that while it’s approachable now, it has an upside of at least a decade. Very fine. 96/100

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