In a recent tasting of red wines from the Northern Rhône, two high quality wines each from Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, and Cornas were pitted against each other. The assumption was that Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage would be the superior appellations. However, this is not how it turned out. Cornas provided very high quality and matched it with Hermitage.
The top Cornas wine was the 2010 Domaine Vincent Paris 60 Granit. This Syrah comes from 90 year old vines on steep granite slopes. It is matured in 100% old oak. This is a feminine, but powerful wine with elegant blue fruit flavours (95 points).
The 2013 Auguste Clape Cornas was almost as good. The flavour profile was interesting, although not very pure. Orange peel, musky notes, vegetable, and black pepper deliver a complex mouthfeel. There is some minerality on the back palate, too, before this wine finishes very dry (94 points).
The top wine, however, came from Hermitage. It was the 2005 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage. It is a blend from 14 parcels of on average 50 year old vines. This is a full-bodied beast. Smoky flavours add to the blackberries. There is a bit of barnyard here, too. The tannins are impressive and the finish very long (96 points).