2019 Domaine Auguste Clape Cotes du Rhone Syrah
Auguste Clape first came to Cornas in 1949 to marry his wife Henriette whose family owned 5 hectares of vineyards in the appellation. Today his son, Pierre-Marie and grandson Olivier Clape run the estate, which is considered to be the benchmark producer in the region. They farm 5.38 acres of Cornas including a resounding 3 hectares on the granitic soils of what is the finest plot in Cornas - Reynards. An “old-style” producer with no destemming, wild yeast ferments that take place in concrete vats and aging in older, neutral foudres for 20 months before bottling without filtration. If you seek a traditional Syrah from the sun-drenched, terraced slopes of the Northern Rhône, the stunning wines of Auguste Clape should be at the top of your list.
Domaine Clape Cotes du Rhone is sourced from two parcels of Syrah, one planted within Saint-Péray and classified as Cotes du Rhone, and a second at the bottom of a slope just beneath the boundary of Cornas, level with the village of Cornas. In some years a small amount of press wine from young-vine Cornas is added. Fermentation and elevage occurs in cement tanks with part of the wine passing briefly in foudre.
Easily the equal of some producers' Cornas, Clape's 2019 Cotes du Rhone—which comes from vines on just the wrong side of the road to be called Cornas—boasts attractive scents of menthol and cassis. It's medium to full-bodied and quite concentrated and tannic this vintage, yet finishes silky and long. Give it another year in the cellar and drink it through the end of this decade. Drink 2023 - 2030.
Joe Czerwinski - Wine Advocate (Jan 2022)