Tasting this blind, I firmly stated that the dominant grape was Grenache (I got the geography roughly correct); it was powerful and not particularly delicate. The colour was a opaque black, red-rimmed and suggested a fully mature wine. The nose was more interesting, strawberry fruit with some vegetal tones pushing about underneath and even some menthol whiffs coming through. There was also evidence of oak-ageing.
The palate was firm with tannins and concentrated with a very slight pepper quality (ooooh – could there be some Syrah in there?). Not a lot – if any at all, I said. Richard tried to lead me away, tried to get me to commit (it’s a fun game of bluff and double-bluff). I smelt a rat (not in the wine). The finish was dry.
It was, in fact, 100% Syrah and made in Cornas which is one of the smaller ACs in the north Rhone. The wines from the area do not get a good press – too rustic/variable/unsophisticate/powerful/ etc etc – but this wasn’t too bad. It needed food and possibly still more ageing, but it wasn’t going to achieve the leaner style of Syrah that manifests in its neighbours to the north.
Wine: Cornas 2007 Les Vieilles Vignes by Voge.
[Richard: from WS in 2012, £35, no longer available. Voge didn’t make a premier cuvee in 2007 so this should have some of the best grapes. I’d written ‘day 2’ on the bottle at some point – no time for that so it was decanted an hour or so before tasting. Almost classy wine, (you can see what is meant by rusticity) not obviously Syrah and with no additions allowed as would be common elsewhere in the Northern Rhone. No change throughout the evening. Perhaps drunk too young.]