This beauty is twenty-one years young; Chinon Cornuelles Domaine Sourdais 1996 was sold by the WS for £20 along with the same wine’s elder sibling, the 1993 vintage. Understandably, the WS sold out very quickly. Richard and I each bought two bottles of both vintages.
Pure Cabernet Franc, the wine weighs in at a good, old-fashioned 12.5% ABV – as was generally the case before the days of red bruiser-weights between 14 – 15%. In my opinion, the lower alcohol give the wine’s more subtler flavours to shine and this was certainly true in this tasting.
Of medium intensity and with some evidence of viscosity, the wine’s core colour was ruby but had a slight brick coloured rim – as would be expected. But the redness of the core said that this wine was still young at heart. On the nose, a gentle sous bois aroma was overladen with pepper, dusty-notes and the developing cherry-tartness which reminded me of Italian wines.
The long taste was a wonderful blend of unripe damson fruit, grippy tannins and earthy notes. What was remarkable was the freshness which shone through after twenty-one years. Research tells me that CF, when grown on limestone – prevalent around Chinon, has the best capacity for ageing because of its tannins and acidity. It certainly proved itself here.
The wine was served at just the right temperature (thanks Richard), i.e. slightly cool. It was one of those wines that stick in the memory. I’ve got a 1993 to try – I’ll probably drink that in another ten years!
[Richard: photo is of the ’93 but they are identical, apart from the date. A lovely wine, still fresh and certainly not tasting – or looking – 21 years old. Can’t add anything to Geoff’s note except to say the it was a pleasure to finish the bottle over the evening.]