Lastly, the 2017 Cornas showed incredibly well. A great vintage for the Northern Rhône, it has textbook aromas and flavors. Due to yields, no Renaissance cuvée was produced, so readers need to grab bottles of this while they can. Revealing a deep purple color as well a sweet nose of dark fruits, currants, ground pepper, bloody meat, and iron, the 2017 hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a powerful, dense mid-palate, huge minerality, and enough tannins to warrant 7-8 years of bottle age.
Cask samples tasted at the domaine. There are fewer than usual in 2018 because of lower yields. Renaissance might not be produced in this vintage.
Sample cuvée 1: Patou
A potential candidate for Renaissance – or might be used to add freshness to the main blend. Supreme floral scent, leathery and liquorice flavours. Wonderfully ornate, complex and deep, with dark plummy fruit and a long aniseed and bitter-herb finish. Very supple tannins.
Sample cuvée 2 : Reynards young vines plus St-Pierre
Much more tannic and grainy with full body, tarry character with dark berry fruit. Great intensity of fruit – and has all the severity expected from Cornas. Cotton-mouth finish.
Sample cuvée 3 : Sabarotte and Robert (between Geynale and Reynards).
Black-cherry fruit with furry tannin making a chunky, astringent mouthfeel. Very harsh overall. Unforgiving structure. Needs to be in fruitier company to achieve balance.
Sample cuvée 4: La Côte and Petite Côte
The most aromatic of the samples, which gives violet, garrigue and black-cherry fruit. Still fiercely tannic but with great natural acid balance – seems complete.
Sample cuvée 5: Vieilles vignes de Reynards
Tannic, dark, concentrated and syrupy – very much a rustic style, yet there is superb fruit intensity on the palate, giving long black-cherry notes – but not bitterness. 2022 - 2042
The older vine lots destined for the 2017 Cornas showed similarly yet had more mid-palate density, tannins, and length. I expect both these cuvées to come in similar to the 2016s once all is said and done.