2013 Domaine Auguste Clape Cotes Du Rhone
“Whenever Cornas comes to mind, so does Auguste Clape. This is the leading estate in Cornas and one of the top names in the Rhone Valley. The wines are in a class of their own with an inimitable intensity and richness as well as great charm and depth of flavour.
Whilst many of the younger, more profit-minded wine makers have tried to extend the boundaries of the Cornas appellation and increase the permitted yield of the vines, Auguste Clape has strongly resisted their proposals, continually defending the quality and good name of Cornas. In his fifties, Monsieur Clape went back to school to study viticulture at Beaune. He learned and accepted many of their theories, but refused to accept the "new oak" philosophy, keeping to his traditionalist standpoint. He agrees that the Syrah needs to be aged in wood to allow it to loosen up and age steadily, but fervently insists that his wines do not need wood tannins, and therefore the wood used must be neutral. He continues in his traditionalist philosophy that the expression of terroir is the most important factor when looking to make a great wine, and that the use of new oak masks and modifies the identity of the terroir. For Auguste Clape's purposes, the use of older oak barrels is paramount.
Traditionalist he may be, but Monsieur Clape is in no way out-dated. He is constantly experimenting in his cellar with new ideas and concepts that might improve his wine. He has amassed a wealth of winemaking knowledge and has become one of the very rare winemakers in the Rhône, along with Chave and Guigal, who are now capable of making a good wine every year, no matter the vintage. Over the past few years he has acquired a following of ardent supporters from all over the world, fanatical about his wines, but the friendly Monsieur Clape remains extremely modest and unpretentious, always interested and ready to accept other people's viewpoints.
In 1989 Monsieur Clape was joined by his son Pierre-Marie, who shares the enthusiasm and winemaking philosophy of his father. He should guarantee the continuation of this great winemaking property for the years to come. Without hesitation, Domaine Clape is a leader in the Northern Rhône, the best grower in Cornas and one of the finest producers in all of France.”
Made from 100% Syrah grown on the other side of R.N. 7 on flat land, facing the appellation of Cornas. Even better, the 2013 Côtes du Rhône knocks it out of the park with its cassis, violets, singed leather and crushed-rock aromas and flavors. Medium to full-bodied, ripe, textured and layered, with awesome purity, if you like the wines from this estate, get some of these. 91-92 Pts - Jeb Dunnuck, eRobertParker #216 Dec 2014