Maison Les Alexandrins Cornas - 2020
A partnership between three winegrowers from the Rhône Valley – Nicolas Jaboulet, Guillaume Sorrel and Alexandre Caso – Maison les Alexandrins produces northern wines in a style at once contemporary and timeless, always from exceptional vineyards unearthed by Alexandre Caso, a specialist in the terroirs of the northern Rhône Valley. Classics with a twist, these wines and how they are aged and blended are guided by the quest for perfect harmony from a very young age. Most of the wine comes from the locality of Les Eygats.
Located at over 250 metres altitude on terraces containing decomposed granite, the vineyard enjoys a pleasant south/south-east exposure.
After the hail damage of 2019, we had to nurse our vineyards back to health with a range of gentle but complementary nutrients. This made 2020 a technically exacting year, especially since the weather reserved many surprises for us. Spring was extraordinarily hot and dry and, despite a short break in June when some welcome rain fell, summer saw a continuation of drought conditions right up until the harvest. With a high risk of mildew at the start of the season, constant and unpredictable winds, powdery mildew half way through the season and the threat of high temperatures and scorching, we were spared nothing, and it required a major effort to cope. Fortunately, the occasional shower, fairly cool nights and morning dew meant the vines did not suffer too much from the summer heat, and all our hard work seems to have paid off with the promise of a fine vintage. To avoid the hottest moments of the day, we began picking from 6 am so as to pick the grapes while they were cool. We began with the whites on August 19 and continued with the reds through until September 16. First tastings revealed aromatic wines of great freshness, with degrees rarely exceeding 13.5°. After so many twists and turns, it is a vintage that reverts to origin in a very “Northern Rhône” style, after the mediterranean vintages of 2018 and 2019.
An Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in the northern Rhône Valley since 1938, the vineyard lies on the right bank of the Rhône, on the eastern side of the Massif Central in the village of Cornas. The steep slopes facing east and south-east form a natural amphitheatre, shielding the vines from cold winds. Here the full strength of Syrah, the appellation’s sole grape variety, is expressed. The Cornas vineyard is ancient, dating back to Roman times. Romans are said to be responsible for the terraced structure and the first chaillées (dry stone walls). The first written evidence of vineyards in the area dates back to the 10th century, when the Canon of Viviers mentioned that the church in Cornas was “surrounded by vines”. A document from 1763 also speaks about the “powerful wine” produced in the village.
- Pre-fermentation cold maceration to develop the fruit.
- Maceration and fermentation for about 20 days with pumping over for the first few days and then punching down towards the end.
- Ageing in barrels of one and two wines for 15 months.
Beautiful deep colour with shiny reflections. This wine opens up with a very aromatic nose typical of Syrah with notes of black fruit. On the palate, the attack is straightforward before revealing very silky tannins, both powerful and delicate, and a beautiful structure. A powerful and elegant wine which requires a few years of aging to reveal all its complexity
This wine will go wonderfully with grilled red meats and game. When aged from 7 to 10 years, it pairs marvellously with hare à la royale.
Serve at 17°C. This Cornas is wonderfully elegant and can be enjoyed after just two or three years’ cellaring. However, the appellation is known for revealing the secrets of its wines after many more years and an additional seven years will bring out its best.
Syrah : 100 %