2015 Thierry Allemand 'Chaillot' - Cornas, France. (Syrah). 750ml
96 Points Josh Raynolds
The Arc of Cornas History
Today, Thiérry stands—along with Auguste Clape’s son Pierre-Marie—as the greatest link to Cornas’ glorious past. He has stepped into a vacuum created by the retirement of both Versets as well as both Michels.
Yet, Thiérry is a disciple of no one’s. He is a fiercely independent-minded man who was fortunate to work with, and learn from, the greats from the past. Rather than aping their ideas, he learned from them, and added a few of his own. Today, he stands as the bridge between Cornas’ past and what we hope its future will be.
Thiérry’s highly individual approach results in stunningly expressive Cornas of soaring aromatic complexity and perfect balance. His wines display the classic Cornas dark berries, woodsmoke, dried herb and black olive flavors, leavened by flint and pit fruits, with amazing freshness and definition. No other grower’s Cornas combines concentration, firm structure and elegance as Thiérry’s does.
He is classic in not de-stemming his fruit and in avoiding new oak. Where he departs from others is in his use of minimal sulphur and in not racking his wines. He believes that excessive sulphur is the reason for the tarry aromas and hard tannins found in other producer's Cornas, and so uses as little as possible.
He also is of the opinion that using less sulphur allows him to leave the wine alone once it has been gravity fed to barrel for aging. Many Syrah producers aerate their wine with frequent racking to avoid reduction. In his cellar the wine ages for 18 months to two years on its lees,without racking, developing great aromatic complexity and velvety texture.
The astonishing quality and purity of Allemand’s wines has earned him a passionate following, particularly among top sommeliers and other winemakers. And with a tiny average production of 500 cases each of Cornas Chaillot and Cornas Reynard, there is never enoughAllemand wine to satisfy demand. He has become the closest thing to a cult star the Northern Rhône has seen.