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2002 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Rhone

2002 Domaine Eric et Joel Durand Cornas Rhone

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100% Syrah

Located on the right bank of the Rhône river in the département of Ardèche, the Cornas vineyard enjoys a reputation that dates back to the 10th century. Charlemagne, Saint Louis and Louis 15th all loved these wines. At the dawning of the French Revolution, talk had already turned to the "black" wine of Cornas and in the early 19th century, they rivalled Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines in terms of quality.

The destructive forces of phylloxera followed by increasing urbanisation threatened the existence of this vineyard, which is microscopic compared to the region's other productions, and is difficult to maintain due to its location perched on the steep terraces of the valley.

Yet this area, comprised of shallow soil, laid over rock made up of granitic and limestone deposits, enables wines of great complexity to be made.

In addition, it enjoys a micro-climate due to its south-/south-east-facing location on the Rhône hillsides and the influence of the Mistral wind: drenched in sun, the vineyard matures early and grapes are often harvested before any of the region's other vineyards. Certified with the AOC label since 1938, the appellation has been experiencing a real revival since the early 1980s. Led by a handful of enterprising and talented producers and wine specialists, the production surface area has been expanded from the 76 hectares of the 1980s to its current 102 hectares. The heady Cornas wine is almost black in colour and boasts magnficent body and imposing structure. In its young stages it may appear closed and rustic. But with time it unfurls a sensuality and bouquet of rich, dense aromas that combine blackcurrant flavours with notes of leather, herbs and roasted meat.

Among the under-the-radar producers in the northern Rhone, this 20-hectare domaine, has been run by brothers Eric and Joel Durand since 1996. It’s a shame because the wines warrant more attention while pricing is quite friendly given the quality delivered. Domaine Durand produces a collection of generous, fruit-driven and polished wines that’s led by four Cornas bottlings consistently among the most approachable of the appellation. New oak has played a part in all of the wines’ upbringing but I rarely find its statement to be pronounced. The Durands have been de-emphasizing the use of oak in recent vintages, much like many of their neighbors. 

Tannic: 2/4
Body: 4/4
Acidic: 4/4
Complex: 4/4
Finish: 3/4

Country: France 
Region: Rhone
Type of Wine: Red
Bottle Size: 750mL

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