2020 Cornas, Les Chailles, Domaine Alain Voge, Rhône

2020 Cornas, Les Chailles, Domaine Alain Voge, Rhône

Product: 20208012296
Prices start from £39.50 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2020 Cornas, Les Chailles, Domaine Alain Voge, Rhône

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Made from 40-year-old vines, a blend of different lieux-dits in the granite foothills of Cornas. The name itself, meaning “chert”, refers to the siliceous rock specific to the area. Silky, refined and juicy; the nose displays ripe berry fruit – red cherries, kirsch, blackcurrants, and raspberry coulis. There is a touch of smoke and a bed of fine tannins.

Drink 2023 - 2035

Georgina Haacke, Fine Wine Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd

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Critics reviews

Josh Raynolds, Vinous94/100

Deep, brilliant ruby. Vibrant, smoke-accented dark berries, candied flowers, licorice and olive are showcased on the perfumed nose. Sappy, penetrating and chewy in the mouth, offering gently sweet blackberry, cherry-cola and baking spice flavors that show sharp definition and mineral lift. Expressive and lively in style, with polished tannins building steadily on a very long, floral-accented finish. Roughly 20% whole clusters.

Lionel Fraise, a Saint-Péray native, took over Domaine Alain Voge’s winemaking duties in 2018 and is maintaining the excellent standard established by his predecessor, Albéric Mazoyer, as evidenced by Voge’s 2020, 2019 and 2018 releases. The fruit here is usually de-stemmed to some percentage, but there is no set recipe. It all depends on the vintage, Fraise told me. While the wines are aged in small oak barrels, up to 25% of them new, their influence on resulting wines is not especially perceptible after a few years of bottle age, which these wines always demand. To my taste, 2020 is the favored vintage here, as is generally the case up and down the region, for the wines’ energy and vivid fruit.

Drink 2027 - 2036

Josh Raynolds, Vinous.com (December 2022)

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Jeb Dunnuck92-94/100

Moving to the reds, the 2020 Cornas Les Chailles comes from slightly younger vines and is all destemmed and aged in used barrels for 18 months. Deep purple-hued, with slightly reticent notes of blackberries, peppery herbs, iron, and violets, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, wonderful purity of fruit, silky tannins, and a great finish.

It's going to have some up-front appeal, but smart money will give bottles 2-3 years in the cellar.

Jeb Dunnuck (February 2022)

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About this WINE

Domaine Alain Voge

Domaine Alain Voge

Alain Voge is one of the famous names in Cornas. The domaine rose to prominence when Alain joined his father’s smallholding in the late 1950s, moving it from polyculture to focusing exclusively on wine. He became the Cornas appellation’s greatest advocate, championing its reputation internationally as well as at home. Until his death in ’20, he was regarded as the godfather of this portion of the Rhône.

In his five decades at the domaine, Alain worked meticulously: replanting abandoned slopes, regenerating old-vine Syrah and using traditional winemaking techniques to produce increasingly noteworthy wines. Following Alain’s retirement ’04, Chapoutier alumnus Albéric Mazoyer took over as co-owner and winemaker, moving the domaine to biodynamic practices. Since ’18, Lionel Fraisse has been at the helm who continues to champion the sustainable winemaking of his predecessors.

Today, the domaine spans more than 12 hectares: eight in Cornas and four in St Péray. Farmed organically and biodynamically, the wines are vinified traditionally, with the grapes largely de-stemmed and oak influence kept to a minimum in the reds. Despite burgeoning interest and price appreciation in the Northern Rhône, these wines still offer outstanding value.

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Cornas is a small appellation, just 150 hectares, located south of St Joseph. It’s on the west side of the river. The name “Cornas” comes from an old Celtic dialect term, meaning “burnt land”, so it’s no surprise that on the steep terraces here, facing south, temperatures are significantly higher than those in Hermitage, which is just 7km away.

The granite soils are home to the Syrah grape, producing reds that sit somewhere between those of Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. These are strong and powerful wines, with nervy acidity and a robust, rustic charm to them. Their prominent tannins mean that they often demand time in the cellar to express their underlying elegance and complexity.

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A noble black grape variety grown particularly in the Northern Rhône where it produces the great red wines of Hermitage, Cote Rôtie and Cornas, and in Australia where it produces wines of startling depth and intensity. Reasonably low yields are a crucial factor for quality as is picking at optimum ripeness. Its heartland, Hermitage and Côte Rôtie, consists of 270 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards producing wines that brim with pepper, spices, tar and black treacle when young. After 5-10 years they become smooth and velvety with pronounced fruit characteristics of damsons, raspberries, blackcurrants and loganberries.

It is now grown extensively in the Southern Rhône where it is blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre to produce the great red wines of Châteauneuf du Pape and Gigondas amongst others. Its spiritual home in Australia is the Barossa Valley, where there are plantings dating as far back as 1860. Australian Shiraz tends to be sweeter than its Northern Rhône counterpart and the best examples are redolent of new leather, dark chocolate, liquorice, and prunes and display a blackcurrant lusciousness.

South African producers such as Eben Sadie are now producing world- class Shiraz wines that represent astonishing value for money.

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