Cornas was established in 1938. Only reds are made, and solely from the Syrah grape; a contributing factor to their style is the granitic soil. The wines are made traditionally and often spend two years in oak. They are also strong and powerful – a cross between Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie – but typically display less finesse. After five to 10 years of ageing the best examples take on a more elegant and complex character.
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.