Cornas, a powerful wine of the Rhône valley
Opposite Valence, on the right bank of the Rhône, the vineyard of Cornas and its famous red wines take place between the no less prestigious appellations of Saint-Péray to the south and Saint-Joseph to the north. As in the rest of the northern Rhône valley, Syrah reigns, the king grape variety which offers all its power here. Appreciated by the illustrious Charlemagne, Saint-Louis and Louis XV, to name but a few, Cornas has lost none of its royal aura, a glorious past which has contributed to making this appellation one of the great wines of the Rhône.
General presentation of the appellation
It is in the Ardèche, opposite Valence, that the 110 hectares of this small appellation area are spread out. The wine is produced in the commune that gave it its name: Cornas. On the right bank of the Rhône, the hillsides are particularly steep and form a natural amphitheatre with granite terraces facing south-south-east. This means that the climatic conditions are favourable to the cultivation of the vine. Moreover, in Celtic, Cornas means "burnt earth". Other regions bear this unique exposure in their name, the Côte-Rôtie in the lead, an appellation in the very north of the Rhone Valley vineyard.
Only Syrah is allowed here, a grape variety which gives all its character to Cornas, a robust and powerful wine with a colour so dark that it is almost black. As in Côte-Rôtie, Cornas is produced exclusively from red wine.
Characteristics of Cornas
Cornas is a wine that is readily defined as full-bodied and powerful. Made from a single grape variety, Syrah, it is sometimes called "black wine" because of its dark colour.
The colour of Cornas is a very dark red, with violet reflections that can become amber with age. On the nose, the wine is reminiscent of spices and black fruits such as blackcurrant. The palate is round with firm, but coated tannins. One finds all the warmth and power of the Syrah.
With age, the wine tends to soften. Notes of truffle, amber and liquorice can be found, as well as hints of cooked fruit and even leather and tobacco.
It is a wine which, moreover, has a good ageing potential, generally more than ten years. A few years in the cellar, from 5 to 20 years, allow this fruity and spicy wine to reveal its potential.
How to enjoy a Cornas
This red wine from the northern Rhône valley can be enjoyed throughout the meal, from the aperitif to the cheese, and even to dessert. Cornas goes well with red meats such as grilled beef or with game, such as a slab of venison. It is usually served at a temperature of between 15 and 16°.
Cornas also goes well with strong cheeses such as Ossau Iraty and Bleu des Causses. For those with a sweet tooth, cornas can also be enjoyed with dark chocolate.