Three of the appellation’s top handful of wines, which I thought might be starting to enter a good drinking window. I was a bit optimistic on that last part.

2011 Domaine Auguste Clape Cornas.  Clape is almost to Cornas as Chave is to Hermitage.  This should be in the top couple of wines of the appellation every year.  Still dark, opaque black-purple.  Dark plum, blackberry, pepper, smoke, cherry cough syrup.  Dense, really well-integrated structure.  High tannin and acidity but they are harmonious.  Has hardly started to develop any age-related complexity, dense and feels like it still wants to unfold.  Probably a decade from prime drinking still.

2011 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas ‘La Geynale’.  The top cuvée from Paris, a very consistent (and sharply priced) producer, to be followed.  Vincent Paris inherited these vines from his uncle Robert Michel, and in a nice tribute has kept the same vineyard sketch on the label. Single-vineyard from the tenderloin Reynard section of Cornas, 100-year-old vines – this is rare and special stuff that Paris openly aspires to be the best wine of the appellation.  On the nose a bit more red fruit profile than Clape, nice leafy note, medicinal, menthol.  Rich and ripe in the mouth, fresh acid.  Long, dark fruit and mineral finish.  Superb mid-palate fruit concentration.  Getting more tannic as it breathes.  Another infant.

2011 Domaine Alain Voge Cornas Vieilles Vignes. Another old, highly respected domaine, which I have bought and enjoyed a lot of over the years.  Next to the other two, this has an immediately noticeable note of sweet oak, coconut – barriques.  I find the wood influence also intrusive in the mouth, whisky finish.  Not as rich, nor as well-integrated acidity as the other two.  I never worried so much about the wood from this producer before, and the website says the cuvée uses only 15-20% new barrels (maybe that is more recent), but having it next to the others the oak influence really struck me this evening and I could not get past it. Again, possibly more time is needed here to soak that up.

I did not appreciate the style of the Voge tonight, but the Clape and Paris both excellent in a similarly dark, broody style.  Today the Geynale shows a bit more fruit concentration, the Clape maybe a little more aromatic complexity.  Bright, long futures ahead for both.