2017 Domaine Vincent Paris, Cornas “Granit 30” Northern Rhone, France.
The Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 comes from granite soils and the from vineyard parcels that are at a steep 30% slope, hence the name and it maybe one of the best Syrah wines for the money in the world, and especially this 2017 vintage, which is absolutely engaging and delicious with magnificent purity and terroir accented character. The 2017s are showing amazing, the seem fuller, rounder and more harmonious in style than the last few vintages, even though ripeness is quite similar, and while I admit, that personally I like the more edgy, tension filled and crunchy years, there’s no denying the depth and complexity and sensual pleasure of the 2017s make them standout, and this wine does, it is a wine of beauty and checks all the boxes you’d ever desire from a northern Rhone Syrah. This dark purple, magenta and bright garnet edged Cornas by the talented vigneron, Vincent Paris, who’s proven to be in the same league as the iconic producers in this region, like the Chave’s, Robert’s and Allemand’s as well as his own uncle the famous Robert Michael, is layers with blackberry, blueberry, damson plum, candied cherry and earthy mulberry fruits along with smoky embers, loamy crushed stones, anise, distilled violets, mountain shrub, a touch of game and lingering creme de cassis. There is almost no noticeable oak on display, and none is needed as this 100% Syrah is absolutely complete here and speaks to your palate and soul in a strong, but understated voice that makes you listen in seduced rapture and as the wine opens fully in the glass it never waivers or dulls, it never stops exciting the senses. The Granit 30, according to the winery, comes from biodynamic vines on the lowest part of the slope of decomposed granite, in particular vines that are located in the lieu-dits of St. Pierre and Patou and Paris uses about 15 to 20% whole cluster on this Syrah with minimal stem inclusion, but enough to add pop to the wine, as they do here perfectly, adding texture, heightened floral aromatics and umami notes.
Vincent Paris, a Cornas native whose first vintage was 1997, is known to be a bit media shy is the co-president of the Cornas AOC appellation and puts his total heart into this area, not only making fantastic wines, but to also save traditions, honor the history and set the groundwork to keep Cornas one of the most prestigious regions in the Rhone and France. Paris owns and farms 6 hectares of vineyards and produces mostly all of his wines from the Cornas, though he did add a small plot of vines in Saint-Joseph and makes a lovely Syrah from there as well, he does three main Cornas bottlings, this one, plus his Granit 60, from steeper 60% slopes and his La Geynole, which has some of the fabled Reynard fruit, is an extremely limited offering from an old vine parcel that was planted in 1910 that were originally part of his uncles holdings, which his has inherited. The Granit 30 is supposedly the entry level or easy version, but I love this wine and find it a thrilling expression of place, again as I have said many times, this Granit 30 is a stunning value. This wine, the “30″, again references both the gradient slope of the vineyards used, but also as well as detailing that the average age of the vines is also about 30, and all of Paris’ grapes are farmed organic with these vines on warm exposures facing southeast and tended by hand with extreme care and smaller yields to extract concentration of flavors. In cellar, Paris makes his wines pretty much inline with classic methods with fermentation at low temps, and with small lots being vinfied in a combination of barrel and in tank with this one getting two thirds in wood and one third in vat/tank with the finished blend seeing about a year in mostly neutral French oak. This stuff is true and vivid wine of place, it is wonderfully transparent and this year’s plush and silken fruit make it a joyous experience in its youth, but the underlying tannin and refined natural acidity makes you want to have it with matching cuisine, though it has the freshness to go with many choices from hearty stews, lamb and grilled steak to roast herb crusted chicken and Asian pork dishes. If you’ve not had Vincent’s wines, you really should fix that, and these 2017s are a great way to start.
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive