Cornas, Les Billes Noires, 2010

  Domaine du Coulet

Sheer beauty. Wonderful floral aspects, ripe, lush but vivid fruit, boasting flavours of raspberry, loganberry, wild strawberry, bramble, cherry and plum, smooth creamy tannins, touches of rose and violet, a sumptuous and beguiling Cornas with the requisite power to suggest a long ageing potential. From the high-up Arlettes vineyard, the name Billes Noires or ‘Black Marbles’ refers to the consistently tiny grapes that this single vineyard produces. They are the estate’s highest vines, the soils here are shallow, very well drained and yields are extremely low.

Contains Sulphites.

About Domaine du Coulet

On the evidence of owner Mathieu Barret’s first vintage, this Domaine is going places quicker than the TGV. He is a young star who runs his 4 hectares of vineyards biodynamically, one of the only one do so in the region. He owns three parcels of south and southeast exposed vines in the Arlettes, Mazards and Reynards that average 30 years old. The grapes are destalked and vinified in cement eggs and then aged in used oak demi-muids. These is Cornas with a difference, striking bright and almost burgundian in style.

Appellation: Cornas

An exclusively red wine appellation in the Northern Rhône producing wines made from the Syrah grape variety. A famous appellation back in the 18th century, Cornas' popularity had severly waned by the early 20th century, leaving many vineyards deserted and unkempt. Thankfully its success started to return in the 1980s with the arrival of one or two young ambitious growers. The last ten years have seen an even greater revival in fortunes with a good dozen high quality producers now making wine. The Cornas vineyards are planted on steep granite slopes with a number of different exposures, the resultant wine is usually one of the darkest most inky Syrahs from the Northern Rhône. Some refer to it as a mini Hermitage, though the best examples rival and often surpass the lesser examples of Hermitage. The wines are rich, spicy and sometimes quite burly in their youth so require a good 5-7 years before being approached, the best wines can happily age for at least two decades. The region's flag-bearer since the 1970s has been Auguste Clape, making complex and very traditional style wines. Since the 1980s and 1990s Clape has been joined by several other high quality producers, some of the best of whom are Thierry Allemand, Mathieu Barret of Domaine du Coulet and Vincent Paris.