2005 Allemand: An Offer Three Years in the Making...

Posted by Joe Salamone

Cornas + Finesse =
2005 Allemand Cornas Chaillots
Rare Back-Vintage Allemand Parcel

We are devout fans of Allemand's wines... yet it's been nearly three years since our last offer.


Because the wines are impossible to find - it's that simple.

If there is an heir to the throne of Noël Verset, it is Theirry Allemand. There is simply no better Cornas being made (Clape may be seen as a qualitative equal, yet the style is different - rawer, meatier) and today we present what is likely to be a savage Cornas free-for-all, inspired by a small parcel of the 2005 Cornas Chaillots.

When back-vintage Allemand comes up - in any vintage at basically any price - well, it is normally sold quickly. When it's a great vintage at the only price in the nation, expect it to sell out very, very quickly.

Allemand's wines have never been easy to come by - he works a scant 4.5 hectares. Still, I really believe a turning point has occurred for the great traditionalists of the Northern Rhône.

There is a sense now that the past, that even the present (i.e. being able to find these wines in small quantities at semi-reasonable prices) is going to soon change - that all the top bottlings are going to go the way of Gentaz. Which is to say prices are going to EXPLODE. Witness, at this very moment, three bottles of 1989 Gentaz in an auction and the current price, before the buyer's premium, is $733 a bottle. (My eyesight might be bad here, but I believe you can see the original price tag on the bottles: $39.99)

Robert Parker's recent 180 regarding Clape does not inspire confidence that these wines are not on the verge of breaking through to a much wider audience, thereby adding fuel to an already raging fire. (With apologies for paying any attention to scores, but after two decades of giving Clape's Cornas, on average, a score of 89.94 points, the 2009 landed with an unheard-of 99 points.)

There is little that Allemand hasn't done. He worked under Robert Michel for years; he helped Verset with parts of the wine production and eventually, he bought ancient vines from both of these masters. He also planted forgotten vineyards that were simply abandoned because they were too hard to work, rebuilding, stone by stone, the terraces that give the vines just enough dirt to hold on to.

Yet Allemand has also been a quiet innovator: He has used small amounts of carbonic maceration to add finesse to his wines. Long before the "natural" wine trend with sulphur as the ultimate boogieman, Allemand used minimal sulphur for most of his cuvées and for some, none at all.

What you have in essence is someone who studied with and learned from the old masters, yet approached the process at his own pace, with his own ideas. What you have is a singular expression of the Cornas, yet rooted in history.

In the Northern Rhone, 2005 produced wines of intense structure with ripe, pristine fruit and great definition. In short, we're looking at a very strong, long-lived vintage. Compared to Allemand's Reynard, his Chaillots tends to have a little more fruit and is ready to drink earlier. Unless you're really patient, in 05 the phrase "younger drinking" is likely a good thing. Expect the 05 Chaillots to be at its best somewhere around 12-15 years from the vintage.

The 2005 Chaillots display all that's captivating about Allemand's wines. There's an amazing purity and detail of expression as spiced red fruits blend seamlessly with textured minerality and floral notes. Everything feels well-proportioned and precisely articulated. And yet, nothing about this perfectionist bent robs the wine of its soulfulness - exactly the opposite, in fact.

What's left to say? Nothing - we've likely gone on too long anyway.

Seriously, give us your biggest, most implausible order and we'll do our best. And we'll apologize in advance for selling out so quickly.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

Allemand Cornas Chaillots 2005