A Huge Surprise - Don't Miss: 08 Allemand Cornas Chaillots

Posted by Ian McFadden

Confounding Preconceived Notions
2008 Allemand Cornas Chaillots
Killing It in the Rhône in 2008

In the Northern Rhône, 2008 isn't something to get excited about. And, when I was poured a glass of Allemand's 08 Chaillots, I wasn't excited.

That was until I tasted it... Then, I was very excited.

It was at an impromptu dinner at Bar Boulud with the honorable Michael Madrigale presiding that the 08 Allemand ChaillotS made its revelatory presence known.

It was so good that I've basically spent the last week buying everything I could find with the hopes of making it my "Wine of the Year."

It was that impressive.

As was maybe to be expected, I just couldn't find enough wine for a full email offer. After all, this is Allemand with his scant 4.5ha, his huge reputation, and his ruthless selection process - there's just not that much wine and what there is gets snapped up quickly.

What's on offer today is everything I could piece together, minus, of course, the 6-pack I'm putting in my own cellar.I wish it were more. The pricing, however, is as sharp as you'll likely ever see it - by far the lowest price out there.

This is a wine that you have to taste because it confounds vintage charts and the one-liner vintage reports. In fact this wine simply transcends the vintage. It's a wine that speaks for itself, and it's worth listening to.

If there were any doubt that Theirry Allemand is one of the greatest winemakers working today, this ends the conversation. He just nailed it with his 2008 Chaillots.

When I first tasted it, my initial shock was that it didn't lack concentration as many 08s do. There was some meat to the wine, for sure. What really stood out, however, was the wine's brilliance and its transparency. There's an emphatic granite minerality, finely etched red fruits expressive with flowers and spice.

Overall, it's elegant, taut and shimmering - all the hallmarks of great wine were present.

To be fair, I'm not the only person who's been taken by Allemand's 2008 Chaillots. Josh Raynolds of Stephen Tanzer, ranks 2008 right there with a cast of great vintages - 2005, 2009 and 2010.

It's true that Cornas was spared from the full extent of the havoc that the cool and rainy 2008 vintage brought further north. However, I think much of the success has to do with how obsessive Allemand is with his farming and winemaking. Allemand just doesn't mess around on this front. He works extremely hard in the vineyard and isn't shy about tossing what doesn't make the cut.

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).

The 2008 Chaillots is, in my opinion, a don't miss for its clarity of mineral and fruit, for its elegance. Not to mention for the fact that it reminds us that wines still have the potential to surprise, to mark a point where reductive thinking flounders and skilled winemaking triumphs.

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

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine and Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits