Old-School Northern Rhône - Breakout Vintage:
2016 Lionnet Cornas Terre Brulée

Posted by Joe Salamone

Lionnet's wines are uncompromisingly honest and wild expressions of the Northern Rhône.

Neal Rosenthal was introduced to Lionnet by his Côte-Rôtie producer, Bernard Levet. Levet is certainly a good jumping off point for getting a sense of Lionnet's wines.

We've always admired Lionnet's wines, but some earlier vintages had a rustic edge that kept them from being ready for prime time.

Without a doubt, that changed with the 2016 vintage. The 2016s do not sacrifice any of Lionnet's frankness or soul. What you get is a wine that's a more seamless weave of savage elements.

At this point, our love of the 2016 vintage in the Northern Rhône is well chronicled. The vintage is so deep, balanced and transparent that the only comparisons in the past decade are 2010 and 2013.

Lionnet's 2016 Cornas Terre Brulée is especially exciting. There's a beautiful energy, soaring aromatics, and mineral backbone. The wine feels steeped in crushed rock with notes of game, spice and violets. You'll find both a bright feistiness and a slightly chewy edge. It's hard not to admire the brutally candid, and ultimately compelling, nature of the wine.

Lionnet's family has been growing grapes in Cornas since 1575 and they have some serious sites - Chaillot, Mazards (which is just below Reynards), Pied de la Vigne, and Combe. They follow the old school philosophy of blending sites, so granite dominated sites are combined with limestone ones. The result is a more finessed and gentler expression of Cornas than the bone crushing style that people generally associate with the appellation.

There's no mistaking that quality at this domaine is on a major uptick. This is a serious, compelling but accessible bottle of Cornas. When you factor in the value that it offers, there are few smarter bets in this appellation.

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

Joe Salamone

Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits