The Venerable 2006 Clape Cornas

Posted by CrushWine

The Origin of Syrah
2006 Clape Cornas

"There should be a stone to Auguste Clape in the northern Rhône. A stone would suit more than a statue - it would be more fundamental and less pretentious. The legend on it should read something like 'Wisdom, Integrity and Humanity.' For this is an exceptional person."

The above quote is what the Rhône scholar Jonathan Livingston-Learmouth has written about Auguste Clape.

Indeed, it's impossible to underestimate the influence and importance of this family, of this man, to Cornas. Auguste, the father, worked his first harvest in Cornas in 1949.

In the following 60+ years these wines have been a part of defining Syrah, of defining this region, this terroir. The wines of Clape are Cornas - nothing more, nothing less.

For fans of Syrah, Nebbiolo (Barolo, Barbaresco), Burgundy and the Loire Valley (to name but a few) the great Cornas of Clape is well worth trying - this is a benchmark producer with an unassailable integrity and love them or hate them, the wines must be respected.

We happen to love them and anytime we find well priced parcels, we buy. Today we present a small collection of Clape's tremendous 2006 and aside from offering it at one of the lowest prices in the nation, we can also offer something very rare indeed for Clape's Cornas: quantity.

For all the great traditionalists of the Northern Rhône (Gentaz, Verset, Allemand) there's a lesson that keeps repeating itself: buy when you can because the wines are disappearing.

So today, if you have never tried a Clape, buy one; for the die-hard fans, give us your maximum order and we'll do our best, though please note all orders are subject to confirmation. Already the wines are getting hard to find, in the future availability is only going to get worse.

The Clape family now farms somewhere in the area of 5 hectares of vineyards in Cornas, in the most prestigious sites of the commune: Reynards, Les Mazards and Sabarotte (an old Noël Verset site). Since 1989, Auguste's son Pierre-Marie has been in charge of the estate, continuing the traditions of traditional Cornas.

2006 is a very good vintage in the Northern Rhône; it is a vintage marked by serious concentrations married to a bit more energy than the hulking 2005s - Parker compares the vintage to 1991, which for us is basically the holy grail of the Northern Rhône. Indeed, the wines have an uncommon elegance, even in stubborn Cornas.

Josh Raynolds in Tanzer’s IWC notes the "deep, youthfully brooding aromas of cassis, cherry compote, plum, olive tapenade, roasted coffee and burning incense" as well as Cornas' requisite "chewy tannins adding grip and gaining power with air." (Raynolds full tasting note is below.)

The 2006 will arrive this fall and comes to you with 5+ years of development, which really represents just the beginning of the story. We had a 1988 Clape Cornas just a few months ago and it was absolutely stunning - and this is not a particularly famous vintage for the Northern Rhône or for Clape, yet it was exceptional and still had 5 years in it. Count on the 2006 to develop over the next decade or two easily. If you do plan on opening a bottle or two this winter, do give the wine a big decant.

Again, pricing is very sharp and quantities are limited here. Please let us know your maximum request, and we'll do our best.

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

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits

2006 Clape Cornas