Tradition / Innovation: 09 Allemand Chaillots

Posted by Ian McFadden

A Singular Expression of Cornas
2009 Allemand Chaillots
Only Bottles in the Country

Really, what's there to say? Allemand is simply making some of the best and most soulful wines in the Northern Rhône.

This is certainly no secret. He has a devout following, and accordingly, his wines are very hard to come by.

That's why I felt very fortunate when I stumbled on this parcel of 2009 Chaillots while hunting for Allemand's stunning 08 last week (see email here).

These are the only bottles of 2009 Allemand Chaillots currently available in the country. As always with Allemand, this is a small parcel. We're only sending this offer to people who have supported the traditionalists of the Northern Rhône.

It's easy to explain Allemand's popularity - they're the purest and most expressive Cornas being made today.

Allemand's 2009 Chaillots offers a perfect contrast to his 2008 that we offered last week. Where 2008 is bright, nimble and shimmering, 2009 is dark, grippy and densely concentrated.09 is a vintage where the smart move is to stash a few bottles in the cellar and forget about them.

Even in ripe vintages, like 2009, Allemand's wines still maintain a finely etched detail, a vividness, and an emphatic minerality. And the 2009 boldly delivers these along with spice,violets and dark fruits (cherries, plums, etc.)

Allemand occupies a fascinating position in the Northern Rhone. Recently, there's been much discussion about the loss of the Northern Rhône's old guard (Gentaz-Dervieux, Trollat, Verset, etc.) If there is an heir to the throne of Noël Verset, it is Theirry Allemand.

After all, Allemand worked under two of Cornas' great traditionalists; he apprenticed with Robert Michel and helped Verset with parts of the wine production. Eventually, he bought ancient vines from both of these masters.

However, calling Allemand a traditionalist may be a touch too simplistic - it may sell Allemand short. He's 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 Cornas, yet rooted in history.

This is all to say that Allemand's are very special wines, the product of one of the most gifted and thoughtful winemakers we know.

As hinted above, the only tragedy here is that there's just not much wine to go around. Allemand has only 4.5ha, he's ruthless about tossing fruit that isn't perfect, and he's reputation is huge. Please let us know your ideal order and we'll try our best.

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

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