Ian's Wine of the Year...
2007 Allemand Cornas Chaillot
"Impresses more with elegance than power"
Up until now, all my wines of the year have been Burgundies. This year, I depart from this.
My wine of the year, 2007 Allemand Cornas Chaillot, delivers the same elegance, detail and beautiful transparency that makes me so obsessed with Burgundy.
This year so much attention has turned to the grand old masters of the Northern Rhone - Gentaz-Dervieux, Verset, Trollat, etc. all of whom have retired long ago. People have re-discovered just how profound, how soulful these wines can be.
For me, Thierry Allemand is the person working today that will be remembered in the same way as the legends above.
His 2007 Cornas Chaillot shows why. There's such a finely etched, balanced and deep minerality to the wine that it drives home just how fine, how soil-expressive the Northern Rhône can be.
I definitely got caught up in this Northern Rhone frenzy this year. Two of my most memorable bottles were from there - a simply profound bottle of 90 Verset Cornas and an amazing bottle of 2008 Allemand Chaillot.
What made that bottle of 2008 Chaillot so memorable was that it shocked me. If you follow vintage charts, 2008 was a weak vintage for the Northern Rhone. But Allemand's Chaillot was killer.
This brings me to a key point: Thierry Allemand is far more than a master of Cornas, he's one of the most obsessive and skilled winemakers working today. The way he was able to take a difficult vintage and make something profound out of it is just one simple example of this.
In contrast to 2008, 2007 was a strong vintage for the Northern Rhone. The 2007s are vivid, filled with a lovely energy and very well balanced.
These are exactly what Allemand's wines thrive on. Unsurprisingly, this is a great vintage for him. His Chaillot will age effortlessly not on its concentration and tannic might, but on its spine of acidity and overall harmony. These are the wines I love to have in my cellar.
Stephen Tanzer's Josh Raynolds sums it very nicely when he writes, "This fat-free wine impresses more with elegance than power."
As people have caught on to the great traditionalists of the Northern Rhône, prices have soared and the wines have started to disappear from the market. Gentaz has hit four figures per bottle, Verset that sold for $60 a bottle a few years ago now commands $200 plus.
As I mentioned above, Thierry Allemand is the heir apparent to these masters. Thankfully, he's still making wine, but he only has 4.5ha. More and more, Allemand is the person that people are talking about.
Quantities have always been in short supply, but it really does seem like Allemand is about to blow up. I'm happy to be able to offer such a great and limited wine in decent quantities.
It might not be Burgundy, but Allemand's 07 Chaillot has all the qualities of wine that mesmerize me - nimble elegance, gorgeous soil-laden complexity and finesse. Happy to offer as my wine of the year.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
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Josh Raynolds: "Bright purple. Pungent, expressive aromas of blackberry, cracked pepper, Asian spices, graphite and tobacco. Spherical and silky, with fine-grained tannins framing the sweet dark berry and spice flavors. A sexy floral note comes up with air and carries through the long, juicy, impressively pure finish. This fat-free wine impresses more with elegance than power."
2007 Allemand Chaillot is prearrival
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