The Villa Rouge in Cornas is a handy place for lunch. We often get that salad that is a bit like breakfast on a salad. Lardons, poached egg, toast and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. Hey, it is a salad! The staff are friendly and there is also a good selection of local wines. We found Louis Sozet’s Cornas here. We also came across Sylvain Bernard’s Domaine de Fauterie here. Sylvain is in Saint-Peray, just 1 km south of Cornas, the southernmost village of the northern Rhone (in wine geography). Many of you will know that we are increasingly drawn to the more traditional, muskier end of the French wine spectrum, shying away from modern super-juicy, oaky styles. Sylvain’s wines are just that. Proper face-slapping, sweaty Syrah.
He has between 8 and 9 hectares. 2.6 hectares of white in Saint-Peray – Marsanne and Roussanne planted in 1984 and 1986, 4.5 hectares of Saint-Joseph planted in 1982 and 1 hectare of 120 year-old vines in Cornas. He makes two Saint-Joseph bottlings. A regular Domaine Cuvee and Les Combaud, from a parcel in Glun above Courbis. He also bottles two very old vine Cornas, the Domaine and the Cuvee H, which stands for Hauts and spends 28 months in oak. No new oak – he tends to use 2/3/4 year-old barrels. His Saint-Peray is a classic, broad, Rhone white – usually 70% Marsanne and 30% Roussanne.
Sylvain has been working organically for decades and finally got the certification in 2012.
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