Vincent Paris and Friends Cornas at Piccolino 12.02.20

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Richard Zambuni, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. Well, this was a fascinating evening. I have to admit to being disappointed overall with Vincent Paris' wines - and others might be harsher than that. We drank several wines that should have been really singing from good vintages but they all seemed to miss a beat and to lack the core of true Cornas. Since Vincent Paris has access to fruit from top vineyards this can only be a problem with the quality of the winemaking. I've drunk enough Cornas over the years to know that something is wrong at this address. The wines are too brittle, too acidic, and too naturalish to be satisfying - much like Thierry Allemand to be honest. They are not outright failures in most cases, but they are just not up to the quality level that the prices and the competition demand. Mark Haisma's 2011 was also a bit of a sorry mess. On the other hand, the old-school wines of Robert Michel were the real deal with the 2000 hitting ***** for me - and that was from a merely good vintage. I'm pulling no punches here, but the emperor was left in skimpy underwear if not totally naked.

    Cornas Granit 30 Vincent Paris 2007***

    Ripe nose with a touch of tart cranberry fruit, a hint of dusty soil and after time a slightly irritatingly resinous note comes through. High-toned on the palate with drying tannins. Not the vin de plaisir that most N. Rhone 2007s present. A naturalish wine that seems to exhibit stage fright in the glass.

    Cornas Granit 60 Vincent Paris 2007***
    A darker colour than the Granit 30, a touch of volatility here with some freshness, decent balance and a little grip at the finish. Solid, but not in any way outperforming the vintage. Shows better with the food.

    Cornas La Geynale Vincent Paris 2007***1/2
    The first vintage of la Geynale from the vines taken over from Robert Michel. A darker colour in the glass then either the Granit 30 or 60. Long on the palate with real Cornas grip and good acidity. Drinking well now. Edgier than the Michel wines from the same vineyard.

    Edited to add that the first bottle opened was very corked, but that was the only out of condition wine on the night.

    Cornas Granit 60 Vincent Paris 2005***
    Quite an explosive, sexy nose, one where fruit trumps volatility and edginess. Good length here with 2005's grippy tannins. High acidity for a 2005 though and there's a naturalish sourness to the fruit. Overall OK.

    Cornas la Geynale Robert Michel 2005***(*)
    A strange nose with an almost butterscotch-like element to it, vastly better on the palate, this is a large-scale, ambitious wine with a gummy texture, good length and complex fruit that is not yet at its peak. I’d back this to show even better in five to ten years, but the nose needs to improve to hit ****.

    Cornas Les Vieilles Fontaines Domaine Alain Voge 2006***
    Jean-Luc Colombo eat your heart out – this is an oaky, modern rendition or Cornas with the wood element too dominant on the nose and palate. Perhaps the oak will integrate with more time since the fruit underneath is elegant, savoury, long, and well-balanced. All they need to do is dispose of the new barrels and this would be a top wine.

    Cornas Granit 60 Vincent Paris 2004***
    A muddled nose which shows some brett, savoury fruit, and an unwelcome piney, resinous note. Edgy on the palate, but better with food. Misses a beat for a 2004.

    Cornas La Geynale Robert Michel 2000*****
    At last – vrai Cornas in the glass. This has a sexy nose that draws you in combining complex red fruit with a low-level herbal element. Long on the palate with a superb texture that could only come from old vine fruit. Outstanding.

    Cornas La Geynale Robert Michel 2003***
    What a difference a vintage can make. While the 2000 is full of savoury mystery the 2003 shows baked, very ripe fruit on the nose and ripe, gummy, slightly monolithic, roti fruit on the palate. This does not have the breadth and depth of the 2000. Not a bad wine at all, but it shows the limitations of the 2003 vintage in Cornas.

    Cornas Granit 60 Vincent Paris 2009**1/2
    This has quite an attractive nose of cherry and damson, which leads on to a wine that has a sense of purity but also lean-ness on the palate. Naturalish in character once again. Some tannins still at the finish but the overall effect is of dullness. Poor for the vintage.

    Cornas La Geynale Vincent Paris 2009**1/2
    This has a smoky, sexy nose and plenty of deep fruit which sadly leans towards heaviness and a brewed, monolithic character. Another miss for the vintage.

    Cornas Les Combes Mark Haisma 2011**
    Oh dear. This has an herbal nose displaying edgy, under-ripe fruit with a bell-pepper element that suggests Loire cabernet franc rather than syrah. Light and inconsequential on the palate. A big miss. I’ve generally been sceptical about Haisma Cornas, but this is the worst vintage I’ve drunk. Other vintages have shown decent N. Rhone syrah character in a lightweight format, but not the true character of Cornas.

    Cornas Courbis 1985***
    Mature, soft, gentle and savoury with decent balance. Softening into old age.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  2. Thanks for writing it up Richard - doesn't sound like an overly successful evening!

    The only Cornas from Mark H I tried was the '10 which was delicious when young though maybe that tells it's own story perhaps.
    Richard Zambuni likes this.
  3. Well sometimes you have to do the hard yards to get to the truth Alex. And yes, we could have done with some more enjoyable wines in the mix, but I hope these notes prove that even as a Cornas lover, I'm still capable of seeing things for what they are. On this showing, I will never buy another Vincent Paris wine - it was that black and white.
  4. Richard - good notes - I concur!!
  5. Interesting comment, Richard. In California and Paris (the city), Paris's (the producer) wines are a little below the price of much of the competition, which I see as justifying their compromises with one foot in traditional school and one in modern school. Not my favorites, but at the price they can make for interesting purchases, depending on one's means and goals. Also interesting to see that you don't like Allemand -- I think that puts you in a distinct minority.

    Edited for clarity.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  6. Nice write-up Richard - I'm sorry it wasn't as successful as you hoped.

    I bought a bit of Vincent Paris 2017 (because I assumed scheduling this tasting was an endorsement!), do you think newer wines might be better in time than the vintages you tasted?
  7. A shame that a few of the wines disappointed but that 2000 sounds top drawer.
  8. Interesting Richard. I need to do some more research as I’ve a reasonable range of Paris’s wines. I’ve only opened a bottle of the 07 Granit 30 which was markedly different a couple of years ago to how your bottle sounds, and properly Cornas. Two bottles of 2005 ‘30 were equally good, but northern Rhône Syrah rather than true a Cornas.
    Richard Zambuni likes this.
  9. Simon's thoughts mirror my own. I have a fair amount of Paris's wines tucked away, although all are younger than those tasted so I guess I can hope that his skills have improved with time!
    Mark Carrington likes this.
  10. Very interesting indeed, and quite disappointing. I'm grateful to you Richard for your notes and your candour. It can be easy to be blind to problems with wines that one has invested in and looked forward to, but these days I am more than grateful for the opportunity to think about rebalancing the cellar...
    Richard Zambuni likes this.
  11. Claude - I do like some Allemand wines (e.g. Chaillot 2001, Chaillot 2006, Reynard 1994), but they definitely share some characteristics of brittleness and naturalness with Vincent Paris in some vintages. Last night, one or two other N. Rhone experts felt the same. I may well be in a minority, but I've drunk a lot of Allemand wines over the years. Recently, I've posted on the forum about two undrinkable Reynard 1999s (and the other five people at the table found them undrinkable) and edgy, sour-fruited, underperforming Reynard 2000s that would only appeal fully to the natural wine bar crowd. Apart from the problems from his underuse of sulphur, his 1998 and 1999 Chaillots were plagued by cork taint. Before he became pricey and sought after, I sent my case of 1999 back to TWS for a refund after four bottles in a row were rankly corked. You can only go on what you taste in the glass - I don't give a fig about reputation or price.
  12. Indeed Daniel - it's hard to admit disappointment sometimes and it always antagonises some others when one is directly negative about a producer. Many of the wines last night were from my own cellar, mostly bought en primeur and stored optimally, so I am really disappointed. I wanted the wines to shine but they did not. We drank a broad enough range for me to have lost confidence in his wines. For the money there are simply so many better options from both Cornas and other N. Rhone appellations. I feel that the material could be so much better handled. It's entirely possible that his winemaking has changed more recently, but the style was so consistent from the 2004, 2005s, 2007s, and 2009s that I'd really doubt it. He has a recipe and it's not a good one. Funnily enough his 2007s were the best of the bunch for me, and I gave them reasonable scores, but the style just doesn't appeal to me.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  13. Very interesting. My experience is limited but I have really enjoyed his wines although mainly at the lower end. A full case of 09 granit 30 is long gone and all enjoyed, I bought a mixed 12 (3 of each of St Jo, 30, 60 and Geynale) from Mark Haisma and have drunk and enjoyed the st Jo and 30, but not broached the 60 and Geynale. I did try an 08 Geynale at a Mark Haisma tasting a few years ago which was not the best but I put that down to vintage. I also have the same mixed 12 of 2016 which I haven’t touched yet.

    I wonder if either the winemaking has improved or he makes an earlier drinking style....

    Matt Walls scores the 2018 Geynale 97/100 which tempted me to order but you have put me off somewhat!
  14. Alex - I don't think I've ever drunk a proper Cornas that was delicious very young! I do quite like the Haisma wines as expressions of N. Rhone syrah, but they lack the extra dimensions that proper Cornas should display. They're modern, clean, and clinical without any of the ferrous/iodine/bacon fat elements that make Cornas different from a polished pure syrah Cotes du Rhone such as Jean-Luc Jamet's L'Enclave. And there's a market for that style of wine without doubt. I've never bought any by the case, but I have tasted 4-5 vintages now. I rate his burgundies highly though.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  15. I do hope that one or two others who attended last night will post some notes too - whether confirmatory or not.

    By the way the Robert Michel La Geynale 2000 was WOTN with 7 votes out of 10, there were two votes for Michel's La Geynale 2005, and one vote for The Vincent Paris Granit 60 2007.
  16. A result, already? That's impressive... My last attempt at scoring was much more Iowa Caucus... ;)
  17. The one vintage of Mark Haisma I've not tried is 2011. His 2010 has been superb, but the most recent disappointed.
    My suspicion is that like his Burgundies, they may not be for the long haul. Will aim to open a MH '14 this weekend.
    I visited Vincent Paris in 2017 & thought his 2015s sufficiently good to buy a mixed full case. Yet to retry any Cornas.
    Some TNs for the growers involved last night.
    • 2005 Robert Michel Cornas Cuvée des Coteaux - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (31/01/2020)
      Blood red; dusty note initially, red fruits to fore, tar, smoky; substantial, plenty of depth, there’s fruit aplenty, savoury; classic (tannic) ruggedness on extended finish. This may well hold 10+ years, but drinking well currently. (92 pts.)
    • 2010 Mark Haisma Cornas Les Combes - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (11/08/2019)
      Deep; band aid & farmyardy, sweaty; dry, savoury, grippy; attenuated finish. Two previous bottles in prime nick, this doesn't seem quite right. (88 pts.)
    • 2013 Mark Haisma Cornas Les Combes - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (19/10/2018)
      Dark; plenty of black fruit, later peppery; muscular, full on; rustic finish. Needs time. (89 pts.)
    • 2012 Mark Haisma Cornas Les Combes - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (18/04/2015)
      Mauve tinged; classical Cornas nose, white pepper, a sense of freshness; a light feel, with air some smokey bacon & a dash of pepperiness; neatly fashioned, power & punch on the finish. (90 pts.)
    • 2000 Robert Michel Cornas La Geynale - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (19/07/2014)
      Heavy sediment, faded brick red; spikey, black fruits, intricate, a whiff of VA; savoury, an attractive edginess, retains fruit, wild, challenging; signs of showing age but time has yet to tame. Provides real interest. Safest to drink to drink sooner rather than later. (91 pts.)
    • 2004 Domaine Vincent Paris Cornas Granit 30 - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (27/12/2010)
      Blood red; meaty + a whiff of smoky bacon, floral note but overall reticent nose; dry tannins, fruit suppressed, rather old fashioned, foursquare Cornas. Signs of softening on the finish, fair length. Leave for a couple of years but is there enough fruit? (86 pts.)
    • 1999 Robert Michel Cornas Cuvée des Coteaux - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Cornas (30/01/2010)
      Surprisingly quite pale; meaty, substantial, hint of smokey bacon, has a fragrant, lifted note but also an earthiness; dry, tending towards piquant, skinny, retains light fruitiness; best to drink soon before this dries out. Rustic finish. (88 pts.)
    Posted from CellarTracker
  18. Good notes Richard.
    I think I enjoyed the 2007s more than you did. Perhaps your words sound more downbeat than the score? Even the brightly fruited Granit 30 was fun, with 60 and Geynale representing steps up in quality.
    There was more positivity in general from our corner - with Cameron and Jack finding more to enjoy than Jim and Jon did!
    However, I agree in general, and likely won't be buying any more VP wines - and will list my 2008's for sale....
    The Haisma wine wasn't typical of his output, and I hope was just an aberration. Tempted to crack open a 2010 tonight to see, as I have quite a lot of that.
    That Voges was quite something. "No veneer in 'ere" as they say.
    Thanks to Jon for bringing the 2000 Geynale which was a reminder of what Cornas done right should be. Just lovely with all the feral and haemoglobin qualities that make Cornas so satisfying.
  19. I think that's true Alex - the head said *** for the Granit 30 and 60 and ***1/2 for the la Geynale, and the heart said too brittle and high-toned and not my style of Cornas. I didn't actively dislike the Granit 30 and 60 2007, but I was unmoved. I did quite like the La Geynale 2007 - it was better than I expected too. It was my favourite Vincent Paris wine of the evening.
    Alex Lake likes this.
  20. My efforts as follows:

    VP Granit 30 2007

    Very lifted. Cote Rotie like? Lard and smoked pork fat. Later something a bit dirty emerges - kidney and rubber. Lean, high acid - as with all 3 of this flight. 3*

    VP Granit 60 2007

    Denser both structurally and aromatically. Darker tones on the nose, firm tannins. Pretty volatile too - extreme Musar levels +. Hints of smoked salami! 3.5*

    VP Geynale 2007

    Peppery, black olive nose. My notes say 'not fruity'.. Dark. Still showing that volatility. Weird bready character emerges with time. 3.5*

    FWIW my final bottle of 3 of VP's 2007 St Joseph - drunk a year or two ago- was a mess of volatile acidity.

    Voge Vielle Fontaines 2006

    Wow! Hedonistic nose - loads of new oak, ripe fruit. Structure emerges with time though - there's no mistaking that it's Cornas under the expensive make-up. Very, very different to everything else tonight but I like it.... 4.5*

    VP Granit 60 2005

    MUCH riper than any of the 2007s. Fuller, more together. Tannins are fairly rustic.on the edge of volatile. Bacon fat, damson. 4*

    RM Geynale 2005

    Banana and butterscotch on the nose?? Reminds me of Rioja! 'Smudgy' texture; feels as though someone has sketched this wine out and then gone over it very lightly with an eraser. Comes across as silky next to the VP (!). Generous palate - closed aromatically though. 4*

    VP Granit 60 2004

    Bretty. Peppery. Brett. Some red fruit in there too? 2.5*

    RM Geynale 2000

    Salami, pepper, tar, watercress. High acid- lean, racy. Fabulous. 5*

    RM Geynale 2003

    Fairly brutal furry tannins. Creamy and full palate. Slightly tough. Loads of star anis on the nose. 4*

    Notes after this a little sketchy..

    VP Granit 60 2009

    Tannins taste under-ripe; tough. 2.5*

    VP Geynale 2009

    VV firm. Needs time. 3.5*

    Haisma Cornas Combe 2011

    Creamy in the mouth. Smells like under-ripe Cabernet - green pepper and a bit of cassis. Very unattractive. 2*

    Courbis Cornas 1985

    Cool fruit, elegant. Gentle old wine. 4*
    Charles Muttar and Neil Holland like this.
  21. Fascinating evening so many thanks to Richard for organising. I was deeply unimpressed with the non Michel wines unfortunately and have to agree with Richard that it seems to be a deliberate winemaking style rather than a problem with the raw materials.
    Significant VA was present in all the Paris wines as well as remarkably shrill acidity on the palate, which chimes with my experience of many Allemand wines too, and some, the 2004 and 2009 60’s had a weird, fungal note to the nose that, to me, was so faulty that I couldn’t taste or rate them. The same went for the Haisma 2011, although for a very different but equally weird, off, lactic nose. The Voge, who’s VV Cuvée I really admire, was wonderful fruit completely buggered by lashings of coconut infused, toasty oak. I had to rinse my glass twice to get rid of the Bounty Bar Effect!
    Luckily the Michel wines were in a very different class. The 2005 did have a slightly odd nose to begin but settled down quickly and provided a rich, balanced and seamless expression of youthful Cornas, I’d love to try this in 10 years plus.
    The 2000 was fully mature with a wonderful, effortless elegance with mocha and graphite notes and gorgeous acidity providing lift at the end.
    The 2003 had a fascinating nose of menthol and rosemary but the fruit had that distinct pastille quality and the tannins just too tough and dry. The fruit is still youthful so it may come round with more time but will never reach the heights of the 2000 or 2005, a solid effort for the year.
    The Courbis at the end was fading but so was I.
  22. This is hilarious, normally a forum post generates a feeding frenzy of purchases of some rare wine identified on sale at TWS or elsewhere, but this one has had the opposite effect as we all shift to offload any Vincent Paris and now potentially Mark Haisma Cornas!
  23. Thank you for organising Richard, appreciate the hard work which goes into these dinners!

    Not much to add to the above, although I was probably more positive than some. Although as at one stage people were actually shouting their displeasure that's not, perhaps, saying a great deal! I think I enjoyed some of the wines more than others did because I have much less experience with Cornas, so therefore a less developed sense of expectation. But that said, the difference between the 2000 and 2005 and the rest of the field was pretty huge really.

    I quite liked that 2004, though I took some stick for it from some of the more senior Syrah fanciers. It was ok, I'd have happily drunk it while cooking or watching a film, nice faded old fruit, leafy, reminded me of a CDR just past its best. I gather not everyone shares my taste for such wines!

    I have a couple of bottles of the 2007 Granite 30 at home. Haven't opened one for ages because the last one was so full of Brett. Not in the expectation they would improve, just a lack of enthusiasm really. Was pleasantly surprised, initially, with last night's bottle, but as it sat in the glass out it came. I don't count myself Brett averse, but in this case it is very off putting. Glad you have had a good bottle Simon. Maybe some hope.

    My 2009 Granite 60 was OK I thought, though rather ponderous. Its ripe yet unrefreshing fruit just felt boring, though it wasn't raisiny. Just dull. Similar problem with the Gaynale next to it. I might open another tomorrow night just to see if it performs better with out company, but I suspect the other four will join the 2007s in the can't be bothered rack.

    Can I just say that the use of lashings of new oak on wine is a crime which should merit considerable punishment, at the very least confiscation of vineyards.

    Anyway it was a fun night, thanks all for the wines, some good debate, and I think I learnt a good deal about what Cornas shouldn't be. So now to find the good stuff!
  24. Hmmm.... I've just last week shelled out on a case of the Paris 2018 Geynale (although thankfully at rock bottom prices from a mis-priced website in France). I'm hoping it wasn't money spent in vain.
    Alex Jagger likes this.
  25. I forgot to say how good and lively the company was - and thank you all for your wines. Monsieur Paris' wines certainly got the conversations going. Perhaps the worst of the night is having to admit that Mark Palmer was right after all ;). He'll never let me forget that.

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