Robert Michel is a farmer in Cornas. He is thought of as one of the great Lions of Cornas, whom none have equaled. Through the graces of who knows what patriarchal god granted his nephew, Vincent Paris, a chance to learn the family business.
Vincent learned at the foot of this hard worn farmer, and he learned well. Although not yet 30 years old many believe, including myself, that this young man is already surpassing his benefactor, making wines of such intense beauty and complexity that they border on being unbelievable.
And beyond all of that, he is also not resting on his laurels (or inheritance):
Cornas is all red wine, all Syrah, by law. Yet there are vineyards in Cornas that face due north, and Vincent is such a meticulous farmer that he believes those vineyards are not suitable for red wine. The exposure, the sun, and the aspect all point towards white.
And so – and in complete violation of French law (and commercial responisblity) – he planted Viognier as you might in Condrieu. But he didn’t stop there. He also planted Roussanne, as you might in Chateauneuf du Pape.
To a French grape farmer the reasoning is simple. Viognier is proven to work on Northern slopes with much sunlight and severe drainage. Roussanne likes stony dense granite soil high in nitrates. The north facing slopes of Cornas alternate between these two terrain type.
Thus, Vincent Paris has given us the first Cornas Blanc. Completely illegal, yet superbly luscious and explosively intriguing:
A staggering and complex array of aromas leap from the glass – mango, nectarine, peach marmalade and roasted pineapple all underplayed with rose petals, quince, white peach and pear and a crushed granite like minerality. As bountiful as the best from Condrieu, yet as precise as a Chateauneuf du Pape blanc, its layered depth is fascinated to explore and will leave you pondering just where the entire bottle went. Let its power unfold in your glass, you will be greatly rewarded.
This is Vincent Paris’ Granit Blanc, and it is exceptional wine.
2011 Vincent Paris Granit Blanc
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