Depth of character and plenty of tannins melt the fat in the meat. This is a meal fit for a king!
When Robert Michel—the legendary producer in Cornas—retired after the 2006 vintage, he passed down his cellar and vineyard holdings to his young protégé, Guillaume Gilles. Since then, Gilles has followed in the footsteps of his mentor: all vines are farmed organically and by hand, and all fruit is left in whole clusters and fermented with wild/ambient yeasts before being aged in large neutral oak barrels.
Despite the ever rising pressure to produce riper, smoother, oakier and younger drinking wines, Gilles has persevered as one of the last “purist” producers in Cornas—one of the most historically important Syrah-growing appellations in the world. Fortunately, the sommelier community (especially in the US) has received Gilles’ staunch traditionalism with open arms.
As I mentioned before, his wines increasingly grace wine lists in this country’s top restaurants and I have enjoyed them at many industry parties and social events. So while his wines are still not widely known about now by consumers, I am sure that it is only a matter of time before they become scarce and demand drives up the prices. After all, it’s not possible to make wine this good in such a storied appellation before the whole world starts to notice.
Finally, I want to stress that 2010 is one of the top northern Rhone Syrah vintages in my lifetime. Of course, we all regularly read about supposed “vintages of the century” in magazines and online, but the 2010 vintage is genuine. These wines are delicious now, but possess the stuffing and architecture to evolve and improve over the long haul. It is completely conceivable that this bottle will be alive and kicking in three or four decades. It will probably peak at about 15-25 years old.
The 2010 Guillaume Gilles Cornas has an opaque purple core moving to a light garnet rim showing a touch of age. The aromas are incredibly mineral driven with crushed blackberries, boysenberry, and black currants with secondary notes of dried olives, charcuterie, fresh tobacco, wilted violets and granite. The palate is full bodied with rustic tannins; it exhibits flavors of slightly dried black fruits, licorice, and wet leather with a slight hint of game. Intense crushed rock flavors drive the long finish.
I recommend cellaring this wine until 2016 or beyond to really see the full potential which lies in this complex beast. If you buy a few bottles, drink one in December on a cold night, then forget about the rest. If consuming this wine within the next few years, a minimum of 2 hours in a decanter is required and ideally drink the wine at roughly 65 degrees from a Bordeaux stem.
If you drink this at closer to cellar temperature, the acidity and minerals will dominate the palate, so take the wine from the cellar 30-40 minutes before drinking. This wine begs for braised meat, lamb in particular, to balance the intense mineral and meaty notes in the wine. This is a favorite recipe I cooked recently and it will suit this wine perfectly. Be sure to cook a lot of it and invite friends over to escape a cold fall evening.
– Ian Caubile MS, SommSelect