1978 Domaine Alain Voge Cornas


Every now and then, I am reminded of the greatness of mature Rhônes, especially from Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie and Cornas. Alain Voge was instrumental in putting Cornas on the map. Taking the helm after his father’s death in 1961, Voge set about regenerating several vineyard sites in enviable locations at higher reaches of the slope, procuring barrels from Burgundy to mature his wine alongside foudres. He also pioneered winemaking in Saint-Péray before taking a well-earned retirement. The estate is now run by Lionel Fraisse. Voge passed away in September 2020 at the age of 81, and as so often happens, his passing has since seen collectors hunt for bottles. I’ve very little experience, but a friend recently opened a mature bottle at Noble Rot in Soho.

The 1978 Cornas attests to the greatness of Voge’s winemaking skill. Alas, there is a very slight touch of cork taint on the nose, yet clearly there is plenty of dark berry fruit, loamy and almost peaty underneath. The palate seems unaffected by the taint. Fully mature with fine tannins and red fruit, an almost pastille-like purity develops in the glass, with hints of raspberry confit and black olive. The 1978. is quite piquant in style, with ample freshness on the finish. It is probably approaching the end of its drinking plateau, yet well-preserved bottles should give pleasure over the next decade. 91/Drink 2022-2030.

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