Domaine Courbis ‘Les Eygats’ Cornas 2004
Expectations are sometimes best when broken. Sometimes anticipation can be a pro forma mindset, with realization merely fulfilling our basic needs. The best wines buck that trend and bring us something beyond the conventional. On that note, there are two things to notice about this wine. First, it is not expensive for a northern Rhone syrah and second, it is not a giant meaty beast of a syrah that Cornas mostly produces.
Instead, this was delicate and yet full, with a nose of violets, plum, blackberry, damp earth and smoky bacon, almost a bit like a Bandol without the tannins. The palate was beautifully balanced: bacon, plum, earth, smoke and surprising elegance. Domaine Courbis was perhaps the most important produer in the modernization of Cornas and the development of its somewhat tattered reputation into a region deserving of respect, and makes wines with more sophistication and elegance than expected. While this does have a ferral gamey element, it has very fine tannins, amazing length and a subdued savory litheness that bucks many a Cornas and offers a truly remarkable expression of syrah – in fact making it one of the best syrahs I’ve tasted.
$60 at Marquis