France, Cornas

Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More-so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.

Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.

Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)

The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Cornas is among the smallest of all the appellations in the Rhône valley and produces red wine from the Syrah grape. The addition of white grapes for blending is not permitted, and no whites are produced at all.

Along with the rest of the northern Rhône, Cornas experiences a continental climate as opposed to the Mediterranean climate further to the south. Unlike some other aspects of the northern Rhone, Cornas is, for the most part, shielded from the cold 'le mistral' winds and as a result is most often the first appellation in the north to begin harvest.

Only 270 acres of vines, planted anywhere from 100 meters and 400 meters above sea level, comprise the output of Cornas, so nowhere near the amount of wine is produced compared to nearby Saint-Joseph appellation, which is almost 20 times the size!
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  1. DOMAINE AUGUSTE CLAPE CORNAS 2017
    "Sitting at the top of the Cornas hierarchy, Domaine Clape is run with incredible passion and talent by Pierre-Marie Clape, who’s getting more and more assistance from his son, Oliver." Jeb Dunnuck ... Learn More
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