Our last day in the Rhône valley and feeling a little road weary, but we’ve saved the best till last. Appointments at Clape, Graillot and Chave proved to be as exciting as we had anticipated. A multiple cask sampling chez Clape is always an enjoyable experience, but not for the faint-hearted. The 2010 vintage in Cornas is another corker and is arguably more typical than the fruit-forward 2009. With blackened teeth and stout hearts we bade our fond farewells as we headed off across the Rhône to see our old chums Max and Alain Graillot. The 2009 vintage was always going to be a tough act to follow, but the naturally low yielding 2010 is a belter with a massive concentration of fruit and rugid tannins, we could have been forgiven for thinking we were back in Cornas.
We adjourned to the celebrated Le Mangevins restaurant in Tain l’Hermitage for a convivial lunch. NB. This is worth booking in advance as it’s first rate, but there are only four tables!
An afternoon spent in the company of Jean-Louis Chave is always illuminating. The cellars were hiving with activity as barrels were being emptied and replenished post vendange. We are happy to report that the 2011 vintage was harvested in bright sunshine, thus completing a triumvirate of cracking back to back vintages.
We’re heading home for a cleansing ale and baked beans on toast before starting our diets next week. A fascinating week tasting what is clearly a magnificent 2010 vintage.