In NYC last week, was looking for a wine for Saturday night dinner with some maturity but without soaking a paycheck. Chambers Street had this wine on the shelf for $65. I had only tasted a few '94 Northern Rhone wines, and didn’t recall much about the vintage other than I knew it wasn’t a legend.
So often, retailers will BS about quality, potential, etc. I simply asked behind the counter what they thought about the vintage. Quick, confident reply: “High acid, but not viciously underripe. If you dig acid, it’s going to be very good. If you want a monster, it won’t.”
As it turned out, this was exactly right.
Clape 1994 Cornas
Classy, gorgeous nose of a mature Cornas: Mint, olive tapenade and a permeating soil note. Some dark fruit, not at all betraying sweetness. In the mouth, that beautiful mint / menthol, along with roasted herbs, peppered meat, olives and tangy iron. The acidity is a hair strong, but not overbearingly so. I would have preferred a bit more flesh on the bones, but it came exactly as advertised at Chambers Street. How refreshing to be able to depend on a store in regards to a 17-year-old wine.
Yes, that 94 Reynard he served us a couple of years ago underground at Chelsea was mind-blowing. I saved my lone bottle for a special occasion in April… only to find it corked. Grrrrrrh!
The Reynard is not at all tart. To the contrary, it pretty fleshy.
In April, I paired it with the 94 Clape, which seemed shrill and tart next to the Allemand. I was reared on Northern Rhones, but the Clape was too acidic for my palate.
As Evan noted, the 94 La Chapelle is also surprisingly good. It never had a lot of structure – it was surprisingly low in acid – but it had very good aromatics and went down easy. It has provided very pleasant drinking over the past 10 years.