Clos des Corbassières Pinot Noir Coeur du Clos 2020
AOC Valais, Domaine Cornulus, 750 ml
Vinified from the yields of the oldest vines of the vineyard, the core, this red wine is aged for 18 months in large storage barrels of 500 litres each. The fresh, silky, complex, full bouquet is reminiscent of cherries, raspberries, cinnamon, mint and strawberry jelly. The balanced, elegant, dense, full palate with fine, dense fruit and fine creamy structure is followed by a long finish.
What started out from humble beginnings over 20 years ago is now one of Valais’ flagship wineries and the byword for both a way of working in harmony with nature and premium wines, all of which strongly bring out their individual terroir.
Valais natives and cousins Stéphane Reynard and Dany Varone are perfectionists who love what they do. They tend to their vines, which live and thrive above Sion in the village of Savièse, as if they were their own children. Thanks to Dany Varone’s meticulous and expert work in the wine cellar, they craft terroir wines of the highest quality. This winemaking duo – now part of the Valais elite – laid the foundation for their successful Domaine Cornulus project in 1986, setting up the “Buteo” wine cellar and launching their “Garage Winery”. They bought their first harvests straight off the vines of various Savièse winegrowers and started pressing them in a garage. The following year, they leased their first vines in the vineyards above Sion (less than 1 hectare). In 1989 they created the Sélection Cornulus, after which their winery is named. A few harvests later, they acquired their first plots in the Clos de Mangold in 1995. Their dream of establishing a real domaine of their own gradually took shape. “After all, you will rarely find a good wine without terroir,” say Stéphane and Dany. In 1999 there followed the “prime cut”, the famous Clos des Corbassières, the jewel in the domaine’s crown. In the course of the “noughties”, they successively acquired various Grand Cru plots between Sion and Sierre as well as Clos Chamaray, St-Charles and La Follie. The rich palette of exquisite vines was finally rounded off to perfection by the magnificent Clos des Monzuettes.
Blueprint of the terroir
No other variety expresses its terroir as precisely as Pinot noir. It is a sensitive, fragile grape. But when it succeeds, it gives the world some of its very greatest wine plants. It especially excels in Burgundy, where it has been cultivated for at least 700 years. Even in the middle ages, it was considered so precious that it was kept separate from other grapes so as to not diminish its value. The finest examples are delicate and fragrant with aromas of cherries and red berries. With maturity, notes of forest floor, leather and truffles enter as well. An irresistible fruity sweetness still shines through, even after several decades. The Pinot noir does well in cool locations: in Switzerland and in Germany, where it is known as Blauburgunder and Spätburgunder respectively; in Alsace and in South Tyrol, in Oregon, New Zealand and Tasmania. Not least, it yields fantastic champagnes. It is a wonderful culinary companion. With its soft tannins and charming bouquet, it meshes with everything, from Güggeli and cheeses to fried fish.
Valais: Alpine wines with class
More than 20 varieties of grapes can yield wines in Valais that are full of character. A large number of them grow on spectacular, steep slopes. Sealed off by mighty chains of mountains, old plantings like Petite Arvine, Amigne and Cornalin have survived in Valais, and today they are highly sought-after by wine enthusiasts. The highest vineyards in Europe are also found in Valais: the Savignin vines (known here as “Heida”), rooted in the mountain community of Visperterminen.
Switzerland – A small country with enormous diversity
Switzerland is famous for its banks, watches, and cheese, but not necessarily for its wine. The Swiss didn't invent wine, but they have been extremely open and curious to it. Wine culture arrived in what is now modern Switzerland via several routes: from Marseilles to Lake Geneva and the Lower Valais region; from the Aosta Valley through the Great St. Bernard Pass to the rest of Valais; from the Rhone through Burgundy, across the Jura Mountains to Lake Constance; and from Lombardy to Ticino, and then on to Grisons.