2015 Domaine Lionnet, Terre Brûlée, Cornas, $60
Winery info: A small estate in the northern Rhône village of Cornas where the Lionnet family has been growing grapes since 1575. It is now run by Corinne Lionnet and her husband, Ludovic Izerable, originally from Grenoble. They farm organically, using only natural yeasts and no new oak.
Grapes: 100% Syrah
Vineyard: Their Cornas vineyards consist of several distinct parcels, with vines ranging from 40 to 100 years in age, planted on hot, steep, terraced southeast-facing slopes. For this cuvée, fruit from the individual sites is fermented separately, then blended and aged a further two years before bottling.
Flavor Profile: A classic Cornas—rich, structured, and powerful, with aromatic layers of dark fruit, spice, and earthy minerality. As it ages, it will develop notes of truffle, baked fruit, and licorice.
Availability: This vintage should be available for a while.
Drinkability: If drinking soon, decant. It will continue to develop another 10 to 15 years.
Food Pairing: Definitely a wine for meat, especially lamb.
2013 Château Lafargue, Pessac-Leognan, Cuveé Alexandre, $33
Winery info: A family estate in the heart of Pessac-Léognan, a Bordeaux appellation in the left bank Graves region, known for both its red and white wines. It is now headed by Jean-Pierre Leymaire who was born on the property and represents the third generation to run the estate.
Grapes: A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris (typically about 70/30). Sauvignon Gris, also called Sauvignon Rose, is a pink-skinned mutation of Sauvignon Blanc that tends to produce more aromatic, richer wines. Once nearly extinct, it is seeing a bit of a revival in Bordeaux, especially in the Graves region. This wine is aged on its lees in oak barrels.
Vineyard: The Graves region gets its name from the French for gravel. The vineyards are planted on gravelly soil over clay and limestone. The stones provide excellent drainage and also reflect the warmth of the sun back on the grapes.
Flavor Profile: A lovely wine, with rich, golden color, and expressive citrus and floral aromas. On the palate, it is fresh and full, with elegant notes of spice and toast and a hint of vanilla.
Availability: Still in decent supply
Drinkability: Enjoy now or over the next three to five years.
Food Pairing: Poultry, crab, or seafood. The importer suggests enjoying it with sautéed Manila clams with potatoes.