At AuZone – the wine society, we love to taste rare and hard to find wines so this tasting of six wines from the Swiss canton Valais, made from the Cornalin variety was indeed perfectly in line with our preferences. It seems that we also were able to spot a rather distinct Cornalin character, as I hope you will see from these notes.
<b>2003 Primus Classicus, Caves Orsat, (cooperative)</b>
Colour: Deep Purple.
Nose: Deep and meaty with good fruit and a pronounced smokiness from toasted oak. Tobacco, alcohol, hot dogs.
Palate: Smoky, warm, mature fruit. Modest acidity. Asphalt. Quite a lot of dryish tannins. Fiery, dry, a bit lean aftertaste.
<b>2003 Chant de Vent, Charles Favre</b>
Colour: Medium deep, red with some orange tint of the rim.
Nose: Medium deep rather evolved nose of fresh berries and a little perfume behind. Also allspice, bay leaves, meat stock and cocoa.
Palate: Warm, a bit dusty with pronounced, dry tannins and a moderate acidity. Not very charming, but a long aftertaste with some stylishness evolving.
<b>2004 Domaine Saint Théodale</b>
Colour: Dark purple.
Nose: Deep with fresh, sweet fruit. Black currants, black berries and blue berries. International style(d). Also notes of asphalt, rubber, ketchup and BBQ-sauce.
Palate: Fiery attack, decent acidity. Full bodied but also dry and dusty. Fiery peppery and asphalt like smokiness. Long, dry, chewable aftertaste.
<b> 2002 Rive du Bisse, Gaby Delaloye</b>
Colour: Rather deep red with some orange.
Nose: Deliciously fresh, peppery and a bit aromatic with notes of violets. Almost Syrah-like. A bit of meatiness and also a slightly vegetal touch hinting that the grapes were slightly unripe
Palate: Fresh attack due to a good acidity. That vegetal note comes back stronger in the taste, reminding me of carambole fruit. Good chewable tannins. Long fiery aftertaste ending a bit dry.
<b>2004Domaine des Muses</b>
Colour: Rather deep purple.
Nose: Fresh, berrylike fruit, a bit raw and slightly inky. Some mint. Sort of Austrian in style (think Blaufränkish)
Palate: Dull, warm attack. Concentrated and with a bit low acidity. Harsh. Asphalt. Dryish tannins. Fiery, dry and a bit aromatic aftertaste.
<b>2004 Cornalin Soleil d’Or, Imesch</b>
Colour: Medium deep purple.
Nose: Rather deep but a bit anonymus fresh, flowery nose. Whiff of mint and blueberries. Tasty oak.
Palate: Dusty but deep attack. Nice fruit and a decent acidity. Smoky and rather pronounced oakiness. Rather nice, dryish tannins. Quite long, oaky and dry aftertaste. Nice fruit but a little lean. Will maybe become better with some time.
So, what we found to be the Cornalin character was the somewhat contradictory characters of fresh, berrylike fruit and the dry, dusty tannins that tended to dominate the aftertaste.
Indeed it was a nice occasion to learn about this rare grape.