Cornas (Patou), France
Located in the southern part of Cornas, Domaine Dumien-Serrette is the quintessential old-school family-run Rhône Domaine. The Cave is tiny and chaotic, located just behind the town of Cornas’ exceptionally large church spire. At the entrance stands the old screw press and concrete tanks. From there a small path leads into the tiny barrel room, adjacent to the library. And that’s it!
Nicolas, who has taken over the majority of production from his father, Gilbert Serrette, blends multiple foudres, all containing partially destemmed Syrah from the 1.5 ha vineyard of Patou. And they are very fortunate to have this plot. Patou is the best site south of the village of Cornas with decomposed granite and a rich soil that gives supple tannins and perfumed wines. The oldest vines are 100 years old!
Foot crushing and a manual press underline the traditional inclination of this fourth generation estate, but the attention to detail in the vineyard and care with yields are what really define this tiny domaine. Although Serrette isn’t certified, they use only organic fertilizer. The wines are fermented with natural yeasts and nothing is added to them, apart from a dash of sulphur at bottling. The vines they work are trained into two-vine canopies to protect against wind and hail. The Patou vineyard is very steep and Gilbert, who is in his 60’s, still insists on tending the vines using a special cart he invented which pulls him slowly up the rows while he works.
The wines tend to showcase the classic granitic backbone for which this appellation is known, along with cassis and sauvage mid-palate flavours, so typical of fine Cornas. But Dumien-Serrette’s Cornas has a beguiling floral elegance, which sets it apart from many of the wines in this vintage. In 2015, Nicolas achieved a new level of texture and structure. A muscular Cornas, the 2015 Patou nonetheless retains the freshness and classic Syrah pepper that are hallmarks of the domaine style. Jeb Dunnuck wrote: “This small, family run estate looks to have turned out a beautiful Cornas. Their 2015 Cornas Patou is a lifted, violet, pepper, plum and cassis-scented effort that has medium to full-bodied richness, sweet tannin and juicy acidity. It has a seamless, silky texture and wonderful purity."
We have been given a tiny allocation, so do not miss out on this opportunity to secure a case or two!