There’s a current proposal afoot to take 3.4 hectares (just over 8 acres) of vineyard land in Cornas and rezone it for housing. While it might not seem like much, 3.4 hectares represents a significant portion of the appellation, which totals only 100 hectares (247 acres) of vineyards. Cornas has no room to grow. It’s a unique granite hillside, with full south, southeast exposure, so it can never get bigger, only smaller. The proposal puts two prime lieux-dits located near the base of the hill of Cornas—the Mazards and Chaillots parcels—in the crosshairs.
True, Cornas still doesn’t command the respect of its more northerly Syrah-producing neighbors, Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. But that doesn’t make it any less important. Cornas produces wild, gamy wines full of olive and briar notes, backed by sometimes rigid, chalky tannins. They’re not for the uninitiated. But anyone who has had aged bottles of Noël Verset, A. Clape or Thierry Allemand can tell you that they are a singular experience.
The appellation has also improved markedly in the last generation, and there are a number of new growers, producers such as Domaine Courbis, Eric & Joël Durand, Domaine du Coulet, Vincent Paris and Domaine du Tunnel, who are making names for themselves alongside the historical leaders such as Alain Voge and Jean-Luc Colombo.
The proposal is currently up for public review through the end of September, so all those opposed and in favor of it have a few weeks to get their two cents in. One of the vignerons in Cornas who is leading the fight to stop the proposal is Albéric Mazoyer at Domaine Alain Voge, and you can reach out to him through their website (www.alain-voge.com). I’ve sent a letter to the mayor of Cornas, who supports the rezoning, noting my opposition to it. If you feel like it, you can drop him a line at:
|Vineyards could be destroyed if land is rezoned in Cornas for housing.|