Auguste Clape produces unquestionably the finest wines in Cornas from his minute cellars located on the RN98 in the middle of the appellation. He has 11 acres of vineyards, the majority being superbly well sited on the steep hillside surrounding the village. The average vine age is high, with some being over 100 years old.
The wines are vinified traditionally and are then matured in wooden barrels for 18 months. No new oak whatsoever is used. Clape`s wines tend to be opaque in colour, impenetrable on the nose and densely tannic when young. However, with age, the tannins soften and they develop a seductive perfume of creamy, peppery, black fruits, leading on to complex flavours and nuances on the palate. The best examples can last for 20-30 years. Auguste, who is now in his late 60s, is gradually passing over the reins to his son, Pierre-Marie.
PRESS AND REVIEWS
92-94 points Vinous
Saturated ruby. Potent black and blue fruit, cola, olive and smoky Indian spice aromas are lifted by a suggestion of cracked pepper. Sappy, pliant and appealingly sweet, offering ripe blueberry and cherry compote flavors that tighten up steadily with air. Rich yet energetic, showing strong closing punch and velvety tannins that fold smoothly into sappy dark fruit on the impressively long finish. (JR) (3/2016)
92 points Wine Spectator
Fresh, with a bright violet note out front, backed by racy red currant and bitter plum fruit flavors. Lots of chalk and savory details underscore the finish. Still tight, so cellar for a bit. (JM) (3/2017)
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014s are more elegant, silky and streamlined, yet offer classic characters and will evolve gracefully. Readers looking for a smoking good Cornas to drink over the coming 7-8 years need to latch onto bottles of the 2014 Cornas Renaissance, which is the estate’s entry-level cuvée. Classic Clape in every way, with its meaty, bloody, iron, crushed rock and violet-tinged fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and supple, with beautiful fruit. There's plenty of fine tannin here, but it also has a solid density of fruit and a beautiful texture. It's already hard to resist. Some of the most singular wines in the world emerge from the dark, barely-lit cellars of Pierre-Marie Clape and his son, Olivier. This is a bastion of traditional winemaking and these wines are not destemmed, see long fermentations, and are aged in ancient barrels and casks. As Robert Parker wrote at one time, “There is nothing wrong with a case of Clape!” I agree wholeheartedly! (JD) (12/2016)