Guillaume Gilles Cornas, France 2018
Guillaume Gilles, now in his late-30s, spent his formative winemaking years staging with Rhône legends Jean-Louis Chave and Robert Michel. Today, he can safely be considered a bona fide superstar of Cornas. A brilliant farmer, Guillaume eschews chemicals in the vineyards, working his three hectares completely by hand. He vinifies in concrete, uses only naturally occurring yeasts, and employs only whole clusters with no bunch-destemming, a vital contributing factor to his wines’ intoxicating aromatics. A resounding statement of his old-school values. He ages his wines in 600-liter demi-muids of considerable age, racking minimally and employing never more than 60 milligrams of total sulfur, and bottling without fining or filtration. Guillaume’s wines are unfailingly expressive, deep, powerful, and spicy, humming with terroir and easily rivaling the greatest creations of the appellation’s old masters. Gilles’s flagship Cornas comprises three separate parcels, all within the renowned vineyard of Chaillot, planted between the early-1950s and the mid-1970s: lower-lying Combe de Chaillot, with its sandier soils, offers more straightforward fruit; steep Les Terrasses, high up on the slope and poor of topsoil, contributes granitic punch and intense spiciness; and the also-terraced Grandes Mures, with its sun-soaking southward exposition, provides sumptuously dark-fruited bass notes and enhances the final blend’s overall structure.
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Soil: Granite and Limestone clay