Jérôme  Despesse

Cornas, Northern Rhone Valley, France

Jérôme Despess,  a young energetic winemaker, makes classic Cornas from a tiny plot in the northern Rhone.  In 1992 Charles Despesse, Jérôme’s father, was the first to bottle wine at their tiny estate.  Before 1992 they sold their wine off in bulk to the cooperative.  Today Jérôme does the winemaking, while his father helps in the vineyards.  Their vineyards are located at the southern end of Cornas in an area called Les Côtes.  More specifically, their vineyards are in Le Craux which is a small, extremely rocky area within Les Côtes.  The vines, planted by Jérôme’s grandfather are over 60 years old, and are adjacent to August Clape.  As the domaine consists of only 0.60 hectares, Jérôme has to work outside of the winery in order to support his family.  Currently he works for Amorim, one of the top cork suppliers in France.  At Amorim Jérôme works with many great producers in the Rhône Valley.  This exposure to great producers can happily be seen in the quality of his own wine.


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Jérôme Despesse Cornas 2015

From 100% hand-harvested, old-vines Syrah. After fermentation in open top vessels, the wine is transferred to used oak barriques and is aged for 18 months before bottling.  The wine is not filtered.

Perfumed nose of blueberry, bacon and cassis.  Intense blackberry, cherry, and plum fruit notes are moderated by spicy notes, and ripe tannins.  While the wines of Cornas are well-known for their wildness, Jérôme has done an excellent job of achieving a wine that is sophisticated and balanced, without sacrificing any of its typicity.             

At-a-glance:   

  • From Syrah vines planted in the 1940s and 1950s from Les Côtes.
  • Whole bunch fermentation, cap punching, pumping over.
  • 1/3rd one year old barrels and 2/3rds  3 to 4 year oak casks from Château La Nerthe.
  • Aged 11-18 months, fined, unfiltered.
  • Only 125 cases produced

REVIEW:

"From the young Jerome Despesse’s estate located in the southern part of Cornas, in the La Craux region and steep, terraced slopes, the 2015 Cornas sports a deep ruby/purple color as well as a killer bouquet of black fruits, scorched earth, beef blood, pepper, violets, and cedarwood. This old-school Cornas has a bloody, meaty, olive, iodine character (not far from what you can find from Allemand or Clape) as well as medium body, brilliant minerality, notable, yet integrated acidity, and a great finish. It doesn’t have the over the top power or richness that can be found in the vintage yet is perfectly balanced, complex, and just classic Cornas. I love it. 94 Points." - Jeb Dunnuck, 07/11/2018