No wine lover could fail to be inspired by a visit to Domaine de Lorient. It is reached by a vertiginous, bone-shaking path which winds through scrub and woodland, before emerging to reveal an awesome panorama of the valley floor and mighty river Rhône far below. Occupying the site of a long-abandoned small holding, the domaine was established in 2014 by Laure Colombo and her husband Dimitri Roulleau-Gallais.

That they refer to the domaine as a ferme vigneronne – a grape growing farm – is no affectation but an acknowledgement that viticulture is just one of the many activities happening here. Indeed, Laure and Dimitri are standard-bearers when it comes to polyculture and agroforestry (two increasingly hot topics in the context of wine). Their 5.5 hectares of vines, farmed organically, are interspersed with orchards and pastures given over to livestock. Home also to a thriving colony of bees, the domaine buzzes – literally – with vitality.

Domaine de Lorient was one of the most popular new additions to the Stannary portfolio in 2021 and yet, frustratingly, we were unable to offer the fabulous 2019 Cornas owing to a miniscule allocation. Happily, we’ve secured extra stock of the even more impressive 2020, offered today for the first time in the UK (and exclusively by Stannary).

2020 was a hot, dry vintage, but cool nights and an absence of heat spikes have resulted in wines of freshness and charm. As Matt Walls (Decanter) has written: ‘These are wines that will provide huge amounts of pleasure, straight out of the gate. It is that rare thing – an excellent vintage for early drinking.’ Laure and Dimitri’s Cornas is a truly superb example.

2020 Cornas • Domaine de Lorient
£225/6 btls IB

The 2020 Cornas boasts a lifted, floral bouquet – accentuated by a judicious 50% whole-bunch fermentation – with black cherry fruit, flecks of black pepper and subtle savoury notes of tapenade and grilled meat. It hails from a single-hectare plot (gifted to Laure by her father, totemic Rhône winemaker Jean-Luc Colombo) of forty-year-old vines on a south-east-facing slope, just above the renowned lieu-dit Les Chaillots. A cool microclimate and decomposed granite soil (known as gore) account for the wine’s bright acidity and the mineral resonance beloved of devotees of the Northern Rhône. It was raised for 14 months in neutral 228 and 400L barrels prior to a brief spell in concrete, contributing roundness and depth to the mid-palate. It has ample concentration and acidity to age well, but this is one Cornas that won’t take an age to come round, and will deliver a huge amount of pleasure ‘sur le fruit’ from autumn 2022. Drink 2022-2030

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