95+ points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"A barrel selection that spent 16 months in one- to two-year-old barrels, the 2011 Cornas Vin Noir (which comes mostly from 100+-year-old vines) is more structured and tight, with knockout cassis, smoked herbs, caramelized beef and bouquet garni-like aromas and flavors all soaring from the glass. Tight, focused and concentrated, with big minerality that comes out with time in the glass, this gorgeous 2011 needs 3-4 years of cellaring and will have upwards of two decades of longevity."
Vinous Reverie Notes
Stephane Robert of Domaine du Tunnel is a rising star in Rhone wines. After training at Domaine Jean-Louis Grippat, a domaine known for its Saint-Josephs, Stephane Robert and his wife, Sandrine, purchased their own domaine, which spans Saint-Joseph, Saint-Peray, and Cornas. They named it “du Tunnel”, after the 500-foot stone tunnel that runs beneath the land. Work in the vineyards is done by hand, with occasional help from a horse and a winch. Harvests are carefully hand-sorted for quality, then taken for vinification. Nearly all Robert’s wines are vinified in stainless steel vats, then raised for 14-month in oak barrels. Interventions are kept to a minimum during vinification, to better express the characteristic intensity and fruit of the vines. Robert’s vinification of Cornas is unique, and includes keeping the stems on 10-50% of the grapes (instead of completely destemming), before subjecting the grapes to fermentation and punch-downs. According to Decanter Magazine, thanks to Robert’s process, “no Cornas seemed to evoke the undergrowth and wild plants up on the hill better than this one”. Tasting Notes: Blackberry and floral aromas characterize the nose. Full-bodied and dense on the palate, with tightly wound dark plums, other dark fruit flavors, and grippy tannins. Floral elements seem to rise above the heavier, layered fruit flavors. Still a baby, but the signs already indicate a marriage between elegance and power. A wine to try again around 2019. Food Pairing: Rich meat dishes in fruit sauces.