The Early Greats of Côte-Rôtie & Cornas

From the 1970s to the early 1990s, a handful of little-known Northern Rhône growers made some of the most enduring wines of our time.

Their names were Marius Gentaz, Auguste Clape, Noël Verset, Joseph Jamet, and Georges and Robert Jasmin. 

Few wine lovers cared much about them at the time, preferring to worship the great châteaux of Bordeaux. But as time has gone on, the greatness of their wines has become clear. 

Each farmed old clones of Syrah in either Côte-Rôtie and Cornas—two ancient areas that had fallen on hard times since the War. Their wines were a very personal expression of their time and place. 

These five men never would have imagined the reverence—and prices—accorded their wines today. The iconic Marius Gentaz is idolized among Syrah lovers in the same way Burgundy lovers worship Henri Jayer. Auguste Clape and Noël Verset are clearly on their way to being demigods. The less talked-about Joseph Jamet and Georges and Robert Jasmin were on few collectors’ radar screens 12 months ago, but that is clearly changing. 

The deification of these men is underway, but the chances to actually experience their wines are increasingly rare. The Gentaz and Verset domaines no longer exist. Domaine Jasmin is still with us, but the philosophy is different. It is only at Clape and Jamet that the magic lives on. Meanwhile, the wines from The Golden Age of all five growers1970s to 1991hardly exist today.

2013: A Year to Remember

This year, in partnership with New York’s Bar Boulud, we will memorialize this important period of wine history with five dinners, each focusing in a uniquely comprehensive way on one of these giants. Given the rarity and importance of these wines, the magnitude of what we’re doing here is extraordinary. 

We have chosen to partner with Bar Boulud not only because it is one of our favorite restaurants in New York. Its culinary philosophy is in perfect sync with these wines, and no one in the U.S. wine trade shares our passion for these wines more than Wine Director Michael Madrigale. 

Each of the five events in the series will feature a four-course menu by Executive Chef Olivier Quignon, along with a vertical of between 14 and 17 wines. All wines have been obsessively collected by us over a period of 25 years, according to the rigid standards of bottle history and condition for which The Rare Wine Co. is known. 

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