The origins of the Courbis family estate date back to the 16th century. More recently, the brothers Dominique and Laurent Courbis succeeded their father, Maurice, in the early 1990s. They have since firmly established themselves as leaders of the modern school of winemaking in St Joseph and Cornas. The Courbis style may be summarized as offering wines filled with intense aromas and concentrated fruit with great purity and length. This is in large part achieved by a combination of meticulous and sustainable vineyard work undertaken to attain perfectly ripe, healthy, concentrated grapes together with fermenting in tanks and aging in barriques. The wines emphasize the expression of fruit while highlighting the specific character of the various St-Joseph and Cornas vineyard origins.
The estate owns 33 hectares divided as follows: 8 hectares in Cornas; 5 hectares of St Joseph Blanc; 19 hectares of St Joseph Rouge and 1 hectare of Syrah Vin de Pays de l’Ardèche. The vineyards are all on south and east facing slopes in the communes of Chateaubourg, Glun and Cornas. All the grapes are harvested by hand, rigorously sorted and 100% de-stemmed. The maceration period for the Syrahs lasts between two and four weeks. The wines mature in barriques which are new or up to three years old. The red wines are fined with egg yolks and are not filtered. They are bottled between one and half and two years after harvest.
The Courbis St-Joseph Blanc derives from vines planted on a unique limestone section of the St Joseph appellation, whose soil is suited only for white grapes. It is the only St-Joseph white that comes entirely from this ideal terroir. The blend is 97% Marsanne and 3% Roussanne. The wine is fermented in tanks at low temperatures, and aged in one third in new barriques (with weekly battonage) and two thirds in tanks. It is kept on its fine lees until the Spring after the harvest to develop additional complexity. Courbis assembles and bottles the white after 10 months of maturation.
The Courbis St-Joseph Blanc is lively, intense wine with distinct flavors of pit fruits (apricots and nectarines) and spice. The St-Joseph Rouge and the Cornas Champelrose come from various vineyard parcels across the Courbis Domaine. The soils are a combination of only limestone and granite. The various parcels are blended to attain St Joseph and Cornas wines that ready for near term drinking upon release. The St-Joseph Rouge is vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with 15 days of vatting. It is aged in a combination of 20% tanks and 80% barrels. The casks are 15% new and the balance 2-3 years old. After 10 months, the barrel aged wine is assembled back in tank for a few more months before bottling.
The Cornas Champelrose derives mostly from vines near the base of Cornas slope. It benefits from 3 weeks of vatting to extract as much color and flavor as possible. Courbis’s Champelrose is aged entirely in casks that are a mix of 25% new; 20% one year; and 55% 2-3 years of age. The barrel-aging period is 12 months, after which the wine is assembled in tank and aged for four more months before bottling. Both wines have generous, accessible, pure fruit and show the full character of their respective appellations in the attractive Courbis house style.
The terraced, cliff-like St-Joseph Les Royes vineyard is a spectacular “cirque” or extremely steep amphitheater. It is located at the southern limit of the St. Joseph appellation, on the border of Cornas. The exposition is to the south-east, so the amphitheater retains the heat of the day, while completely protecting the vines from northerly winds. The soil is a mixture of clay, granite, and limestone (the latter being the source of the small amount of Les Royes Blanc.) Yields are a miniscule 25 hl/ha and the vines average 30 years of age. The Syrah grapes for Les Royes Rouge are given a three week maceration period and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged 100% in barrels, of which 1/3 are new; 1/3 one wine and 1/3 two wines. After 12-14 months in cask, the wine is assembled and aged for 3 additional months in tank before bottling. The St-Joseph Les Royes is a profound and complex wine with sweet black cherry-raspberry fruit, notes of minerals and smoke, and ripe tannins that give it remarkable structure.
|APPELLATION(S)||ST JOSEPH & CORNAS|
|ANNUAL PRODUCTION||13,000 Cases|