Our website starts just as my devotion started – with Domaine Clape. Yes, the landing page is a beautiful photo of Auguste Clape’s vineyard in Cornas. Twenty plus years ago, I tasted in Clape’s cellar and became infatuated with the people, the culture, and the landscape of the Rhone Valley and Burgundy. Somewhere along the way, the lust grew into wonderful love, and the rewards have been immeasurable. Thank you, Auguste Clape, Pierre Clape and Olivier Clape for being my landing page.
For 250 years, these vineyards have been in the family, but not in the Clape name until 70 years ago. It is fair to say that Auguste Clape put Cornas on the wine lovers’ map. As you can see from the landing page photo, raising and harvesting grapes in Cornas is a very difficult, very labor-intensive task. Combine this with Cornas’ rich, heavy tannins prompting significant cellaring and you have a difficult wine to market profitably. However, slowly but surely, Clape’s and Noel Verset’s wines obtained a cult following and then Robert Parker’s first Rhone Valley book proclaimed Clape a star. Parker was and is a true fan of Rhone wines and his push, combined with a terrific job of distribution from Kermit Lynch (a first-rate importer), catapulted Clape’s Cornas to stardom. This beautiful, rich purple wine is sparsely scattered among the finest restaurants and wine stores around the world. Domaine Clape has recently added Renaissance, a delightful, more approachable wine using grapes from proportionately more of the young vines than are used in Cornas. This terrific wine sells for about $70 as compared to the Cornas at $110.
Voix de la Terre doesn’t offer Clape’s wine to members. However, Raphael will make tasting videos of each vintage for the pleasure of our members. Several of our members have collections of past vintages of Cornas and, if they choose to sell some wine, we might accommodate them on the website. Hopefully sometime soon, we will convince Pierre Clape and/or Olivier to lead a tasting dinner for Voix de la Terre.