The term 'pioneer' is thrown around too freely today when referring to great winemakers, but in the case of Auguste Clape, it perhaps falls short of describing his contribution to the commune of Cornas. The Clape family were forced from the Languedoc during the grower strikes at the beginning of last century, and landed in Cornas with next to nothing. They not only painstakingly rebuilt their holdings, but lifted the fortunes of the region along with them.
Back then Cornas was a faceless production hub for big négociant houses, but Clape saw a genuine and independent future for the region, and in 1957 they became the first producer to bottle their own wine. This paved the way for many others, including the late Noël Verset and legendary Thierry Allemand, and today Cornas is recognised for producing some of the greatest Syrah wines anywhere in the world.
"Some of the most singular wines in the world emerge from the dark, barely-lit cellars of Pierre-Marie Clape and his son, Olivier. This is a bastion of traditional winemaking and these wines are not destemmed, see long fermentations, and are aged in ancient barrels and casks. As Robert Parker wrote at one time, “There is nothing wrong with a case of Clape!” I agree wholeheartedly!"
- Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate -