Thierry Allemand, one of the two icons of the appellation, is well aware of this. The original Angry Young Man of Cornas, does not dish out praise generously. Of Ludovic Izerable of Domaine Lionnet, he told us “He does very good work”. An opinion shared by Robert Michel, another doyen of the appellation, who sees so much potential with young Ludovic to take things forward. The more you ask around, the more you realise, few producers are held in higher esteem by fellow Cornassian growers then Ludovic. Perhaps there’s something in his work ethic that inspires respect, few toil as hard on the hillside.
Domaine Lionnet are one of only 10 producers or so still holding the baton for a traditional style. And they truly have it all.
Old vineyards in prime locations (Chaillot (next to Allemand on Les Bois) Mazards, Les Combes etc). Traditional vinification with stems, old foudre, a completely natural approach. Domaine dating back to 1575. An incredibly strong work ethic and absolute commitment to quality in the vineyard. Check! Organic since 2012 and is now ploughing by horse. Like Balthazar from 2010 he seems to have turned a corner and every year he is making better wines, so now really is a good time to get involved before prices start to catch up.
Between 600-800 cases of Cornas come out of his tiny cellar just behind the main strip in the town. His main cuvee is an assemblage from 5 lieux-dits. Chaillots, Mazards, Brugeres, Combes and Chategnier. The average age of the vines is between 45 and 80 years old.
He has also started making a Pur Granit cuvee from younger vines on the Chataignier lieux-dit (just above Chaillot) which is more on the fruit, and an excellent, albeit tiny production St-Joseph (150 cases)
The style is sturdy and traditional. Much more towards the Clape style than anything else if you need a reference, at really an absolute fraction of the price. So, for all those who regularly complain about the unaffordability of the Northern Rhone elite…