Vincent Paris, whose first vintage was 1997, is as shy as his wines are bold. In his early 30's, he has retro sideburns, but not much else about this appellation's established star is "retro". Vincent's uncle is Robert Michel, one of Cornas' finest growers. He made his two first wines with his uncle and then, seeking autonomy, rented facilities for the vinification of his most recent wines. He is in the process of building his own winemaking facilities with a courtyard that holds his apricot plantation.
Co-president of the appellation of Cornas with Jacques Lemencier, Vincent owns eight hectares of vineyards and produces about 2,500 cases per year, of which 1,600 are Cornas. He inherited most of his vines from his grandfather (some of which are 90 years old) and also rented, then purchased, vines from his uncle, including "Geynale" in the Cornas amphitheatre. They are located at different places primarily along the southeast facing Cornas slope and a small lot in Saint Joseph.
Vincent is convinced that the forests surrounding the appellation must remain wild and uncultivated. He believes in protecting ecosystems to preserve the health balance of all vegetation, not only vines. He is meticulous in the vineyards, and prunes to only four bunches of grapes per vine (the norm is between five and seven), which concentrates the vines' growing power and cuts down on the need for green harvests. In the cellar he ferments at relatively low temperatures and matures his wine in oak barrels for up to 12 months.
Vincent's "little wines" are a Syrah VdP and Crozes-Hermitage, which he began to produce in the hope of accommodating more clients after years of having no Saint Joseph or Cornas left to sell to new, interested customers. His Saint Joseph red is made from vines planted in the 1990s, and is vinified half in used barrel and half in tank. Next up are his Cornas Granit "30" and "60", designations that refer to the gradient slope of the vineyards. The Granit 30 is concentrated black fruit in a relatively “consumer friendly” style – perhaps a bit more Syrah-ish than Cornas-ish- whereas the 60 is classic Cornas: dense, with aromas of kidney and iron, and a terrific mineral underpinning. Last in the range is very small amount of Cornas "La Geynale", a blend of mostly Genale from the 1910 plantings he purchased from his uncle, along with 20-30% from neighboring Reynard. The addition of the "y" in Geynale is a nod to this unique blend.
In the past decade, Vincent Paris has moved into the upper echelon of growers in one of France's most celebrated red wine appellations. We are confident that we have yet to see his finest work!