Thierry Allemand did not come from a family with a history of winemaking, and was not fortunate enough to be the recipient of a family estate of vines as is the case with many other great French domaines. Allemand grew up in Cornas, surrounded by ancient vines, because his father, a factory worker, had settled there. Fascinated by the vineyards that were all around him, he developed a passion for the local wine that may have exceeded that of many of the vignerons! He started off as a cellar hand at Domaine Robert Michel, and worked there for over a decade, gaining a valuable understanding of the wine. Concurrently, in his spare time, he was cleaning up an abandoned vineyard which he had purchased in 1981.
1992 was the year that things began to shine and marked the beginning of the quality and style of his wines as we know them now. His attention to detail improves every year to the point where he is now considered without argument as one of the greatest wine producers in the Rhone Valley and a global reference point of Syrah. Thierry's wines are also insider wines - I suspect most of them are consumed by the wine trade - his wines produced naturally in the same way and with equal precision as Domaine Gramenon, Philippe Pacalet or Jean Foillard and similarly just a small dose of sulphur is added to his wines at bottling to stabilise the wine. Thierry has perfected his winemaking into an art.
These days he farms 5 hectares, has a lovely new winery and produces his two stunning Cornas from mature and old vines in the greatest terroirs of the appellation; only Clape has similar quality holdings. He produces just two wines, firstly there is “Chaillots”, sourced from the limestone slopes of Chaillot to the northwest of Cornas and from La Côte, a granitic slope just to the west. The vines here are generally less than 40 years of age. “Reynard” is sourced from the slopes of the same name to the west of the village, where some of the best sites are to be found. This is a very well established site, including some old vines of 90 years of age purchased from brothers Louis and Noel Verset. Yields at both sites are low, typically between 20 and 30 hl/ha. After fermentation both wines are stored in older casks and a few foudres for about a year before racking by gravity, a light fining if required, and bottling. The wines are never filtered.
To give you some idea of the commitment to quality chez Allemand; at harvest in 2008 he employed 15 staff who did 1000 hours of work on his 5 hectares! Our allocations are small as world demand for these wines is crazy but regardless - we are more than delighted to have Thierry Allemand in our portfolio.