Noel Verset’s wines are very traditional in style and represent a style of winemaking that has basically disappeared. Throughout much of Noel Verset’s life, Cornas was a poor village that was known for producing rustic, country wines. Men like Verset were a product of this era and their wine making was very simple. Not all of Verset’s wines were great, but they have always reflected the conditions in which they were made. Noel Verset did not try to “correct” a wine from a difficult year, rather he let the vintage shape the wine. Kermit Lynch once said Verset had the best vineyards in Cornas, but that Auguste Clape was the best winemaker. Clape may have produced better wines on a more consistent basis, but Verset’s bottles, flaws and all, were truer examples of the vintage. I feel fortunate to have caught a glimpse of this nearly extinct style of winemaking.
After snapping out of my Verset trance, I made my way back to the main wine table and parked myself on a nearby bench. I am a veteran of such events and I did not plan on missing a single bottle. There were many outstanding wines. I particularly liked the 2002, Vatan, Sancerre, blanc and the 1999 Domaine Thenard, Montrachet, grand cru. Several wines from Jacky Truchot were opened including a delicious 2005 Morey-Saint-Denis, 1er cru, Les Blanchards. I thought I saw every bottle as it was opened, but Bruce Sanderson of the Wine Spectator went floating by with a 2001 Truchot, Charmes-Chambertin. Other producers included Roulot, F.X. Pichler, Clos Saint-Jean, Jean-Claude Bachelet, Raveneau, Knoll, J.J. Prum. There was one downside to this party, however. I had to go back to reality the next day.