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The Wines

1983 Syrah from Diognières between Ferraton and J-L Chave, hand harvested crop, destemmed, 50% vat, 50% open oak vat 3-4 week fermentation, twice daily hand punching of cap, pumping overs, malo done in cask, aged 50% new, 50% 1-year 228-litre oak casks 12-15 months, unfined, filtered, 1,500-2,950 b

2018

(cask) full, dark red with black colour; the bouquet gives an aroma of newly crushed grapes, a sense of the lees, dampness, with a semblance of Volatile, the fruit blackberry in nature. The palate bears a flavour of soaked fruits, with tarred tannins and oak running around. It’s very unformed as yet, has gaps in transmission. It needs three years to quietly make its way and be better organised as a whole. It’s rather low-key, gives the sense of a challenging vintage to vinify. 14°. 2,930 b. €50.50. From 2023. 2036-38 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks) full, deep red colour; the bouquet shows damp forest, soaked red fruits, is very much the child of a sun-filled year, has an oak-chocolate sideline. The palate holds a suave richness, is a trim ball of flavour, cherry stone prominent, near to kirsch. The finish is chewy, the tannins a little unrefined – hence the aftertaste is a touch dry for now. Allow until 2022 – it needs time to gain in polish and togetherness. 2039-41 Dec 2018

2016

(casks) dark robe, black with purple at the top. The bouquet has a beefy nature, shows an aroma of massed amounts of blackberries newly simmering on the stove, a sense of damp leaves, vegetation around them. The palate holds a prune flavour, ripe fruit with squeezy tannins. It’s a trifle plain, pedestrian, is OK but not gripping Hermitage. The finish shows a little salted cut. It resembles a wine from the lesser eastern areas. 14°. From 2019. 2027-29 Nov 2017

2015 ()

(casks) dark robe, black at centre. The nose gives a bonny welcome via a pile of cassis berries with a sweet, oily inlay, some licorice, and a prune depth beyond. The palate is broad and smooth, carries a welter of black cherry style fruit which wheels along very fully, the tannins a snug fit. The finish brings in their precision, a fine graininess. This is handsome, a sure bet, goes long. From 2020. 2034-37  Oct 2016

2014

(casks) full, dark robe. The bouquet offers an aroma of soaked black fruits, cherries, griottes, with a hum of oak-toffee below. It is a little sweet. The palate is easy, almost simple, has a round shape, and mild fruit- content. The tannins are soft. It may tighten a little. I think this cask sample is a bit old. 14°. 2,000 b. €29.50. From 2018. 2025-27 Oct 2015 

2013

(casks, bottling Sept 2015) good dark red; the nose is expressive, and suggests southern climes with some herbs present, black fruits and garrigue – it has style and pedigree, is a serene and confident start. The palate texture is silken, comes with good, prolonged length. It grips well and shows oak on the finish, where there is savoury gras richness. The fruit is pure, and carries well. It is good and fresh. 13.5°. 2,500 b this year. From mid-2018. 2030-33  Jan 2015

2012

(casks) dark, full robe. Black raisin, crushed black fruits aroma in a sweet and ripe styled bouquet that is almost weighty by design, via very late cropping. There is a juvenile mix of gushy black fruit and oak, the latter a shade green, on the palate; it leaves a pistachio effect on the finish. It is more clumsy than several 2012s, and aims for sweet tooth drinkers. It reflects the south and its warmth more than precision in style. There is late coating across the wine, a texture card. From 2016. 2026-27  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(casks) shiny, dark robe. The front air shows reduction in a broadly filled bouquet; it has a prune, date-like ripeness and chocolate depth. For now it is deep, raw. Fine grain and fine acidity run through this, the fruit aromatic and measured, running in ordinary, steady fashion. Not a headline grabber, one that does a decent job; it keeps moving, and is more free than the nose. The finish is bright, round and compact. From late 2014. 2023-25  Nov 2012

2010

(casks) good dark robe; blackberry jam air with a soft florality, an elegance of good, established terroir, red cherry fruit, a wee sense of soaked cherries, griottes. Rather delicate fruit on the palate – this is an approachable wine thanks to its ripe tannins, ends on a grain-powder note, with some glow from its ripeness. Suggests the alluvial, eastern area of Hermitage, not one with a firm granite spine. The finish is juiced, in with the graininess. From late 2013. 2023-25 Nov 2011

2009 ()

(casks) full, dark robe. Chocolatey, raisin, oak smoke airs, a little spirity – could be more uplifted. The oak leads the palate, lending it a pistachio taste. This is followed by a second offer of grainy, pebbly prune fruit. It struggles between its content ands its oaking. The fruit is fine within, has nice, dark qualities, so the oak is INXS. It ends on a baked texture for now, is drawn in there, compressed. The finish is demanding, even if it has richness present. From2014 – and after that, it will be more together. 2024-26 Nov 2010

2008

(casks) quite full red, a bit light at the top. Red berry, raspberry, active fruit on the bouquet – has a slightly damp, smoke back phase. Fine red fruit on the palate, which is fenced in by its oak, and the fruit exits before the finish at present. In a raw state now, hints at gaining depth over time, will take on weight. Ends on oak, crunchy black fruit and cocoa-raisin, salt. The length is OK. From late 2011. 2019-21 Dec 2009

2007

2 casks tasted. New oak *** largely complete red; chocolate, oak affected aroma, with some fruit breadth around it. Fine-boned wine with oak fencing, has discreet depth, the length is sound, correct acidity. From 2012-13, life of 14-16 years. 2-year oak cask: *** full red; compact aroma – oak and red berries. The palate red fruits show life and a good tannic sidekick. It is accessible, the length good. This is rather direct, a mobile, not a stuffed wine. Its tannins need leaving until 2011-12. 17 years. June 2008

2006

British Post Office red colour, nice and natural. There is a mix of pepper and oak on the nose, with some sweetness below – this has a direct air and is still very primary. The palate holds quite well-moulded fruit that proceeds along a sleek trail – the red berries are a little spiced, the texture is largely smooth. Elegance more than power here. Tannin lines the sides of the palate – this has an active presence, but is not intrusive. It needs time to extend the fruit past the imprint lent by its raising. A wine that needs to amplify – give this time for best results. 13.5°. From 2011. 2022-23 June 2008 Previously Dec 2007 (cask samples) No Rating: bottle 1 – corked. Bottle 2 – rampant cork. Dec 2007