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The Wines

50-75% Marsanne (late 1980s, Maison Blanche, Les Pierrelles), 25-50% Roussanne (Les Rocoules, late 1960s), 75% purchased wine from 3 suppliers, 25% purchased crop (including old Paul Jaboulet Aîné Roussanne from Dom Philippe & V Jaboulet), whole bunch pressing, fermented at a low 12-15°C in used 600-litre oak casks, raised 50% new, 50% 1-2 year 228-litre & 600-litre oak casks 10 months, malo completed, filtered, 2,000-6,000 b

2018 ()

full yellow colour; the nose has an oak-smoke, custard, vanilla pod opening, glazed fruits, white raisin on the fringes. The palate has a note of carbonic gas, and moves with tropical fruits’ flavours. Its fineness suggests Roussanne is present. It has New Wave leanings, pursues a salted, clear route, with a little drift on the finish, when one is expecting a blossoming in tune with a good table. I want my Hermitage blanc to come with more oomph: this is a pale version. The harvest could have been picked a day or two later, in my view. 13°. Decant it. From mid-2020. 2032-34 Nov 2019

2017 ()

fine yellow robe; the nose involves roast nuts, nougat more than obvious fruit, perhaps a hint of apricot juice present. The palate has a restrained richness, travels smoothly all through, bears white fruits flavour with softness in the delivery. The finish is neat, mild. It’s a low-key Hermitage blanc, pretty more than striking. 13°. From mid-2019, decanting useful. 2035-36 Dec 2018

2016

yellow robe. The nose is stylish, but restrained for this exuberant vintage, lime and peach, grape essence, orange blossom. This is silky textured, fluid on the attack, takes on extra depth, assertion towards the finish, sizzled butter there, oak caramel. It’s all very polished, and there is a close link between nose and palate. It shows Marsanne tang on the end, grip – that gradually comes into play. There are fresh touches within. Just makes it to ****. Decanting advised. 13°. 60% Marsanne, 40% Roussanne. 3,040 b. 2028-30 Mar 2018

2015

shiny, pretty full yellow. The bouquet is weighty, freighted with a round depth of cooked white fruits – there is cooked lime, and a musky notion, with vanilla and brioche also on board. It will become more precise as it evolves. There is carbonic gas playing a spritz freshness role on the palate; it has an orange marmalade, grippy flavour with gras that is pretty deep on the finish. The length is well sustained, and this is potentially elegant, striking white Hermitage. This includes a 600-litre oak cask with the 228-litre casks. 13°. 3,000 b. 50% Mars, 50% Rouss. €38 (2014). From spring 2018. 2029-32 Oct 2016

2014

yellow robe. The bouquet is on the fine rather than overtly full side; oaking is still apparent, with a lemon grass, cooked apricot aroma. It suggests Roussanne presence through the detail and finesse (tasted blind). The palate is soft, its gras squeezy, supple, neat. There is quiet grip on the finish from the Marsanne. This plays to the strengths of both Marsanne and Roussanne, has been deftly made. The length is sound. Good with crispy, roast chicken in tarragon, Asiatic, steamed Japanese dishes. 50% Mars, 50% Rouss – more Roussanne than usual. 13°. 2,000 b. From spring 2016. 2024-26  Oct 2015

2013

yellow robe. The nose gives airs of nuts, apricot, vanilla pod, peach, apple blossom and oak. A pretty varied start, to say the least. The palate starts softly, comes with a joli roll of gras, displays a little lees side on the second half of the palate, with oak on the finish. The nose has evolved further than the palate, which is buttery, has a flan and white peach flavour. It grips quietly at the end. 13°. 70% Mars, 30% Rouss. “It has gras and intensity,” Nicolas Jaboulet. €38. From 2018. 2028-29  Oct 2015

2012 ()

quite a copious yellow robe; oily, nutty air with a masculine width, a firm inlay. Not very much fruit is on show yet, just a little bitter orange from the Marsanne. This has a good, savoury palate with genuine local gras, and filling that runs to the finish. Very much a wine for la table – white meats, form fish such as tuna, salmon, would be great. Light tannic notes are present. Faithful, STGT style, a wine of interesting length and depth. There is proper content to get stuck into. Decant this. 13°. From mid-2015. 2,100 b. 2027-29  Nov 2013

2010

clear yellow, some green traces. Has a light sprinkle nose, unlike some of the fat-forward Hermitage blanc 2010s; it comes with spice, oak toast, a fresh greengage note. This is elegant, with a good, genuine base of dried white fruits that lengthen freshly. Finesse prevails over fat – it is a precise wine that is not over-endowed with depth of matter. Place this alongside uncomplicated dishes, pure flavours for an essentially pure wine. Roast pork with sage stuffing, steamed sea bass – bring them forward. A wee bit limited in scope. 2024-26 Nov 2011

2009

level yellow robe; oak-nutted, gras aroma, has the 2009 ripeness and depth, is accompanied by white pepper, ash, vanilla notes. The palate starts on a gras debut, is wholesome and refined . . always curved. A lot of texture here. It tightens gradually, offers dried fruits on the aftertaste, is a long-term player. Refined, clear, nutty finish. From 2014. 2028-30. 6,000 b, 60% M, 40% R this year. March 2011

2008 ()

yellow with glints in it; guava, exotic fruits aroma, has fat, but is a bit limp. Peach and apricot fruit airs are present. The palate is supple, expresses itself in a low-key way, and shortens up towards the finish. It lacks brio, is in the mid-division of the race. Not an engaging wine, nor does it hold a great future, is flat. 13°. 2019-20 July 2011 Previously Dec 2009 *** yellow robe; mild aroma – hazelnut, flan, apricot. This has a soft palate – is a fine white Hermitage, but rather neutral. Its length is correct - it runs on, but lacks the extra depth one wants from white Hermitage. It floats along, has gras (richness) but lacks real expression. It does gain with air – the bouquet opens up, revealing citrus, grapefruit, iodine, while the finish takes on greater richness and pepper. It is not bad with oysters, indicating that finesse and light style. Has the acidity to live until 2022-24. Dec 2009 “We only kept this in cask for 6 months since it was seen as a light year by the growers,” Nicolas Jaboulet.