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The Wines

mostly 1976 Syrah, some 1952-53 Syrah, 2-3% Viognier, from iron-schist soils on the Côte Brune, 3 week whole bunch vinification, pumping overs, aged 60-70% (up from 50% in mid-2000s) in new 550-litre casks 3-6 months for the malo, then 3-4 year 550-litre, some 228-litre casks (8-10% new) 30-36 months, vineyard worked organically since 2011, 5-6,000 bottles

2017 ()

(new 600-litre cask) notably dark red colour. Reduction, sweet blackberry fruit aroma with a curvy density, good shine, smokiness on the nose. The palate runs with soaked cherry flavours, blackberries, takes on some dark, minted tannins with steel grip. We are back to the usual Brune intensity here – there’s lot of iron and full blooded, compact, still very firm richness. It’s a handsome wine. From 2022. 2036-38 March 2018

2016

(cask) bright red. The nose is clear, has breeze, a raspberry and loganberry combine, hints of dried herbs, tobacco, some blackcurrant. The palate is sleek, less filled than usual, comes with an elegant style, gathers some darkness on the end, tar-like there. It’s wine of nerve, in a Burgundian vein, the fruits red. The length is sound. I hope for expansion. Mineral and iron are on the loose towards the finish. It holds naked qualities. It will age well and slowly. “I made it in two small vats of 15-20 hl, instead of the usual 35 hl all in one vat,” Julien Barge. From 2022. 2037-39 Mar 2018

2015

(cask) dark colour; the nose is marked by overt reduction, hence a pong from that. It’s brewed in nature, with cooked black fruits at its heart. It’s a sturdy opening with solid width. The palate gives brothy black fruits, stewed fruits with fleshy content, a rounded, sustained finish. There is ample juice to appreciate, and the fleshy style will appeal. The tannins are ripe, and have more depth than may appear on the surface, so a tightening up is on the cards. From 2019. 2031-34 Oct 2016

2014

(cask) dark red; the bouquet offers a low-key air of blackberry fruit, stewed fruit, with a note of licorice, a rounded profile. The palate bears brisk fruit, gets off and runs directly, with clean, crisp tannins bringing a dentelle note, a lifted aspect, to the finish. Quite a crunchy, assertive wine as it stands, with cellar work apparent; it needs leaving until 2019. 5% Viognier. 6,000 b. €50 export. 2028-30 GB £135/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com  Oct 2015

2013 ()

(cask) sound dark red. Has a dense blackberry aroma, oak and its smoke attached; it also has a lurking earthiness that is suggestive of reduction. Airs of mild pot pourri, dried flowers, hover above it. The palate holds tangy blackberry fruit that flows pretty well, acquires mineral touches as it goes. Interesting, varied contributors feature on the palate, a mix of rocky tang, slightly sweet simmered red fruits, flowers. This is complex, thus, carries good detail. 12.5°. From spring 2017. 2028-30 €49 in France. 6,000 b this year. GB £148/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015

2012

(cask) dark colour. Broad, grilled aroma, punk behaviour here, not controlled politeness: there is an inlay of dark red fruit, oak and smoke, the oak strong, not subtle. The palate has a visceral, gutsy nature, oak and entrails. This is grounded, traditional Côte-Rôtie, the battle on between its forces of fruit and the raunchy matter around that, plus the oak. Red meat droplets come through late on, a wine that keeps its foot down on the pedal. Has ways to go, trails to cross and cover. Traditional cuisine, bold flavoured dishes with this. From mid-2016, 2017 on, no hurry. 2027-29  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(600-litre oak cask) bright, engagingly deep robe; the nose is wide and comfortable, fresh and well-filled with alluring fruit – it is more open, less closely packed than the 2010 and 2009. There are airs of Indian tea, oily black stone fruits, some pepper snap. The palate is harmonious, a nice fit wine is this; it is on chocolate flavouring for now, along with ripe fruit such as prune, has live sides and the grain of its tannin woven in. Nice length, and I like the support on the second half of the palate with a knuckle of tight tannin attached, given extra body by its stems being include this year – “we did whole bunch fermentation this year”, G. Barge. There is a crunchy aftertaste. From 2017. 19 years of life. May 2012

2010

bottled yesterday: wow – what an inky robe – there is utter depth in this. The nose is like a Berlin Wall of firm intent, is compact, with layers of black fruit, a sense of truffle and violet in behind, droplets of red meat. The palate is manly, more like a Hermitage, is dense and sustained. It is packed with black fruit that has a light breeze of freshness in its late moments, suggesting a bonny evolution. There are firm but potentially expressive tannins that are really well inset. Grand Vin. There is a minor tasty flourish on its exit, yum yum. The finale is earthy, complete, with violet and an earthy cut. So much in the glass, but 2010 balance also. From 2016-17. 2036-38 May 2012

2009

dark, thorough red-black robe; has a licorice- filled, smoky, tight aroma that also reflects sizzled bacon, crisp airs, a bouquet that is set to fly around 2017. The palate`s blackberry fruit has tight tannin around it, and inside lies a definite gras richness; it underscored by the top crispness. This is very profound, and lengthens well. It ends on a taste of black cherries, is a proper, full wine. 2030-32 May 2012 Previously Nov 2010 ****(*) full, attractive robe; the bouquet is full, perhaps a bit enforced – the curve in it denotes a full ripeness, but we are not quite in Over the Top (OTT) territory. It is smoky as well. Fleshy, juicy wine on the palate – blackberry fruit steers it along, holds ripe licorice-flavoured tannins, ends on compact notes. It is largely round already, isn`t holding cards back. A neat and tidy package, with good late grain, pebble – this means it closes in an orderly way. From 2013. Tasted blind – I am surprised that it doesn't offer more mystery. 2024-27 Nov 2010 Previously July 2010 ***** (4 year 550-litre cask) ****(*) very full robe; light toast, black fruits, roasted airs. This has a great palate – bundles of deep-set fruit, has a classy veneer and polish in it, a minor amount of late oak. Solid wine. 18-20 years. (new 550-litre cask) ***** full colour; raspberry first aroma, then chocolate from the oak – there is winning fruit within the bouquet. Lovely richness on the palate – has plenty of gras for its oak, and the two combine well. There is very good style in the fruit, and the reserve of the Côte Brune is typical. “I find it intense and silky, also with complexity,” Julien Barge. From 2014-15. 2030-33 July 2010

2008

steady red robe; red fruits aroma, has “dark” tints in it, comes with a mild game air, an earthy undertone – this is rather Burgundian, but the black pepper sets it apart from the northern vineyard. Tight red fruit that has pebbly, wired tannins in it, quietly lengthens, has a steady finish, the aftertaste is peppery. Holds up in a mid-weight register. Approachable now, but more provocative from mid-2012. 12.5°. 2020-22 July 2010 Previously Dec 2008 (1 year 550-litre oak cask, malo on the go now, so no rating) sound red robe for now; the bouquet has red fruit at its interior today, light jam in the aroma. Red fruit with a little pebbly depth on the palate – a firm, grainy wine that can live for 16 years, and needs time to settle its acidity. From 2013. Chaptalised with 1°, to get to 12.3°. Dec 2008

2007 ()

1st bottle has a closed nose, palate is leathery, not quite right. 2nd bottle: full red. Degagé nose – open, offers red berries, light floral and pot pourri touches, baked bread, vanilla - a rather tender Brune this year. Red plum, berry fruit of finesse at first on the palate, before the advance of resolute tannins which allow it to lengthen steadily. Licorice and a tilt towards aniseed on the finish. There are slight game moments, and its most sturdy, Brune-typical phase is the finish, with an implant of pepper there. It can tighten and become more weighty and Brune-like in 2 years or so, around 2013. It is going the right way. 2024-27 July 2010 Previously Dec 2008 ****(*) (7 year 550-litre oak cask) nice depth of red in a robe that is not grandiose. The nose is open, offers peppery, a touch dusty red fruit – it is at an intermediate stage now, exudes gently mulled fruits. The palate runs with a full red fruit, has a dart of clarity. It is wide and long. The fruit is forward for now, the unleashed tannins are punchy and as yet not at all organised. This will go well with time. From 2012. 2026-28. “The aroma is often like this – the bouquet will have more plenitude next spring 2009,” G.Barge. Dec 2008

2006

3 different casks tasted: new 550-litre cask: ***** sound, cherry red colour; roasted, nutted but cool and clear-fruited aroma. The richness here is elegant and well-established. This is rich and overtly appealing. The length is good, its tannins are present and need leaving until around 2012, but they are not too chunky. Used 550-litre cask: ***** fruit on the nose is evident, bright and live, with a good foundation. The palate is gutsy, and also rich. Refined and full of heart. 550-litre cask: ***** firm red fruits in the nose; solid palate, and again, the fruit is open and well-set. Good length. OVERALL ***** The fruit is very expressive this year. A year of great charm. Its fruit is surrounded by a bit more matter than 2004. Can live for 20+ years. June 2007

2005 ()

full, bright robe; cherry, red jam aroma which is mixed with some leather and herbal stuffing behind the red fruit. There is also some pepper as a top note. Potentially a very pretty bouquet in the making here. Elegant, woven red stone fruits on the palate, with a nutty, firm tannic round-up at the end. Its length is sound, but it is dumb now – was bottled 3 weeks ago, and there are thunderstorms today. The tannins are marked from late on in the palate, and reflect the drought of this year. “It has gone through a lot of phases: it has a lot of matter, and is suave, but needs time,” Julien Barge. Esp 2012-13 on. 2027-30 June 2007 Previously April 2006 (new 550 litre cask) **** plum, prune, licorice, berried aromas, a little reduced right now. Very good grain, delightful cut of fruit here, very classy presence, racé wine. Tannins are live and ripe, length good, finish clear. STGT wine. To 2025-27 April 2006

2004 ()

(550 litre cask) *** damson, wild strawberry aroma, some mystery, well-knit. Good mid-palate fruit strike, red plus, correct tannins to keep it going. Beau Vin, unforced, STGT. Clear grain, the rose-hip finale is more than usual, also mineral there. To 2020-22 "It was always open. I find it in the line of 1997 and 1992, aromatic wines of no great density, but certainly generous on the bouquets" Gilles Barge. 2004 (550 litre cask) ***(*) racked earlier than previous cask: raspberry-floral aromas. Decent couch of flavour, more solid and tight than previous wine. Good core and prospects, this can emerge as stylish and charming. To 2020-22 April 2006

2003 ()

(cask) touch of farmyard on the aroma - earthy. Solid, chocolate style flavour. Tight tannins woven into its chunkiness. Cooked black fruit/prune on end, chewy finish, with game aspects. Ends cleanly. A suitably muscular wine from this place in this freighted vintage. 2020-23

2002

(cask) red-plus robe; light fruit/licorice/earthy bouquet. Red fruit gums flavour, some dimension on palate. Tannins quietly present. Some acidity. Raspberry fruit late on, quite agreeable. 2007-08 on. To 2015-17 Previously *** medium colour; bit of pepper, crisp black cooked fruit aroma; nice clear fruit, not very big at end. Quiet vintage. To 2014 or so.

2001

compact bouquet, gentle prune, smoky airs – unfulfilled potential, with leather and a tiny floral wisp here, too. The palate is wrapped up, holds black fruit at its core, is really a brooder waiting to spring out. Red stone fruit and violet represent a wine of lovely pedigree and balance, really great. All to come – its texture is silky smooth, a true child of the Rhône, with finesse from its prime site. Esp from 2009 onwards for more declaration. Very classy. 2024-26 Oct 2005, Le Sommelier, Copenhagen Previously ***** (cask) dense, brambly/tarry fruit aroma, plenty to come; very clear flavour, black fruit sinew through it. Good length, classic wine, very persistent, great tannins. 2016-19

2000 ()

quite intense, stewed fruits, earthy tones; earthy rather than fruity wine, brown, stewed fruit with truffles almost. Well-sewn tannins, chocolate on end, mineral. Good length. From 2007. 2016-18

1999 ()

still rather dumb bouquet, restrained, but plenty to come, holds ripe fruit, raisin elements. Well drawn, knit texture on palate, with a tannic presence to sustain it. Pushes on to a full finish, with good, ripe tannins. Has the character of the place, but is atypical due to the extreme ripeness of the year.  2021-23  March 2005 Previously (cask) ***** smoky, meat barbecue aromas, a mixed bag; good, square wine with gras on second half. Nicely lasting, dry-toned as yet. Liquorice finale. Slow-burn wine. 2018-21

1998

smoky red fruits, tar and ripe aspects, good bouquet; tasty wine, has good flesh inside the tannins. Genuine density, burst of blackberry fruit at end. From 2003-04. 2018-21

1997

ripe, touch of stewed jam on bouquet; sweet black fruit on the palate, has nice length, is quiet wine. It holds a confit jam texture, very much in tune with the soft vintage. From 2003. 2012-15

1996

deep, soil/violet aroma; stewed black jam, tarry end. Strawberry, light chocolate flavours. Air tightens, dries it.

1994

meat/violets/prune then more gamey with air. The Brune's fortitude comes through - nicely square and slowly loosening meaty flavour. Chewy, earthy wine with style. 2014-15