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The Wines

from Les Greffieux, with Méal and Bessards, blend varies, but includes wines from all three climats, whole bunch fermentation, 18-21 day vinification, cap punching, pumping over, aged 75% 600-litre, 25% 228-litre casks 10-30% new, rest 1-5 years old, the wine of each site assembled before bottling, unfined, light filtration, the British cuvée”, has a gold capsule, 1,500 b

2018 ()

1) (Greffieux-Bessards, first half, casks, bottling Feb 2020) ****(*) dark red; bright red fruits, good clarity on a nose that has spark, pulse, is very good and clear. The palate is compact, linear, spinal. It holds stylish fruit with tight clamps around it, reaches quite a crescendo, a swirl of vegetal on the finish. This carries inner strength, with iron touches, really comes on strong. 28 years 2) Bessards-Méal, the other half, casks, assembled with first half at bottling Feb 2020) ****(*) bright dark red, purple colour. Hint of reduction on the nose, bears more sultry fruit than the previous – it shows definite Méal ripeness running through it. There are rays of 2018 sun immediately on the palate, with liqueur style red fruits, mulberry and raspberry, with chewiness, robust notes on the finish. It develops a wild side after the sunny intro – this is the South here. I can see the reasoning for blending the two together. It’s copious, scaled wine, with a sense of alcohol on the finish. 32 years 3) now the two together, done by Bernard on the spot ****(*) dark red; cherry stone, liqueur aroma, Morello cherry, raspberry liqueur, a hint of vegetal. This is voluptuous; it has a silken feel, courses with running fruit and gras, manages its tannins quite well – they produce a grain powder with a little end cocoa-mineral. The first half has the richness, the second half the freshness. There are concentrated juice and rocky tannins here, and it ends on real stones in the mouth mineral [allez Bessards]. It certainly needs to fuse, and is more demanding than 2015, for example. The two parts complement one another. “In hot years, you need the rock of the vineyard and the stem, the granite doers well,” Bernard Faurie. This is 14.3°. From 2024. 2050-53 Dec 2019  GB £297/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017

very dark red. Has a sensuous, well-filled bouquet, welcome notes of cut, lead pencil in its ample red fruit setting, Méal ripeness at its centre, setting a rather southern agenda. The palate gives an immediate rich, sustained roll of raspberry fruit, mulberry also, delivering bounty in the glass. Bessards comes through via iron grip on the finish. This is ripe, large, vigorous Hermitage, the length prolonged. If you wait, you’ll receive more precision of terroir here. It’s a wee bit “too much” when young for me, but can reach ***** if you are patient, at least ten years of cellaring. “The two sources harmonise well on the nose,” B Faurie. From 2023-24. 2047-50 Dec 2018 Previously Nov 2017 ****(*) 1) (Greffieux-Bessards, used 600-litre oak cask, sugars  under 1gm left, malo not yet) ****(*) dark robe. Intense dark berry fruit aroma, some lees; there’s a close packing of fruit, is deep. There’s a note of mineral, a nudge from Bessards there. The palate is rich instantly, sturdy and dense, has thorough and big heart, thick tannins. It’s manly and broad, prolonged, sturdy. 14.2°. From 2024. 28 years 2) (Bessards-Méal, used 600-litre oak cask, sugars completed, malo not yet) ****(*) full, dark red. There is thorough depth on the nose, blackberry, loganberry, big berries. Méal is the dominant factor, and it’s close to jam. This is meaty, very filled, sustains powerfully. Méal marks it – there is a real firm solar density from it. The palate is rich and southern, very closely packed together. It has less finesse than 2016, a very different register. There are no missed steps along the palate, which is full all through, weighted and thorough. “it’s good, ample – you can treat yourself with this,” B Faurie. From 2024. 2042-44 Nov 2017

2016

1) ***** (Greffieux-Bessards, used 600-litre oak cask) full red robe. Has a blackberry and elder berry aroma, comes out openly, is pure, shows a hint of licorice. You can smell Greffieux on the nose – it’s feminine. The palate has iron through it, tenacious content, with fresh red fruits, red cherry fruits, that dance well, run freely. Its tannins are well wrapped into it – the Greffieux influence here is good. Bessards rides in late on, provides freshness and pebbly texture. It has good style, is aromatic, genuine STGT wine. It has very good poise, and reminds me of a Chave Hermitage. 60% Bessards, 40% Greffieux. “It’s very fine, elegant,” B Faurie. From 2021-22. 2040-42 2) ***** (Bessards-Méal, used 600-litre oak cask) dark red. There is a quiet air of blackberry, a note of prune, sweet herbs, raspberry behind on the nose. Snug gras richness is delivered on a shiny platter on the palate – it is silky, textured, has a flavour od soaked red cherries or griottes, and raspberry. The flow is very good here, serene; it gives real all round pleasure, restraint, is joli and well-balanced vin with a pitter patter of detail, all lovely, curvy, sexy. From 2022-23. 2038-40 3) now the blend of the two, done by Bernard for me: ***** dark red colour. The nose is intricate – raspberry peeks out, a note of elder and blackberry. It has the gracious curve of the two parts. There is a fine roll of red fruits, always spherical, on the palate; it offers gourmand drinking now, is a silken beauty. The balance is primo, the tannins have quality, are refined. It’s plumptious with a little iron depth. Nuits St Georges in the glass here – “oui, c’est fou [it’s crazy],” B Faurie. 2039-41 Nov 2017

2015

this is 65% Bessards, 20% Méal, 15% Les Greffieux: dark red. The nose is becoming dumb, reserved, rustles up raspberry, red berry fruit, has a liqueur/coulis nature, with fine notes of mineral and rose petals, blackberry also, gunflint and licorice. This is rocky origin Hermitage; it has a knuckled intensity, isn’t obvious or flattering. The cool spine runs like an arrow through it. The surrounds have a gras richness and thick juice that are vintage related. The finish is crunchy, rocky, interesting, adds a real rocky spur, pumice stone style, a vegetal moment from the stems. All lies before this wine. It opens with air, gains gras richness. It is intricate, made up of many different contributors, details, is a Thinker’s Wine – you have to study it. 13.5°. From 2023. 2040-42 Nov 2017

2014 ()

(cask) 50% Greffieux/Bessards (13.15°) and 50% Méal/Bessards (13.75°) this year. This is the Greffieux/Bessards/Méal wine assembled for customers in GB, The Wine Society, Lay & Wheeler and Justerini & Brooks: full dark red. The nose presents blackberry fruit with a sweet undertone, black cherries – it is polished and has a plump potential. The palate is seasoned by grainy tannins, has the texture of those within its soaked red cherries, with smoking moments. Bessards is more obviously present here than in the other 2014 cuvées – this is more sizeable, more compact, sealed wine. It goes long, is manly, a proper Hermitage of various climats, one that supports the Jean-Louis Chave view of an assembled wine, not a plot-specific one, being the true Hermitage. “For a Grand Hermitage, it is said you need the three terroirs,” Bernard Faurie. Its strength hasn’t been forced, and there is concentration of juice here. It is fresh, long, and glows on the finish. 2037-39 GB £210/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Dec 2015

2013 ()

shiny, full dark red robe. The nose gives a blackberry fruit aroma, a sprinkle of raspberry, even a tapenade, black olives note, along with licorice. The palate has a careful, precise, well orchestrated start, and lengthens with appealing softness. The three climats help each other – it bears good juice and roundness in the mid-palate (Greffieux, some Méal), with a tingle of clarity as it ends – more Bessards on show there. The flavour centres on dark red berries, raspberry. Fine, beau, genuine Hermitage. This was bottled 12 Jan, 12 days ago, for the Ampuis Wine Market. “It is balanced, and Méal gives it a noble velvet. Bessards and Méal gave very litte crop this year. I harvested Greffieux and Bessards in 2 gos this year, 10 days apart, the same vines. Once you had picked three bunches the first time, the remaining bunches did well in that 10 day period” Bernard Faurie. 13°. From 2017. 2034-36 GB £218/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015

2011

shiny red, dark-tinted robe. Rose and violet aromas lie inside its spot of sweet berry fruit; there is a plump side to this, some earthiness. The palate’s fruit starts with hesitation, is fenced in, tightens on a black raisin, toffee angle. Not as focused, nor delineated as usual chez Faurie. Its length is fair. It has the “fuzziness” of 2011. From 2017. This hasn’t worked out as planned for some reason. 13°. 2030-32 Dec 2013  Previously Nov 2012 ****(*) (new 600-litre oak cask, a replacement) dark red, good heart to the robe. This has the darkest bouquet of the three 2011 reds – the fruit is well set, offers black cherry and some black berry intensity; it is just a bit raw still, the malo perhaps not yet finished. The palate has a grainy note from its oak, and bright graininess from the malo being unfinished – it is rather severe as a result. The mid-palate shows good fat. It ends clearly, the length good. The fruit has gleam, class, and the wine will entertain, be charming around 2018-19. A wine of confirmed depth and secure length, less grounded and intense than 2009 and 2010. It will advance in a slow-burn way, so give it generous time. 2033-34  Nov 2012

2010

dark red robe. Red cherry fruit, violets in the air – there is a marked solar ripeness in the fruit on the nose, light airs of animal and earthiness. A complex bundle is brewing up with cherry and flint or pumice stone involved at its centre. The nose breathes strength and good condition. This is manly, wide-shouldered and structured Hermitage, that bears a big frame of tannin. The finish is solid, crunched up. It needs leaving. A stonking Hermitage, a very Grande Année indeed, up to 1929, 1978. It ends on the fire of the hillside, is very expressive, a striking wine. It has degree, but balance also. 14°. “It needs leaving, you have to be patient, it is Protestant now. It is a wine of winter drinking – start when it is ten years old,” Bernard Faurie. 2039-43 Nov 2012

2009

(540-litre oak cask, the wine for GB) full, pretty red; the bouquet is on a ripe curve, represented by some “southern”, herbal touches, comes with grilled airs also. The palate is solid, but more fine than robust – its main feature is its tight packing of flavour and matter. It is lithe, fresh and its tannin is menthol-like and grippy. Wait until 2014. 13.9° restrained on that front. 2032-34 Nov 2010

2008 ()

bright robe; red cherry, agreeably rounded, red fruits aroma that comes with the sensation of wind-borne dust, licorice. The palate has a supple feel early on, but restraint is never far away. The red fruit gives a flourish at the end – a flavour of redcurrant and cherry – and is agreeable. There is a fine line of rather dusty tannin alongside. It has an authority from its granite grounding. Lovers of Bordeaux would enjoy its upright reserve. A good blend of the three sites. 2025-27 Nov 2009

2007 ()

red, purple colour; the nose gives a sympa first impression – offers stylish black fruit, blackberry, comes with a quiet smile, great clarity of fruit. The palate extends really bonny fruit right away, leads with charm, and the fruit runs on gracefully, has a tick-tock of confidence. It is tremendously easy to drink now, includes a mild gathering of tannin at the end, so the future looks good. This can evolve very well. Drink now, or from 2012. STGT wine; I compare it to 1991. 2027-29 Nov 2009

2005

purple, thorough robe with a black core. The bouquet has plenty in it, with oak fringes and ripe black berry at its heart. Has a refined, suave, good oily texture, its fruit continues well, and it is cleanly cut. Has polished fruit, good. From 2009. 2027-29 Dec 2006 Previously April 2006 *** (600-litre cask, the bottom of Les Greffieux, 20% of the wine) sound, three-quarter red robe. Has a pebbly aroma, a light sprinkle of red fruits, some pepper. This is a straight line wine. The finish is quite upright, shows licorice. I expect a leathery, mineral middle age. Especially from 2008. The vines are old, but the soil here is abundant, and the vineyard is basic here - it doesn’t have the authority of the better sites. It gave Grand Vin in 2003 thanks to the extreme ripeness. 2023-25 April 2006

2004

rather light colour. Open, red berry jam aroma, some leathery wisps. Supple palate with some tannin tightness late on. fair juice, but isn't fresh. A wine of some evolution already. Pebbly trimming means its shape will be upright. It's an STGT wine, ideal restaurant wine. To 2022-24. "I'd like a little more structure" B.F. Apr 2006

2003

has an extraordinarily inky, dark robe. Has an oily, sunny, savoury nose with a little raisin evident. The palate is tightly packed, marked by violet and black berry jam – a sweet-toned black cherry. Has a lozenge flavour, with a rounded, slightly jam finish. A real one-off with this sweet amplitude, one that drinks OK now. 2024-26 Dec 2006 Previously Sept 2005 **** full, dark-tinted robe. Tight-knit black fruits on a smoky bouquet, deep-seated vintage ripeness, meaty and violet mix also. Lightly scented black berry flavour, has a sound mid-palate, runs on harmoniously, there is attractive vinosity here. Meaty, southern, with olive tinges, the oiled finale gives hope for its longevity. Drinkable now. From 2007. 2023-25 September 2005

2002 ()

a plum colour that is evolving. The bouquet has some game airs - early signals of advance - and a combination of red jam, honeycomb and smoky plum in the aroma. The palate is softly fruited, and has the bone of the usual tannins of the domaine. It is now a bit fragile. To 2010. Dec 2006 Previously Sept 2005 **(*) some depth in the red colour. Bosky, woods smells on nose - angular, without much stuffing, just a bit vacant. Black jam start to palate, then dries and gets peppery. Rather austere aftertaste. Winter/autumn drinking, needs game, marinaded lamb. Esp 2006 on. 2011-13 September 2005 Previously *** (cask) quite tight, red berry fruits nose; expressive, clear red fruit, with sinew in texture. Delicate overall. Fair, chewy length. Making quiet progress. 2007 on. 2012-14

2001

quite solid nose, stylish red fruits/toffee, dry hints; well-bound flavours, elegant red fruit, tannins woven. Good balance, authentic, classic structure; esp 2006-07 on. 2024-26 Previously **** chunky, grilled, red berry nose; tight stone fruit, sinew and chew. Raspberry, light fungal/earth end. 2007 on. 2023-25

2000 ()

gentle black fruits/violet nose, earthy too. Tight black fruit, pepper. Sound tannins, pure, mineral touches. Persistent, traditional. 2007 on. 2021-23

1999

some black fruit, tar on bouquet; vibrant early fruit, tannins appear at end, berry-tar finish. 2025-27

1998

big, broad, sappy blackberry nose. Cautious attack, but is full, chewy. Good core matter, and end tannins. 2022-24

1997

dark fruit edge on nose; lively, overt fruit attack. Fine style of vintage. Some end liquorice/tannin. 2003 on. 2011-14

1996

oily, stewed black fruit, bosky/leather nose, reflects the year; dark flavours, tar, firm texture, dry end tannins. Military now, will give pleasure if left. 2004-05 on. 2023-25

1995

good depth on nose, black fruits/pine; persistent fruit, broad flavour. Sustained finale with some delicacy. 2021-24

1994 ()

quite peppered bouquet; clean red fruits, has finesse and fine bone. Decent length, not very big, a wine on the finesse. 2017-19