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The Wines

100% Syrah (1980s, 1999) on Les Rochains, S facing schist soils, with iron and clay and a pH of 5.5, 70-80% destemmed, pumping overs, can be cap punched, 3-4 week vinification process, heated finale to the maceration, malo done in cask, aged 30-40% new, 60-70% 2-5 year 228-litre oak casks 18 months (new oak down 10% since early 2010s), usually unfined, unfiltered, first wine 2003, 2,400-3,000 b

2019 ()

(cask) dark robe; the nose bears excellent promise, light grilling, smoke, dark berry fruit, good depth and width, cherry fruit, lots of style. The palate serves gossamer touch cruising black fruits, great finesse throughout, is highly appealing. The balance is good. The tannins are well layered, less deep than the Lancement 2019. “There is more clay in the soil on Rochains than Lancement, which helps its balance. 2019 was very heterogeneous across the lieux-dits – Rochains is usually more dense than this. The 2019 acidity has fended off the degree. This year it was 13° to 13.5° on the plateau – usually it’s hard to achieve 12.5° there,” Kévin Garon. 14.7°. 28-30 years Dec 2019

2018

(1-year 228-litre cask) very dark robe; there’s a blue fruit fest on the nose, cassis its buddy, iron shavings, licorice, salt, coffee. The palate has buzz, electric prompts in its black fruits, with an accumulation of black fruit towards the finish. It hits the line hard, has a trembling energy above its concerted filling. The fruit is very certain, not quite intense. This is high interest wine for the keenos, enthusiasts, those in the know [les branchés] – prise this open, folks! It’s manly, well muscled, waiting wine. 33% new oak, 20-25% whole bunch. “I’ve never vinified a Rochins like this – it’s complex, the pH is 3.5 – perfect, meaning longevity, The Total Acidity is 4, 4.5 or so, and the tannins will also help it to age,” Kévin Garon. From 2025. 2049-51 Dec 2019  £287/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017 ()

(2-year 228-litre cask) dark red. This has a smoky, handsome bouquet on black cherry with a stylish togetherness, detail. The ping of freshness on the palate is pleasing, even if there’s an engrained, rolling richness. This holds very good juice, and the ratio of stems included – about 20-25% - raise its freshness level well. This has the best balance of the three 2017s tasted. The length is good, with late mineral, iron filings, blue fruit, a touch of oak as it closes. From 2022. 2036-38 March 2018

2016 ()

quite a dark red robe. The nose is wild! There’s packed in blueberry with much oak smoke, creosote, cassis, lead filings. The palate charges off well via dashing black fruits, good quality gras at the helm – it is smooth, lissom, nice and “fat”. This has character and potential, goes along with great gusto, black berry fruits and oak-tannins that will ease in well. This is classy. The freshness is good, as is the balance; all the elements are in place for a good development and future. There’s iron oxide on the aftertaste. 13°. €70 at the cellars. Bottled two weeks ago, end Feb 2018. From 2022-23. 2034-36 Mar 2018

2015 ()

(cask) full robe. The nose is stylish, based for now on cool cassis-blueberry fruit and clear oaking. The palate settles well into a stride of attractive berry fruits with fine tannins well wrapped into it. This has delicacy and charm, and will hum a fine tune with some age. The fruit on the finish is dainty, precise. I like the balance. The finish will expand and flourish over time. 13°. 2,400 b. GB £288 6b i/b Clarion Wines info@clarionwines.co.uk www.clarionwines.co.uk +44(0)208 747 2069. From mid-2019. 2033-36 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(used 228-litre cask) dark red, purple, black-tinted robe. The nose is sleek and deep – gives cherry and raspberry fruit, toasted oak and charcoal, a sense of soaked black cherries for extra depth. The palate is compact, comes with lucid fruit and close-fit tannins that are in step with the fruit as it gains depth along its path. Has a clear, licorice-noted finish. This has wire, tension. For now the finish is clipped, more closed than the other wines of 2014, which is as it should be given the schist soils. This will run on well. From 2019. 2031-33  Apr 2015

2013 ()

shiny dark robe. The nose is compact, close-knit, with oaking on top of wavy blueberry or black cherry fruit – it is a bouquet with space, freedom in it. The palate possesses expressive potential and is deeply set. There is a flow of cassis, black berry fruit with pretty constant smoking from its oak. There is a fine berry fruit quality, and there are bonny small drops of juice at the end. This good – clarity in the glass. From 2018 spring, for example – no hurry. 13°. 2,600 b this year, down from 3,000 b. 2031-33  Apr 2015

2012

(casks) dark colour. Sleek oak, sleek black cherry, licorice and a crisp angle in the nose, which has assured depth, so will go on well. The palate moves well, its fruit enjoyable – dark fruits with tar touches from the oak. Black coffee, dark chocolate come through on the exit. Has enough matter for its oak. Its shape is rectangular, but the mid-palate juice is encouraging. Attractive fruit and scenting, sustains well. Represents its place of origin well. From 2016. 13°. 2026-28  Nov 2013

2011 ()

used oak, new oak versions: (5 year 228-litre cask) ****(*) three-quarter depth purple-red colour; there is smoky sizzle in the nose, grilled and glinting red fruit, evokes large raspberries, mulberries; there are smoky, tar notes as well. Oak traces mingle in the palate’s rather firm texture. This has definite guts, attitude, is a pedigree wine. On the outside there is some give, on the inside it is tight, well-collected. The fruit is tasty but reserved, and extends well in its careful manner. There are Burgundian references here. The tannins are polished, the exit fresh and clear, marked by a graphite, toffee tone. This cask is STGT wine, good quality. 18 years. (new 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark violet-purple. Smoky run across the nose, good class red cherry fruit aroma within, floral hints. The palate is well-knit, handles its oak well, lengthens. Very good primary matter here: it is not a big year, but holds well-sealed, promising content. From 2016. 2026-28  Oct 2012

2010

steady red robe; toffee, sweet noted ripeness, oaking on the nose, with prune fruit suggesting a sunshine vintage, red berry liqueur in the air. The palate well criss-crossed with bustling red fruits, plenty of verve, go. It ends on tarry tannins, darkness. There is a Southern leaning here – vintage over place. It holds a neat little mineral presence within. It’s not in an evident phase, but is genuine, finishes solidly – runs well there. The oak is still very much obvious, and that masks it to some extent, reduces the rating. 13°. From 2021. 2038-40 May 2018 Previously Oct 2012 ****** dark robe; smoky, oak influenced nose with a couch of mulled fruits; it is intense, concentrated, and there is some varnish in with the black berries, and some of the opulence of soaked red cherries on the inside. The palate starts with a fenced-in block of dark fruit, offers chocolate, tangy extras, and lengthens on its power. Rather southern in its build, depth – its power pushes it along the palate. Good grip in a complete finish which is really striking, carries lots of flavour, smoke and potential variety in the future, indeed is a triumph. Wholesome and satisfying wine with a lot of freshness and bonny tannins. “its oak will be absorbed in five years; we did a lot of vineyard work; September was fine, and we were rewarded,” Kévin Garon. 13°. €53 at the cellars. 2034-36  Previously Nov 2011 ****** (casks) dark red, complete robe. Oak-smoke, rather muscular aroma that is broad, persistent, has a layer of black cherry within. The ripeness edges towards southern climes such as showing black olives. The palate has northern zone snap on the attack – a crisp clack of black cherry and berry fruit with ripe, fresh consolidation from its tannins. Definite marks for its clarity, and hence drinkability. The finale is juicy in with its oak. There is flamboyant fruit on the finish. Great potential, a Grand Vin whose balance is good, has a very good foundation. From mid-2014, no hurry. Proper good wine. 2033-35 Nov 2011

2009

(casks) full, quite bright black-red robe. Reserved nose, but there is a winkle of classy promise from the black fruit within its oaking, has a certain purity, and can handsome, a seigneur in five years, for instance. The palate is nicely wide, still obviously on its oak, but there is good fruit carry along the palate. It ends on a tar, slight burn from its oak for now. Shows a northern zone crispness (tasted blind). It can be STGT post-oaking, from around 2015. Really good mineral clarity on the finish, and a display of herbs and fine tea on the aftertaste. 2025-27. Release Sept 2011. Nov 2010

2007

(casks) bright, full robe; the rather low-key blackberry aroma comes with a curve of appeal, bearing a latent floral scent and some incipient game - it is ripe and just a little downhome. The palate starts with pretty blackberry fruit that is laced with vanilla in the flavour, and ends spicily. It persists OK, too. This is a low acidity wine, for early drinking. It ends clearly, and only needs to refine its finish. A wine that can drink elegantly, with its fruit persistent. From late 2009. 2015-17. Dec 2008

2006 ()

now called Les Rochins (casks) quite a full, black berry robe. The bouquet shows black berry fruit, crunchy in style, that is close-knit and has potential: comes in the cool air of the northern zone, has a touch of varnish also. The palate is very good. The black fruits are well entrenched, the quality deep-rooted. Moves along well, has some late, comfortable oak and appeal, with that northern tang. This would please Scandinavian palates. Really long-lasting on the palate, the end is properly rich. Promising wine. Esp 2010 on. 2021-23 Nov 2007

2005 ()

called Les Rochains, the last year of that precise name, (casks) dark robe; oak flecked, full bouquet, broad and plenty in it – black fruit, raisin, a little olive and some sous-bois (damp woods) from its ripeness. Nutty, oaked palate that comes in a firm shape – plenty of content here, with the patience that the northern zone wines demand. Is properly structured, a little extracted, and should be left until late 2009. The oak needs to work in, and it is on top of the latent raspberry fruit. 2018-21 Nov 2006

2004

polished, cherry/red fruit bouquet - work in progress, has a deep centre. Fruit flourish on attack, then quietens down. Very young, just a fruit wine now but has inner strength to emerge and can vary. Nicely subtle. Tar/oak finale. Direct, no-nonsense wine with good, crisp fruit and style. Esp 2008 on. 2017-19 April 2006