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The Wines

60-67% Syrah on Varogne (1910, 1950s, 1996), 19-22% 1970 Syrah on 0.1 hectare on Les Murets, 15-18% 2001 Syrah from 0.09 hectare on La Croix, whole bunch fermentation, pumping overs, cap punching, aged used 600-litre oak casks 12 months, unfined, unfiltered, first wine 1984, 2,000-2,400 b

2019

(used 600-litre oak cask) dark red. The nose is discreetly stylish, Southern leaning with black olives, also salt touches, black cherry and raspberry: it’s wide, and there’s plenty to think about. The palate has a silken leaning, definite heart in the engine room, is dense on the second half, grows in concentration. It’s salted late on, with iodine, olives. It’s muscular, holds firm cladding. “It gives the impression that there’s no tannin – it’s very dentelle/toothsome,” François Ribo. 13.7°, a bit less than 2018. From 2022. 2042-44 Nov 2019

2018 ()

(used 600-litre oak cask) shiny, welcoming red robe. Cherry stone, cherry fruits air on the nose, which has notably solid depth, is fuelled, rather southern in its intensity. There’s a note of lees on the palate, red meat: it’s vigorous, the raspberry fruit dense, the tannins thick and munchy, in tow. It has a grounded nature, is complete, very thorough. “It shows some of the sun of 2018,i s close to 14°,” François Ribo. 2041-43 Nov 2018

2017 ()

comfortable, quite dark red colour. The nose takes a tender, floral route, violets, Pez sweets, a wee note of Volatile, a cosy curve of red fruits, cherries, raspberry. It’s nice and calm. The palate has resolute opening on red berry fruit, with some breeze in the tannin, good juice at its centre, fresh flanks. There are peeks of sunshine in its texture of firm, relatively accessible gras richness. The supple texture indicates 2017 sun. This is genuine, has scope. There’s refined red juice on the close. I just prefer 2016. Bottled earlier this month. From 2021-22. 2038-40 Nov 2018

2016

quite a dark red. Bacon, smoke, mulberry and blackberry appear in a bouquet that is softly floral., has rose flower presence. This is varied, stimulating, centres on the spark of granite cut. The palate comes with nerve, gives free flow dark red fruits, mulberry central, with brisk tannins that carry fresh edging. This is real rockster wine, dentelle and smoked, with granite violet notes and a texture of grain. It’s an intricate Hermitage, issues fine red juice. There are late floral notes on the aftertaste. This is high on character, STGT wine. From 2021. 2041-43 Nov 2018

2014

dark red robe. The bouquet has a raw quality, in the vintage vein. It gives a small air of red meat, lardon pork cuttings, flowers and cloves: it is smoky and intricate, and I can imagine the hard granite of La Varogne in that smokiness. This is rocky fissure wine: it has real good concentration of juice and bounding tannins, lights a good fuse. It is very clear, has a sizzling quality that awakens the palate. The flavour centres on red cherry. This would be lovely in magnum, which they do plenty of. “It has a good foundation, and the tannins are very discreet,” François Ribo. 13°. 2,000 b. Bottled Nov 2015. 2030-32  Dec 2015

2010

dark tints in the red; has a prominent black berry air, whose ripeness shines through, and holds something of a warm stones note in its make-up, as well as some flowers. The attack is tasty, inviting – the red fruit is threaded with fine tannin that grips more as it goes along. The shape is upright for now, with the second half tight, grainy. The red fruit still percolates through on the later stages – good. Has character. There is a delicate violet waft on the aftertaste. Well-structured wine. From spring 2014. 13°. 2028-31 March 2012

2009 ()

(cask, sugars finished) refined nose – red cherry aroma, touches of flowers and graphite (the latter from that hard, miserable granite on Varogne, no doubt) – the scent reminds me of Côte-Rôtie, the northern zone there. This is fine wine: the palate offers discreet red fruit and structure, there is a quiet wire of spine through it, gentle length. The finesse of Hermitage comes through here – whack, after the St Jo and Crozes reds. Nice balance – this ticks along well. 16 years. Nov 2009

2003

(cask) pretty, classic dark red/purple robe. Lovely warm fruit aroma - juicy, deep, stylish. Silken wine, refined ripe cherry fruit, touch of final oak when young. Smoky finish. Great elegance. Very good. 2006 on. 2018-21

2002

(cask) decent volume, tight bouquet; firm fruit, will become peppery. Clear texture, red fruit flavour, sound length. Good for the vintage. 11-13 years

2001

oily, sappy red fruit/floral nose, also earthy; fleshy, warm cooked plums, tightens under granite influence at end, dries. Gentle, savoury wine, lightly done. Esp 2005 on. 2011-13

2000 ()

pretty, floral scent; harmonious, light touch wine. Good length of fruit, raspberries aftertaste, nicely upright. Violet, truffle finish. 2013-16.

1999 No Rating

cloudy red robe. Overtly volatile aroma – plum, raisin, baked stones with herbal airs. The palate is thin, shows Volatile Acidity; there are moments of gras richness, but it is a fragile do, even controversial. Its thinness is putting off, it is a droopy wine that does not dispense pleasure. A 1999 Hermitage made with more SO2 would still be thriving today, one has to say. Big Caveat Emptor warning on this, from Le Repaire de Cartouche, 8 blvd des Filles-du-Calvaire if you like the top entrance 75011 Paris. +33147 00 25 86. Oct 2010