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The Wines

75% from rocky, granite soils on Les Grandes Vignes (mid-1970s Syrah), plus 25% from alluvial soils on Rocoules (1935-40 Syrah), 25-28 day vinification, pumping overs, cap punching, aged new 228-litre oak casks 10-11 months, filtered, 8-10,000 b

2018 ()

(casks) dark, inky robe, more black than dark red; the nose is very full, rather closed, on discreet oak, but one can sense the quality of the black berry fruit within. There is a nudge of violet to trim it, to alleviate the intensity. The palate is bold on the attack, very close-knit, powers along the second half with real drive, iron and firm, thrusting tannins on board with obvious, still unchecked oak. This shows its quality on that determined second half: it’s big wine which merits patience, and a well chosen occasion. Its form suggests granite in the soils. 14.5°. 8,000 b. €45. From 2023-24. Decant it. 2048-50 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks) healthy dark red robe; the nose is based on suave, nicely ripe cassis with blackberry fruit, offers a little sweetness from the sunshine of the year. There is restrained oaking. The palate suggests a wine from the centre-east area of the hill, is supple, smooth in texture, gently succulent, holds a neat line of black fruits with squeezy, bendy tannins alongside. There is an oak theme throughout. This is restrained, pretty serene Hermitage, not a whizzo offering, but a steady one. From spring 2021. 2039-41 Dec 2018

2016

(casks) dark robe, full to the top. The bouquet is pretty dense, topped by prominent oak which spreads widely. There is a sense of crushed red berries, mulberries, within. The palate is a copious, immediate affair, has a gush of smoke-oak hence tangy cassis and blueberry fruits, picks up spice towards the silky finish, where there are cool, menthol notes. The oak is right on top for now, but there is richness within, and it has a sleek nature from its rolling gras. 13°. From 2021. 2034-36 Nov 2017

2015

(casks) shiny, deep robe. The nose is inky, gives southern style ripeness of fruit, a dense concentration of black berries with a hum of musky flowers, violets, irises. The palate is supremely elegant on the attack, a cosseted and suave feel delivered, the savoury content beautifully wrapped by clear, pinpoint grain tannins. This is most handsome, a real beauty. The finish is complete, the length extended. This will knock people out – it has southern depth, heart with major finesse attached – “only in Hermitage” – no wonder the Bordelais couldn’t wait to get their hands on this in the nineteenth century. It’s very close to six stars. From 2020. 2039-42 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(casks) full, dark robe. The bouquet has strength, is oaked, also delivers a Hermitage elegance: the black fruit aroma is graceful, prolongs well, has a soft floral hum, a dab of licorice. The palate offers crisp, oak-inflected fruit; the theme of freshness continues through to the end. The content tapers a tiny bit, as per the vintage, and the finish is dry from its oak. Modern, polished wine. 13°. 8,000 b. €38. From 2018 for more oak integration. 2030-32  Oct 2015 

2013

dark robe. Has a meaty, dark berry aroma, a light note of grilling, and a floral, violet tone to it: there is sound depth on the nose. The palate is broad and well-filled, carries juicy, fleshy, free-wheeling fruit. Good, fine acidity helps it to be stylish. This is enjoyable, near to w.o.w. – very drinkable. It gives a touch of late tar-tannin for now. From mid-2016 – tap into its open offer fruit and content. Bottled already, 8,000 b this year. 13°. €25 ex-cellars. 2026-28  Jan 2015

2012

dark red robe that is properly full, legs in view. This has a broad, filled, enticing and satisfying bouquet, which gives layered airs of simmered fruits, has mystery thanks to its depth. The palate fruit is sleek, runs continuously, develops tannins that stick closely to it. This combines polish with power, ends with energy in its berried fruit. The finish is broad and long. The aftertaste reflects oaking. There is a lot of unfinished business here, it needs time: from 2017. 13°. 2033-35 Dec 2014 Previously Nov 2013 *** (casks) dark colour; oak-toast airs hover above a pistachio nut, light blackberry centre to a very young bouquet. The palate offers fine black fruits that are becoming open and rather tasty already. The oaking stands outside, more so than the best wines. It lengthens OK, but again, the oak is obvious on the finish. It doesn’t have great stuffing, is escapist. From late 2015. 2029-32  Nov 2013

2011

(casks) dark robe. The nose is rich and free enough to handle some charry oaking, comes with a spirity, black berry fruit as well as licorice, prune and tobacco. It is pretty deep, even if not quite on the scale of 2010. The palate holds good and thorough fruit that moves well along; the second half is mobile more than deep. It needs leaving for three years, and will be a singing Hermitage, bright, quite serious and entertaining. The length is sound, not extreme, and the wine is in tune with the vintage, and not forced to be unnaturally deep. From 2015. 2029-32 Nov 2012

2010 ()

(casks) very deep robe, full and shiny. The bouquet is led by juicy black berry fruit, with a mild oak snap in behind, has an established depth. The palate is baked, cooked up, veers towards extraction, shows some spice and black pepper; there is plenty of action, a lot here – it is well-juiced, ripe and mobile – this is polished Hermitage with the oak contributing a crisp note. It has the flex of 2010, thanks to exuberant fruit and ripe tannins that will contribute to its structure, freshness and longevity. From mid-2014. 2031-33 Nov 2011

2009 ()

(casks) dark and shiny robe – promising. Has a near overripe black fruit aspect on the nose, is rather sultry and sunned-out, there is a spot of baking in the air – overall, it is a pretty deep bouquet. The palate has a close-knit constitution, a definite engine room of matter. There is a brisk grain in its fruit, and oak sides come along towards the finish. It is a touch wild, but I like the fresh notes near the end, and it holds good potential, and can get together. The juicy, licorice aftertaste also bodes well. Has crisp tannins. The oak can settle in. The best Émilie for some time, probably since 1999. 2029-32 Nov 2010

2008

(casks, final assemblage, to be bottled in one month) sober black cherry, plum robe; very charry, immediate oak impact on the nose, shows cassis, has a smoky, bacon fat interior. Rather brittle black fruit on the palate, comes with edgy acidity. Not as clear as it could be, has possibilities of gaining some ground, but is light. There is the sense of chaptalisation in it via a false sweetness on the second half of the palate. From mid-2011. 2019-21 Dec 2009

2007 ()

(the final assemblage) very dark robe; has a suave fruit interior to the bouquet which is wide and fill-up, manages leather, oak and wax polish as well. The palate has a peppery debut, the pepper infused inside the black fruit; asserts, then tapers and quietens down. The length is OK, thanks to its oak. A bit dry at the end now, this will drink with some elegance and assurance around 2012-13. 2022-24 Dec 2008 Previously Jan 2008 **(*) (new 228-litre cask) profound, dark cherry colour; the nose has quite a ripe interior, and bears raisin with a little earthiness. Is stylish on the palate, a three-quarter weight wine of some potential. Not very full, but has appeal in the making. The oak and matter of the grapes are well joined. 15-18 year wine. Jan 2008

2006

very dark robe; black berry fruit of some intensity in a well-founded bouquet, that also has earthy and oak surrounds. The palate contains well-set black fruit, with the usual oak invasion before half way. There is early gras in this. Is a bit of a cellar monster now. Return in 2012, for instance. 2023-25 Jan 2008

2004 ()

dark, pitch colour. Tight-knit black berries, mixed with leather and pepper on bouquet - upright and ungiving for now. Plenty of content and potential. Clean, spotless black fruit flavour, passes along in a straight line - needs more time to show diversity. Oak is without excess until the finish. Middle of the hill style core, with some richness. Can make up into beau vin around mid-2008. Amiable texture. Micro oxygen likely here. 2019-22 April 2006

2003 ()

(cask) very dark; chocolate, prune, full black fruit aroma. Big wine with oak presence on finish. Tightly packed. Rather desiccated, more flesh please. Is it oxidative? Oak needs three years. 2007 on. 2019-21

2002 ()

(casks) ripe fruit aroma. Overt oak, searing on the palate, though ripe crop taste present, too. Medium weight. 2012-14

2001

tight, black berry nose, some fungal aromas. Black fruits, tar on attack. In the house style, has a tight structure. Good juice on the end, has pep, is alive. Quite upright, will age. 2022-24

2000 ()

pretty, sappy blackberry jam aroma. Fairly open blackberry flavour, has elegant tannic edging. Mineral/pepper residue. Live wine, fresh. Some tannins on the go here. 2006 on. 2019-21

1999

pretty robe; very smoky, lingering wild black fruit aroma. Berries and plums on attack, raspberries at end. Combines fullness and good acidity. Long and persistent. Tar and licorice, the Grandes Vignes plays a strong role. By Nov 2002 has lost the oak traces on the finish. 2023-25

1998

bouquet quite stern but underscored with warm, ripe fruit. Plenty of substance, mixes very good style and refinement with a cosy punch. Good final burst of southern warmth. From 2005-06. 2019-22

1997

big extract black colour; very saturated, opulent, overripe crop nose, which with air balloons and becomes stinky. Soaking palate, hard to tell its origin, is full-on, has no hidden corners. I need water/air between sips. 2012-15