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The Wines

mostly from Les Bessards, also Les Grandes Vignes and L`Hermite, mid-1960s Syrah, destemmed, cold maceration then 20 day vinification, cap punching, pumping overs, aged 30-60% new, 40-70% 1-2 year 228-litre oak casks 16-18 months (before early 2010s only 15% new oak, ageing of 18-20 months), filtered, until 2009 called Marquise de la Tourette, 26-37,000 b

2018 ()

(casks) full, dark red robe; the nose is sleekly rich, parades attractive black cherry fruits, with a trim point of sweetness, a good curve to it that will please. There are touches of licorice and oak. The palate is most elegant on the attack, presents a well furnished gourmandise, picking up a little spine of menthol, coolness, along the second half. There is the semblance of power within, but the luxury coating largely veils that, while the juice is pure. This has a plump beauty. Serve in a large glass, allow time to breathe. 14°. 26,660 b. €53. From mid-2022. 2043-45 Nov 2019  GB £292/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017 ()

(casks) full red colour; the bouquet is playing a waiting game, carries potential – there is a concerted aroma of plum, damson jam, a note of blackberry behind. It’s not yet varied. The palate reflects the middle-east side of the hill, carries a safe lining of black fruit jam, ripe tannins pretty closely attached, a near note of the south. There is energy within, so it can be a very sound glass of Hermitage in time. From 2021. 2038-40 Dec 2018

2016 ()

(casks) sturdy dark red robe. The bouquet has a genuine Hermitage intensity, notes of entrails, soaked fruits with a whizz of sleek oak across the top. The palate delivers crunchy, close-knit content, has granite iron in its veins, a good minerality that peps it up well. There is plenty going on here: it’s true Hermitage with darkness from the west end, and good solid richness combined with dark red fruits at its heart. There is an appealing hover of musky flowers as it finishes, a dainty touch above the meaty content. 13.5°. From mid-2020. 2033-36 Nov 2017

2015

(casks) shiny, deep red robe. The nose has a grilled aroma, with prune, blackcurrant present, a brambly fruit depth. It’s sturdy, inky, and the oak is a little coarse. The palate is also robust, with a concerted presence of spiced black fruits, some thick tannins in behind. This is a rugged Hermitage with a dark outlook. It issues only limited amounts of juice for now. Allow until 2020. It will open over time to be quite handsome, without a high charm rating. 13.5°. 37,000 b. 2033-37 Oct 2016

2014

(casks) very dark robe. The front aroma is overtly grilled, has a roast pork, scaled attitude. The oak shines out, some live black berry fruit behind. This attacks with gusto, gives a surge of black fruit with crisply inlaid tannins. The finish is full of life. This will entertain and perhaps impress thanks to its free wheeling matter and live fruit. The oak is full on for now. €46. From 2019. 2029-31 GB £190/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com  Oct 2015

2013

(casks) very dark. Pepper, stems, crunchy airs, pine needle and oak varnish mingle on the nose; a note of mild liqueur berry fruit lies within. The palate is fleshy, mobile on the attack: it picks up racy tannins, ends with a sound mix of gras richness and freshness. Nicely weighted wine, not exaggerated. The fruit has a cool quality. It has a tight second half, mineral and oak led. Good, unpretentious Hermitage. From 2018. 2032-34 GB £220/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015

2012 ()

dark red, sound robe. Oily, varied, aromatic nose, exults the south, with a meaty, grounded nature. The palate is expressive, bears wavy red fruits with a bonny note of tannin delivered in a timely way. A good, genuine Hermitage. It serves proper good local expression, is a wine with one eye on the Mediterranean, the other bearing a northerly, crisp fragrance. It is more from the elegant rather than powerful school. There is a Pinot Noir connection in its finesse. 13.5°. 2025-27 Apr 2015 Previously Dec 2014 *** dark red, not the most bright of robes. A black berry aroma with a note of varnish comes along – there is an oily side to the bouquet, which shows a little meatiness. It is a nose of restraint more than strength. The palate conducts itself with elegance, has its own subtle persistence. This is a thinker’s wine, needs concentration and study rather than knocking back, to unearth what it is all about. I am not wholly convinced by its acidity and ripeness. 13.5°. Allow till 2018. 2027-29  Dec 2014 Previously Nov 2013 ***(*) (casks) shiny, quite dark robe. The nose is open, gives already graceful black cherry fruit with a low-profile fragrance – this is very 2012, is pristine. The palate exercises easy charm via a neat display of wavy, refined fruit with fine tannins in its second tier or level. Clean, nicely made, undemanding Hermitage for drinking say from late 2015. It could possess more matter to truly engage one towards the finish. An airborne style in this Safe Player, low risk wine. 2026-27  Nov 2013

2011

(casks, bottling April 2013) shiny dark red; licorice aroma, wee notes of game, smoky beef stock with cassis fruit at its centre; it has a Hermitage “grunt”. There is a ripe note in the fruit. The palate exists on a tight oaking, its matter comfortably rich, a little aromatic, not extravagant. The texture is easy. Dark berry fruit that is sleekly purposeful runs through it. It finishes with a menthol freshness. This can get up and go quite young. A fine Hermitage, not a Big Beast. From mid-2015. 2024-27  Nov 2012

2010

a strong 5 star wine: dark, full robe. Oily, nicely deep, really profound nose that is full to the brim, but is careful in its youth now. There are airs of berry or sleek black cherry fruit, meat stock, roasting, and the bouquet is all ensemble. The palate comes closely connected to the nose – it gives an oily flow of fruit, ripe matter, and extremely smooth tannins lie inside it. Has excellent balance, tastes of black berry, loganberry, smoky vanilla, cinnamon, licorice. A crime to drink this before 2018. It has great acidity, a real tremble of acidity. It shows grounded Hermitage qualities on the palate. Decant this. 13.5°. 2036-38.  Nov 2012  Previously June 2011 ***** (casks) bright, complete dark red colour with black at its centre. Reduction for now on the nose, in behind comes smoky-light oak, earthiness, cocoa, ripe dark fruit – the bouquet is not yet comfortably definable, also bears light meat notes and tar. The palate offers a sweet fullness, with shape to it that helps its definition thanks to a light seasoning of freshness. It proceeds carefully and clearly – good. Has nerve and a calm future ahead, its acidity does well (the post-malo pH was 3.6 versus the Landonne 2010`s 3.8). It exudes quiet class, and Northern Europe would love this. There are tasty moments even now in mid-palate. From 2015. 2030-33. “It is quite marked by Les Grandes Vignes [the breezy, westerly, strongly granite plot], so there is a lot of minerality in it,” Jacques Grange. June 2011

2009

bottled 10 days ago: dark robe, off we go, promising start. Black fruit and black olives aroma in waves, the fruit ripe, and it all wrapped up in a circle, a rich ball of bouquet waiting to unleash. Imagine this around 2018 – wow! Rich, inscrutable, locked up palate. The texture is rich to oily, the fruit subdued from its bottling. The nose reflects sun, ripeness, bounty, the palate is also bountiful, rich and continuous. Sunny and juicy, persistent wine – what the Bordelais sought from Hermitage in the nineteenth century is understood. It is not far off 1999 in style and richness. “It is a bit more complex and less hot than 1999,” Jacques Grange. 13.5°. 2029-32 July 2011 Previously Nov 2010 **** (casks) dark, bright robe. Suave black fruit aroma, very polished, and for now wrapped in oak-licorice airs. It persists with a steady drumbeat, a confident depth – the oak is a bit green and smoky. The palate is also a polished, well-swept, modern affair – its oak is prominent, the fruit clean-cut, resembles black berries. It runs directly – there is no excess fat on this. It ends on clear black cherry, charcoal-oak influences. Drink from 2014 to allow a gradual gain in richness and less oak. The length is pretty good. 2026-28 Nov 2010

2008

mottled red; this has a typical 2008 pepper burst on the first nose, pine and oily backing to it; it shows prune with black raisin and spice such as clove. This is a sinewed wine that is on the move, often on a bend rather  than on a straight line. Autumn drinking with game ideal for this; richness on the second half is present, even if limited in expression. It finishes with a light scenting combining cinnamon, clove, but is a shade abrupt. It is making its way, is OK now, and has got together after its raising. A low profile vintage. 13.5°. 2022-24  Nov 2012 Previously Nov 2009 *(*) (casks, contains all Les Bessards crop this year) quite a full red robe; meaty nose – rolled up, compact, mild coffee air. The palate has a nutty, biscuity oak debut; it is fairly rich, but that is fleeting in front of the advance of the oak. This lacks real, established weight. A vintage-affected wine. 13°. 2018-20. “There is a race (breeding) and a style in Hermitage, and if the crop is not correctly ripe, you can be fine. But if taking crop from the granite, your ripening suffers in lesser years – then the ripening on Le Méal and even Les Murets is always superior,” Jacques Grange. Nov 2009

2007 ()

largely dark red; careful nose – implies red jam fruit such as raspberry, a modern style confection that has an oak trail behind it. The palate has a sweet, rather rounded style – it isn't especially complex, is at a primary stage now, its fruit quite simple. Waiting fro more mineral and variety to come through. This is a supple version of Hermitage. Fair persistence. From 2012. 2021-23 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **** (casks) dark, largely full robe. There is an air of charcoal sprinkled with pepper on the front aroma, mild black fruit behind. The palate is also mildly fruited – supple and fleshy as it travels. It ends on a firm, resolved note. The fruit is mulberry, plum, with vanilla in it from the oak – a late snap of tannin and oak. It is finding its way, served up without pretension. I back it to open its arms and embrace. Olives and laurel on the aftertaste are pretty. From mid-2011. 2020-22 Dec 2008

2006 No Rating

dark, well-filled robe of good promise. The nose shows brine, cooked black fruits, is musty, sweaty saddle like, scorched with Brett notes. The palate is immediately dry. Discordant, curly, not 100%. 13.5°. Nov 2012  Previously Jan 2008 **** (cask) robe is pretty full and dark; there is a good, meaty tone to the bouquet – shows some oak, and underplayed black berries. The palate carries red stone fruits, with good core to them: there is a nice bout of richness and some sweet fruit late on. Is very authentic to its place. Has good length. The fruit is wholesome. STGT wine in nature. A very sound vintage here. From 2011. 2024-26 Jan 2008

2005 ()

black plum robe with a dark core. The bouquet black fruit has a little crunchy nature from its oak and full-blooded red fruits such as raspberry and some meatiness: this is generous, with herbs of the south such as laurel and sage, also charcoal present. The palate starts with black fruits that have oak set right through them, and the oak is actually separate from the mass now, something of an island. It ends on a reserved note, the fruit bending the knee to the oak. So leave this until 2012 or so: it is international just now on the palate, but there is plenty of matter to work with as it ages. Wide and good energy late in the day here. 13°. 2029-32 Jan 2008 Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) (casks) very dark; tight-knit, smoky nose showing black fruit stone fruits, with grilled aromas, oak across it. Some southern toned richness here, a sort of Grenache warmth at the end (sample taken from cask yesterday). Has a rich, well-established core of back fruits and tannins that are pretty ripe. Some clarity on the finish. From 2010-11. 2027-29 Dec 2006

2004

interesting potential variety in the bouquet, expresses violets, raspberry-black berries, hints of leather, some earthy tones, I like this. Plenty of fruit - black stone fruit, prune and mulled raspberry. Finish is rather rich, has a good, fragrant aftertaste. A wine with style, more rounded around 2009 but good now. Has a leathery interior but the fruit continues. 2021-23 Dec 2006 Previously (pre-bottling, final assemblage) April 2006 ***(*) bright, quite full red. Earthy, bit reduced aroma, but holds latent, but broad promise behind the caramel topping of its ageing process. Plenty of fruit on palate, within a generally rich texture and wrapping. The elegant, stylish form of Hermitage. Fresh towards finish, with a low-key tar influence. The tannins support it nicely, are well melded. Mid-plus weight, upright shape. Esp 2009 on. 2020-23

2003

(cask) very dark; sizeable, tight-knit bouquet, ripe fruit with meaty side. Big scale palate - chocolate, crushed black berries. Ripe wine, with tannins present but integrated. Solid, very compact texture. More character, diversity 2008 on. 2020-24

2002

brewed fruit - older, middle age style, light licorice, Subdued from bottling. Quiet black fruit on palate, widens near finish, fair juice. Length OK, some oak at end. Contains Bessards´ best fruit. Can truck on, esp 2007-08 on. 2016-19

2001

yielding red robe, still has a plum centre, the top is matt. Rose-hip front airs, an expressive and tender nose, with licorice-floral, fine red berry aromas that are very delicate. This bouquet is classy, also has a certain yeastiness, earthiness in it. The palate works up a robust nature, and continues to a good and lasting finish. This is going to live gently, has got near to its summit. Very solid quality. I find some earthiness again on the palate. “It is delicate, on finesse – it was always like that. It could be at its apogee, but as it has always been delicate, it`s hard to be sure about that. Its tannin has been digested,” Jacques Grange, 13°. 2020-21 June 2011 Previously **** nose has volume - spiced, cooked black fruits; good potential, tight-knit black fruits/olives, tannins collect at end, laurel aftertaste. Traditional, typical. From 2009. 2017-20

2000 ()

quite prominent bouquet, black fruits, some tar, pepper. Tasty fruit, friendly warmth, nice tannins, not demanding. Black olives end. Agreeable, pretty full wine. 2012-16

1999 ()

pretty robe; spiced bouquet, some warmth, has complex tones - leather, dark fruit, polish. Tasty attack - great fat, has a lot of stone fruit, plums/prunes, also tobacco, cinnamon - great variety. Really authentic. I could imagine people drinking this, the perfumed wine of literature, out of a goblet two or three hundred years ago. Dryish end. 2017-23

1998

quite open, smoky red fruits aroma, plus a ripe side - promising bouquet. Good upright, firm start, nice depth and a real crunchy black flavour runs through it. Fruit and leathery, wood tones. Feet on the ground wine, thorough. Genuine tannins, lot of promise. Especially 2006 on. 2011-16

1997

typical bouquet, combines mint, woods, blackberry and hedge fruit. Black fruits, juicy extract. Quite ripe tannins circulate. Decent grip, can go on. 2011-15

1996

bouquet turning to animal, game aromas; fair depth, quite well sustained. Touch dry, curls up at the end. 2005-09

1995

quite heavy blackstrap, tar bouquet, more varied by 2003. Palate full, enveloping, powerful at finish. Prickly black fruit/spice, some dry tannin. Game, clearer fruit with air. A bit paysan. To 2009-12. March 2000, Stockholm