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The Wines

1930s Syrah from granite soils on Saint-Epine hill at St Jean-de-Muzols, destemmed, 3 week steel vat vinification, cap punching, pumping overs, aged 40% new, 60% 1-2 year 228-litre oak casks 16 months, then vat raised 1-2 months, unfined, 3,500-6,000 b

2018

(cask) full robe, inky depth. The bouquet gives the cool blue fruit of a firm granite provenance, has that sense of spark, and the murmur of violet flowers. There is some oak alongside, which contributes a note of sweetness. The palate is very well defined, bears stylish black-fruited content, crisp tannins, with the oak also clear. This is a Seigneur of a St Jo, very upright, classy and gentlemanly. It has great length. Once the oak is absorbed, it will show genuine STGT qualities, much iron and good nerve. 14.5°. 6,000 b. €42. From 2023-24. Decant it. 2042-44 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks) very full, dark robe. The bouquet is scaled up, built around chocolate-oak, with a dense rump of compact black fruit jam, the south denoted via black olives. The palate is also large, rather static, bears intense black fruits with real surge in their thick delivery, before an imposing, oaked finish. This is far from being a natural country wine, is a Big Production, which should be left until 2023 or so.  The longer the wait, the more it will be less fruit bomb, and more local, and move up to ****. I note the degree – 14.5°. 2035-37 Dec 2018

2016 ()

(cask) shiny dark robe, black centre. The nose leads on a sweet cherry aroma, has an oiliness and streamlined ripeness in its display, shows a little oak. The palate runs with wholesome black-fruited content, really travels freely, is entertaining. The fruit surges well into the plump finish, which also brings in a nudge of oak, a touch of crisp tannin and a marked mineral lining. There’s plenty going on here: it’s a bright and authentic St Jo that may take a pause and close down around 2019. It’s Gonon-esque, a big compliment. From 2020. 2029-30 Nov 2017

2015 ()

(cask) dark red robe. The bouquet has an oaked, earthy, beef stock foundation. There is a firm air of prune fruit within, one that indicates the strength of the summer sun. The palate is closely-knit, and also releases only a cautious, thick juice. The image of very ripe, thick-skinned grapes with limited amounts of juice when pressed is given here. As such, it’s a wine with a southern climate take. Its dense fruit comes through still before the finish. Time will swerve to gradually prise it open. 14.5°. 6,000 b. From 2020. 2031-34 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(cask) very dark robe. The bouquet is intense, packed with a prune, blackberry jam aroma, hints of licorice and tar alongside. This suggests some scale, which is what comes along on the palate: it delivers a steady mass of black berry flavour with well built-in tannins adding life, spark late on. Oak comes through on the aftertaste, plus a little glow. This is a serious depth, very long 2014 St Jo. €37 at the cellars. From 2018. 2025-27 GB £148/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015 

2013

(cask) dark red. Has a studious sort of nose, one with promise: there is a mineral, juniper, floral sense in it, perhaps the granite at heart, but it is reserved for now. It shows a bonny mulled red fruits side within. The palate is tight, en finesse. The fruit is elegant, the tannins precise, come with a fine grain. Displays enjoyable notes of violet as it finishes. A stylish, calm, understated wine. Decant to coax it out.  From 2017. 2023-25 €35 in France. GB £170/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015

2012 ()

(cask) dark colour. Liqueur, mulled black fruits  aroma set with vanilla tints in the bouquet, which gives a granite dance. An underplay of flowers, and licorice also feature. The palate is collected together: the texture is grainy, and the fruit lies under that cloak for now. It is a modern, clear take on Saint-Joseph, the cellar on top of the vineyard for now. The finish is notably oaked. The nose shows promise; the palate needs to follow that. Allow until mid-late 2015 to fuse further. 2023-25 Nov 2013

2011 ()

(cask, bottling March 2013) oily, dark red, purple and black in it. The bouquet is discreetly fragrant – offers innuendo more than obvious aromas – and for now reflects black berry, smoky mulberry, mixing ripeness and grain well, the ripeness extending into date fruit. The palate is an accomplished ball of polished, lissom black fruit, has a tender violet note in it and a good, light tread on the second half. All very accurate – no loose ends. Burgundian style, with great finesse of tannins, really tasty ones. It shows oak on the finish now. A wine of great style, riper than Saint-Épines of yore. Decant this. From 2016. 13.4°. 2025-27  Nov 2012

2010

full, rather dark robe with a rich gleam. The nose is hardly showing – it is deep, has a full potential, an oily, soaked red plum fruit heart. There are smoke and spice nuances, and a hint of reduction. The palate connects well to the nose: it is also fat and round, has full gras richness. The tannins are round, sleek, silky. It closes on a raspberry, smoked granite tang, coupled with darker, blueberry fruit and aok. A complete bundle which has good, smoky terroir in it, is STGT, has pockets of mystery. Decant this. 13.5°. From 2016 – Ste-Épine always needs time. 2025-27  Nov 2012  Previously June 2011 ***** (casks) healthy dark robe; ripe fruit in a reductive, thorough bouquet that has a glistening ripeness, is attractive, reflects drifting airs of flowers, is very polished. The palate is very contained, a hermetic wine. The texture is serene, gains STGT tannin at the end, shows graininess there. Very STGT, both on nose and palate, a wine that reflects vintage and terroir. Excellent truth here. From 2015. “It is very typical of 2010 – it has flesh ans finesse at the same time,” Jacques Grange. 2025-27 June 2011

2009 ()

good and full dark red. This has a rich, hors serie or uncommon Saint-Épine nose – there are pine, menthol in the fruit wall, bacon. It is almost Cornasien, is atypical. The palate is similar to the nose – rich and thorough, still a child, is not exuberant, but the richness keeps going, and it is complex on the finish, where there is the magic word “mystery”, and notes of grain, smoke, licorice. 14°, high this year. From 2013. 2023-25. “It is hot, structured,” Jacques Grange. June 2011 Previously Nov 2010 **** (casks) pretty full red; ripe fruit, black berry aromas that has a high point to it, brings in bacon, lardon airs. There is a point of black berry fruit on the palate – so it spears out via a direct thrust, a nicely loose debut. The black fruit is intense. Picks up tannins and intensity as it goes, ending on oak, cocoa, dusty tannins, a tight-knit sign-off. It needs to envelop the finish into the mainstream of the wine. From 2013. When I see what it is (tasted blind) it is faithful to its place – the Saint-Épine dustiness. 2022-24 Nov 2010

2008 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2007

very full robe, with a black heart, a purple top. Elegant, full of promise nose – this has real good layering of black fruit, and good top clarity – a true sense of granite in that smoky rock trail. The palate also offers very elegant black fruit – supremely fine – and a smooth delivery that gathers in oak. The fruit has great juice and pure qualities – it is noble. A fine wine in the literal sense with a calm peacock tail of widening as it travels. It ends on accomplished fruit and appealing roundness, so its tannins are very inset. From 2011 – but already striking. 13.5°. 2022-24 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **** dark robe, steady black tone. Smoky, snappy black fruit aroma – is fine, and low-key for now. There is accomplished grain in the black fruit – an elegant do. This has good juice at its heart, but the outer is still primary. Thus holds pebbly tannins that are live and at quite a brisk stage. The length is good. From 2012. 2019-21 Dec 2008

2006

the robe is a dark plum. The nose carries some ripe fruit, with a biscuity side from the oak; there is a broad, sweet touch to this, offering simmered, very ripe red berries. The palate sets off with more open, rounded fruit than usual. This fruit carries on well, with a certain oiliness in the texture. Has correct length. The fruit is comfortably established. The wine becomes more agile towards the finish, where it wakes up and parades a briefly licorice, more mineral crisp moment. From 2010-11. 2023-24 Jan 2008

2005

dark, black plum robe that is a little sombre. The nose mixes reserved black fruit with a snappy air, as if there is pistachio here, from its oaking and a raspberry purée or coulis. The palate – wow! Half way along it, and ZAP – the granite fruit comes out and springs at you, a real delight. Settle down: there are black berries at the start amidst a stylish entrée. The wine is always moving – has a flow that is commendable. Très beau, a wine for the true lovers of Syrah. Its tannins are well within, and have a fine fibre. One of those more subtle wines that it`s well worth waiting for, a wine to provoke discussion among groups of friends. From 2010, but can be tenderly tried now, even if it doesn`t get close to its potential variety. 12.5°. 2024-26 Jan 2008 Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) very dark colour; oak holds sway on the nose with a floating refinement, a classical black fruits aroma from here with some tension. Stylish palate, with a moderated richness inside it, clam and elegant. Plenty of matter, and great harmony in this. Richer than the 2001 that I liked a lot. From 2011, no hurry. 2020-23 Dec 2006 “It was more open in September 2006 – it exploded with fruit then,” Jacques Grange Previously Nov 2006 ***(*) quite dark, matt robe. Bouquet is a little reduced – brewed, some coffee and black jam. There is a meaty and earthy nature from its reduction. Palate gains a mineral, leathery nature as it goes. The first fruit is blackberry. Good poise in the wine – the tannins need leaving for 3 years, but are woven into it. Good, clear finale, with its usual sinew and marked mineral content when young. From 2010, is never a wine to tuck into young. 2018-19 Nov 2006

2004 ()

plum robe with some brightness in it. Mulled red berry aroma at first, with a tarry, smoky top. There is a thread of granite, lead pencil, menthol in the fruit, and with air wisps of oak becomes clouds of oak. This is a wine with a direct thrust on the palate, but like the nose, there is a wired coolness about it. The red fruit is reserved and only near the finish is there a round moment, prior to a clear-cut finish. The nerve in the wine is on top, and the oaking grows on the aftertaste after 30 minutes. Stern-featured - the question is, can it come round? It is still demanding at this stage. Try from late summer 2009. 2017-19 Sept 2007

2003

(cask) dark robe; olive/toffee, southern style bouquet. Well-knit elements on palate - some herbal, nuanced black fruit. Tannins ripe and integrated. Length good, has structure and balance. 2007-08 on. 2019-21

2002 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2001 ()

The nose is tight at first, then sweetens as it airs. Low-key red berry jam in a broad, smoky setting, shows dome herbs, too. The attack is upright, says “wait and see”. The flavour resembles peppery red berries. This has a fragility, an unformed side in its texture, the fruit fine. It will be more cohesive from 2007. The lack of central fat is a problem, and it is very much a wine lover’s wine, probably a Burgundy lover’s wine in fact. It is pesky, and will it gain depth or dry as it ages is the question? 2014-16  Nov 2005, San Francisco Previously Nov 2004 **** mineral/smoky nose, brooding black fruit; quite gras, tannins well inside, then black fruit again. Stylish. 2007 on. 2015-17 Nov 2004

2000 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

1999

dark; oily, black fruit bouquet; full, intense black flavour. A lot of extract/tannins, so leave till 2005 to absorb. Serious wine. Deserves good food. 2017-20

1998

quiet warmth, full elegance on nose; elegant, smooth compact red berry fruit. Lissom, lasting tannins. Stylish, balmy wine, good integration. 2015-16

1997

woodsy, dried fruit tones, varied nose with potential. Squelchy fruit texture, then dries. Good grip. From 2003. 2011-13