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The Wines

Syrah 80% from Les Plantiers (1970, flat land, 77%), 20% from Les Bessards (late 1980s, 15%), Les Greffieux (late 1980s, 8%), destemmed, 2 week vinification, cap punched, aged 1-6 year 225 & 228-litre oak casks 16-20 months, unfined, unfiltered, 2-3 bottlings, 3,500 b

2018

(used 228-litre cask) bright, dark robe. Has a sweetly tuned nose, great purity of fruit, raspberry liqueur tones, black cherry, pork scratchings. The palate bears a flavour of black olives, plump content with rolling continuity, a glamorous affair here. It keeps moving with fresh pockets, the fruit very appealing, tasty, sweet-toned. This is like Right Bank Bordeaux in a sunny year, is fat, plump. 14°. 12 casks, a usual crop, this year. From 2022-23. 2042-44 Nov 2018

2017 ()

(used 228-litre cask, only 5 instead of usual 12 casks this year, 15 hl/ha due to cold weather at budbreak on the low slopes) dark red, black tints. Black cherry with Pez sweets, violet, scented airs give a sweet charm on the nose, which strikes a good bendy posture. The palate serves gutsy fruit on roller skates, has verve, and extends with brio, black cherries and soaked cherries (griottes), tasty tannins. This is gourmand Hermitage, long, as well. It’s a wee bit flashy, but is appealing. The aftertaste is peppery, vegetal, shows licorice. It bustles with energy, has a southern leaning, and the fruit lasts well. The Pleasure Crew will adore this. “It’s a petit Gréal this year, and is truly atypical of what I do. do. The tannins are so ripe, you don’t notice them, almost like Grenache. Only 5 casks – in 2003, I made 7 casks, and it’s never been this low, with the exception of 2016,” Marc Sorrel. 14.5°. From 2022. 2039-42 Nov 2018

2016

(8 year 228-litre cask, racked yesterday) dark robe. There is intensity, thickness on the nose, blackberry fruits piled deeply, mulberry also, licorice – it has a sweet tenor. The palate is broad, rich and fluid, based on red fruits, again sweetness present, lozenge time. The tannins are squeezy, dense, give a couch to the second half. The fruit has some brightness that helps it along. This has a thorough, fat style, is concentrated from its low yield. It’s like 2014 but more structured, rich. There’s late fresh lining and tannin rockiness. It isn’t as full all through as it seems on the surface – its “plenitude” or fullness is from low yields more than a solar vintage, so it isn’t completely thorough in effect. 50% destemmed. From 2021-22. 2034-36 Nov 2017

2015 ()

(cask) brilliant robe, a red and purple that are full of life and vigour. The nose is well geared up, coated, abundant, has airs of blackberry, brambly fruit, an elegant theme within its coulis style depth. The palate has a blackberry, crisp, tingling debut, develops sustained more red, mulberry fruit and close-fit tannins, with a fine grain content. There is a good, loose charge of fruit, toothsome and dentelle it is. It ends on the up, is well structured. There’s a lot here, and the balance is very good. From 2020. 2035-37 Apr 2016 Previously Dec 2015 ****(*) (228-litre oak cask, sugars and malo completed) very dark robe. Has a sleek black cherry aroma, with crisp airs from the inclusion of the stems. “This was only half destemmed this year since the stems were very, very ripe,” Marc Sorrel. Licorice and crunchiness also show up. This attacks brightly with a grand build-up of depth, good reach. It will make exemplary progress. The fruit quality is high, the wine is clear and balanced, and the aftertaste is so tinkling that it immediately invites a second glass. Its tannins slot in closely, and the link between nose and palate is a close one. “The tannins are very smooth,” Marc Sorrel. From 2019. 2035-37  Dec 2015

2014 ()

(cask) clear red robe. The nose gives a bright air of red cherry fruit, cassis, is supple. The attack runs with crisp fruit, red fruits coming with a light tread, a little sun richness. The finale is clear. Blackberry fruit shows on the close, with tidy, clear tannins. Unhurried, sympa wine. 2027-29 Apr 2016 Previously Dec 2015 **** (used 225-litre oak cask, bottling June 2016) healthy red robe. Blackberry fruit comes forward in an active bouquet, gives hints of raspberry, and the style resembles a coulis or simmered berries. This is a good, live start. The palate runs directly with crisp mulberry fruit that leads into a blueberry finale. This is a fresh vintage wine, with good thrust. There are licorice, mocha moments. I like its naked style – it gets on with it, has appealing clarity, and good quality fruit. From 2018. 2031-33 £234 6 bots i/bond Lay & Wheeler +44(0)1473 313 300 www.laywheeler.co.uk Dec 2015

2013 ()

(used, rare 225-litre oak cask) very deep, dark red. There is close-knit depth on the nose, a little smoke. Red berries are packed in together, comes with a low-key perfume. The palate holds striking, even delicious fruit, has style, and very well embedded tannins. Yes, this is properly delicious. Tasty wine, with delightful fruit. It has scope and flair. 14°. From 2018-19. 2034-36 GB £288/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com Jan 2015

2012 ()

(used 228-litre oak cask) decent depth red robe. There are pepper notes, thyme, vegetation, elderberry, crushed stones, definite mineral content in the nose. The palate presents a uniform block of red fruit, is rather stiff, the depth fair – it is unformed as yet. It holds a little bit of gras richness, and isn’t a convincing whole. From 2016 – needs time. It has flashes of charm, but is still rigorous, rugged, chiselled. 13°. 11 casks this year, versus 16 casks 2011. To 2027-28  Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 **** (cask, malo done, SO2 two days ago) steady red. Good roll of red cherry fruit that has a sweet centre, three-quarter depth. The palate has an open debut, red fruit with nutty tannin, it is clear and consecutive. Shapely, aromatic wine in the making. Has character, too, and its width on the finish is a signature of 2012. 14-16 years. “It has more potential mass than the same wine in 2011,” Marc Sorrel. Nov 2012

2011

steady red robe; the bouquet gives a full-on cassis, a crushed cassis air that has an elegant curve to it. The palate is also strong on cassis or blackcurrant, resembles liqueur de Dijon in a fluid, round style. Uncomplicated Hermitage, for restaurants or close to solo drinking at the zinc bar. Very light oaking present here, and tannins hardly evident. This isn’t his usual style; it lacks true body, oomph. “It is like 2000. It is more silky, less tannic, easy to drink than usual,” Marc Sorrel. 2021-22 Nov 2013 Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) (4 year 225-litre oak cask) pale red. There is a touch of oak in an open, aromatic nose that offers raspberry, red cherry, a little licorice, is bonny and pure, and suggests an easy to drink wine. Bright early fruit on the palate has a fine grain, and mild, dusty tannins. It extends quietly. This is Burgundian Hermitage, with Pinot influences, one for purist drinkers, not the Big Bang Brigade. There is no fuss, it has clear lines and a red fruits finish. “It is very open and not austere, which is surprising,” Marc Sorrel. 15-20% more crop than usual. 12.5° naturally. 2024-25  Nov 2012

2010 ()

(3 year cask, racked, SO2 4 days ago, for bottling April 2012) red robe with dark traces. The nose shows plum fruit that is clear, a bit peppery, and bears fine notes of leather and licorice, mint touches – it is rather complex. Free run fruit on the palate, its matter not especially packed together. Shows a peppery tang late on. I find it clear but light, Burgundian; it could gain and amplify over time in a slow-burn fashion. There is light, gummy tannin at the end. “I always regarded it as very fine, with finesse in its tannin, greater finesse than the 2009. It is a bit closed, can keep very well,” Marc Sorrel. 13.3°. 2024-26 Nov 2011

2009

(cask) full red, good purple traces; crunchy, nutty, fresh fruit exudes, has a very light game undertow, olives (which denotes a ripe year). The palate offers fine fruit, that is nicely crisp, lengthens well on to a solid finish. Spreads across the palate well. A refined, purposeful Hermitage of good balance. From 2014. 13.5°. This is above the usual standard for his classic Hermitage. 2028-31 Nov 2010

2008 ()

(cask) it will be 70% from these three vineyards, 30% Le Gréal this year: rather pale red. Has a concave aroma, one that bends inwards, shows pointed red fruit, and doesn't exude a confident air. Rather jammy, mineral mix on the palate – it is certainly not a confident ride this year, and there are grainy later moments, with a slight external sweetness. There is a touch of burn and heat at the end, along with a herbal, not quite vegetal, moment. From mid-2011. I would eat simply cooked foods such as lamb chops with this. “You feel the centre of the grape was tired out this year by the rain,” Marc Sorrel. 13° plus 0.5°. 3,300 b this year all told. 2020-21 Dec 2009

2007 ()

quite a light red, while the bouquet is also light – shows lightly baked red fruits, raspberry jam. It is neither deep nor varied. On the palate, it comes across as a wine that shows the importance of placement on the hill - Plantiers is down right at the bottom – it is a simple Hermitage red, its fruit not profound. There is perfume that it can develop, but it lacks Hermitage power and depth. For now, it is easy to drink, its length is OK. Can it take on greater strides as it ages? That is the question. Try around 2012 for a more accurate answer. 2017-19 Dec 2009 Previously Dec 2007 *** (4-year cask) mid-level red. Has a bright, tangy slightly pointed red fruits aroma – a darting lance of red cherry – the shape is arrow-like. The palate has a good, steady departure, the fruit has life in it, and rolls on well. It ends on a little red fruit sweetness. This can certainly come together, esp from 2012. This is a “wait and be patient” year with life from its acidity – it can do a good early drinking job, but also a varied later manifestation. A pure Syrah display here. 2021-23 Dec 2008

2006 ()

(tank, to be bottled March 2008) full, quite dark black berry robe; violet, berry, mulberry nose with plenty of life in it. Has a nicely rich start, with open black fruits and good energy in them. The fruit is on the go – is live, and ends with black berry jam, a little extra roundness. The fruit moves on through it well, and its tannins are largely entered in. A wine for uncomplicated pleasure. From late 2009 or 2010. 14°. 2022-24 Nov 2007

2005

full style bouquet, has a good core and is broad. Rich, well-knit palate, the fruit at its heart is clear. Chunky style finish likely. More sweet and deep than the 2004. 2023-26 April 2006

2004 ()

30% new oak this year - decent, bright robe. Black fruits, mix of cassis and vanilla on a pretty full bouquet, cleanly defined. Palate is rich on a low-key scale, appealing width. The oak shows, but there is content for it. Savoury elements here, is Burgundian in shape. Esp from 2008-09. 2020-22 April 2006

2002 ()

(cask) broad, friendly, suave bouquet. Wrapped-up black berry fruit, with quiet flesh. Correct enough, some length. Mid-plus weight. Esp 2008 on. 2012-14

2001 ()

decent black stone fruit/spice aroma. Down the line black fruit flavour, some tannic edging. No great width. Some end raspberry, grip. Esp 2007 on. 2013-15

2000

(cask) quite prominent red fruits, spice bouquet. Some flesh, decent weight on palate, a bit down the line. Some end chew. Could be more expressive. 2010-14

1999

(cask) cool, even black fruit bouquet, some width. Decent live fullness here - red and black fruits, some leathery aspects. Tannins present, just skips a beat in the middle. Young vines influence here. 2011-15