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The Wines

Syrah (1950s, early 1970s-1996) from Chanson, Verlieu, 85-100% destemmed, 3-week vinification, cap punching, aged 35-40% new (down from 75% until early 2010s), 60-65% 1-2 year old 580-litre oak casks 19-22 months (until 2004 was aged 60% new, 40% 1-3 year oak 24 months), first wine 1989 – “my father wanted to make his own mini Côte-Rôtie, capturing the finesse and power of our neighbours five miles away,” unfined, 28-30,000 b

2018

(approx. blend, several casks) very dark; there’s nicely loose, engaging blackberry, black cherry fruit with a cool note at its centre on the nose, some oak. The palate shows style in the fruit, authority, is pure, the oak settled quite crisply around it. This holds good potential. The fruit is good and up, while powder tannins, a touch of granite florality appear on the close. It stakes out a good position in the front rank of 2018 St Jo reds. From 2023. 2041-43 Feb 2020

2017 ()

intense dark robe; the bouquet sweeps broadly across the glass, has a warm, inky depth, is well charged with appealing black berry fruits, gives a basket of bounty. The palate rolls with style, a most attractive continuous flow of cassis, precise black fruits, finishing on lip smacking tannins, licorice, blue fruit and its cool tenor there. This is oaked, purposeful, and will be going with great gusto around 2023, with the oak starting to drop back then. It’s got great length, most delightful fruit, is Rock n’Roll, serious St Jo. 13.5°. From 2023. 2038-40 Feb 2020

2016

(several casks, bottling May 2018) shiny, bright red. The nose is engaging, on cherries and raspberry fruit, a mix of freshness and pastilles, is very primary. The palate delivers channelled red fruits that come in a streamlined style, a flavour of red cherry stone with dance in the tannins. It’s a bareback wine, with no spare flesh. Its juice is liberal, the tannins crisp. There’s oak on the finish. From 2020. 2029-31 Mar 2018

2015 ()

an intense dark red colour. There’s good craic in the bouquet, cherry fruits with herbs and lift, thyme, some incense, raspberry. The palate rolls well all through, picks up mineral bystanders, reaches into a coolly fruited finale, the gras persistent, which marks it out. It has balance and foundation, is very well together. There are some southern tendencies in its inner roundness. It is very good – drink from 2020, but it’s delicious now. “Since 1990 this has been one of most beau years,” Stéphane Montez. 13°. 29,000 b. 2036-38 Mar 2018

2014

(casks) quite a dark red robe, legs. Plum fruit airs, with a Pinot influence, a real Burgundy association – the nose is curved, well filled, nicely feathery – it is charming and promising. The palate has a peppery start, offers rolling, fresh fruit, spice, its tannins prominent, placing demands for now. Oak runs the finish. This very much follows a Burgundian path. It will be a slow gainer, so take your time. If patient, it will ascend to ****. There are late game notes. Decant it. “I included 15% stems this year to help the tannin, which was otherwise low in level,” Stéphane Montez. From 2019. 2026-28  Oct 2015

2013 ()

bright dark red robe. The bouquet is full of potential – it is pretty dense, offers layers of black berry with raspberry, some herbs, is well filled. This is sturdy, full of racy, mulberry red fruits; the tannins have drive, and it travels well. Interesting, promising, serious wine with gourmand, tasty moments, a touch of late flowers. It isn’t far off Côte-Rôtie in standard and style. 12.5°. From 2018-19. 2029-31  Oct 2015

2012 ()

dark red. Plum fruit that is like liqueur or simmered leads what is a stylish bouquet; it comes with a becoming fragrance, shows raspberry as well. The palate presents a graphite clarity, fine red fruit, is nice and honest. Oak prevails on the finish. Its red fruit is cool, fine, not especially loud, but coherent, while the tannins are crisp. 12.5°. From 2018. 2027-29 Oct 2015

2011 ()

(casks) sober dark plum red colour. Extreme, ripe, mulled red fruits air, with oak, soaked style fruit, and a traverse of rose-hip. The palate links well to the nose, presents a safe couch of red fruit, a raspberry flavour, along with a dash of violet and licorice appearing on the finish. A pliant style of Saint-Joseph, based on ripeness and luxury. It will roll along well, needs  to be drunk with foods such as tajine of lamb, couscous. The aftertaste is scented. From 2014. 2020-21  Nov 2012

2010

decent red robe; there are some fine lines around the nose, strawberry and spicing, the fruit curvy; it also reflects very ripe crop, dried summer lands. There are pine-bosky notes on the palate, with vigour and life in the delivery. It extends on a crisp, direct run. Prominent acidity here; it ends on tar and mulled fruits, is hardly an ensemble yet. The length is good, so the longer the wait, the better it will be. 13°. From 2015, say. 2026-27  Oct 2012

2006 ()

the red is trimmed with black; the bouquet holds live red fruit, the air is smooth, and there are refined black cherries also, some crispness on the outside. The palate sets off with the fruit foremost, the oak only showing up on the second half of the palate. This is a wine of some structure – it needs leaving until 2010, but the fruit inside is quite cosy and redondo. The oak takes over at the end for now. The length is OK, it finishes on tar and pepper. 2017-18. Bottled 3 weeks ago. June 2008

2005 ()

red with some black in it. The red fruit on the bouquet is upright now, a bit stiff, but live. There is some rose-hip to ease matters, also oak that is controllable. The palate has a pretty, floral fruit start, then a gain of tannin and licorice/oak together. The length is OK, albeit it is led by its oak. Solid wine, modern style. From 2010 for less oak, especially on the finish. It can live and show more appeal and fruit around 2011 to 2014 – that will be its good stretch. 22 months ageing this year (19 months in 2006). To 2019. “It has closed up recently – the restaurant owners of Lyon have tucked it away for now,” S.Montez. June 2008

2003 ()

(casks) rich heart in bouquet. Good black jam fruit on palate, agreeable, has length. Some final sweetness, but overall possesses grip. 2007 on. 2015-17

2002

decent, complete, broad bouquet - it is truffly/smoky. Sound body on palate - this is coming together. Clean, northern zone black fruit, some richness. Leave till 2007 to absorb the oak. 2015-16

2001 ()

broad, oak smoke nose; good matter inside the oak, from 2007. Firm at this stage. 2014-16

2000

smooth black aroma; cassis go-stop-go on palate. Needs to settle, "this has been made to keep", S.Montez. To 2011-12

1999 ()

sober red robe, dark inclination. This has a plum fruit air, along Pinot Noir lines, an attractive richness with a trace of floral, lily perfume, some pepper in the last impression. It also has a cool, cough medicine note that I associate with oak. The palate drinks well – it is in a mature state, but it shows life through to the finish where a little of its oaking shows up via a firming of its texture. There is a floral, tender infusion in the red stone fruit and late spice. Plenty going on in this interesting wine, one that shows authority. It has a sexy elegance, combines flair and variety in its flavours and prompts. 2020-21 July 2012 Previously * mint/leaf, black jam bouquet - softens with air. Clear fruit, spice edges, then dries. 2 hours air and crumbles, gets taut, loses flesh.