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The Wines

Syrah (av age 40 years, oldest Syrah from 1915 at St Jean de Muzols), 80% whole bunch fermentation, open vat 2-3 week vinification, wild yeasts, daily pumping overs, twice daily cap punching by foot, aged used 600-litre casks 13-15 months, since 2011 they assemble the wine on its first racking to achieve a more homogenous wine (before separate parts were raised apart), unfined, unfiltered, 30-32,000 b

2018 ()

(steel vat, bottling Feb 2020) notably dark robe; the Bourdier cassis de Dijon liqueur aroma springs out of the glass, crème de menthe, cassis bud, with mixed notes such as the blood of red meat, laurel. The palate has a beef stock, blood, cooked plums, thickly juiced presence – this is good, raw Syrah, the tannins nourishing, firm, thick and tasty. It comes with much vigour and drive, has a sense of iron, is a giver of energy, not a taker of it like so many pumped up wines. The tannins aggregate well, and it moves into a Southerly note of black olives late on. It gives big engagement, has much character. From 2022. 2043-45 Dec 2019 £180/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017 ()

1) (Tournon, Côtes des Rivoires, youngest Syrah, early 1990s, 600-litre cask) ***(*) dark robe. The nose is firm, smoky, on black berry, very sealed, a hint of joli black cherry in a pure stream. The palate appealing black fruits, is neat and tasty, sympa. The tannins hit quite hard. There are salted notes, blueberry. The finale is crunchy from the stems, the length cool as a result. 14 years 2) (Les Oliviers, mid-1970s Syrah, 600-litre cask) **** dark robe. Has a butty, deep nose, bulls blood, prune, warm fruits, a sense of sunshine, grilling, has reduction also. This is thick, broad across the palate, keeps moving, though. This is a definite wine, has scale, holds compressed juice, black cherries, shows good tenacity, a tight composition, is grounded, solid, with chewy notes. “Les Oliviers gives lots of flesh to the blend,” Jean Gonon. 13.8°. 17 years 3) (St Jean de Muzols, av age Syrah 40 years) ****(*) dark colour. There’s a line of red fruits, mulberry and raspberry, prune, a thread of violet and iron. This is real terroir STGT wine, very faithful to St Jean, comes with good nerve, bright notes in the red berries, is classy and enjoyable. There’s very good freshness within the red fruit content, the stems aiding it. 18 years 4) (St Jean de Muzols, the base of this is World War One, with replacements, 600-litre cask) ****(*) deep robe. Smoky bacon, blueberry jam, black cherry, smoke husky, grilling notes also. The palate offers a good sweep of sève [sap] from the old vines and an immediate silken feel, cassis black fruits, is sumptuous and appealing, classy, has a real consecutive flow. This is lovely, with great length; it’s a real combo of terroir and old vines. 20 years  March 2018

2016 ()

dark colour. This has an ample air of black cherries, is layered, not open, still dense, a mass over detail; there’s a definite curve of ripeness, and a touch of smoky bacon. The palate is juicy and abundant – this is generous, appealing via its suave, glistening texture, swirl of mixed fruits, perhaps like a young 2006. It gains good tannins with a good breakdown of the suavity from tannins and stems towards the finish, a good landscape from that. There are fine black fruits on the aftertaste. This is jolly good! Lots of charm to come – it will show a good, steady evolution, without a lot of closing down. 13.5°. From spring 2020. 2033-34 Mar 2018

2015

(cask various parts, bottling Dec 2016 or Feb 2017) 1) (Les Oliviers, Syrah mid-late 1970s, used 600-litre cask) **** dark robe. Soaked red cherries aroma, licorice, brambly fruit. The palate bear bold, running fruit, with speckles of salt, and light lift in some firm tannins. There is mineral insistence on the end. 16 years 2) (La Croix at Tournon, Syrah 1990-2005, used 600-litre cask) ****(*) dark robe. Close-knit blackberry, licorice airs. Excellent fruit on the palate, bursting out it comes, has a rock n’roll freedom. Very good length and freshness, this is true STGT St Jo. It is still building intensity as it ends. Has bang on character, good grain tannin on the finish, proper structure. 19 years 3) (Aubert at St Jean-de-Muzols, Syrah 1950s) ****(*) dark robe. The nose is bold, has a coated aroma of blackberry, gives generously, has a sunny roundness, sweeps across the glass. The palate leads on brambly blackberry fruit lozenges with a fine line of tannin woven through it. It is becoming bright, spare as it closes. The ending is rich in iron, with dried violets within. 24 years 4) (the blend, 600-litre cask) ***** very dark colour. The nose is racy, whacks out smoky bacon, crisp blackberry airs, mineral notes freely present. The palate is aromatic, with a rugged interior. The fruit is wholesome, the tannins dark and ultimately tasty. Black cherry and blackberry line it – this is a dark vintage. It is vigorous, challenging, true, STGT wine for the informed drinkers not casual trade. From 2022 for tapping into its complexities. 2036-38 Apr 2016

2014

good dark red with black tints. The nose is lightly reduced, but most welcoming. It leads on an attractive sweetly appealing black berry fruit, mulled black berries, has quiet authority. The palate rolls out a lissom carpet of black cherry, blueberry fruit mixed in, very charming tannins: it is well upholstered. This has been extremely well blended to achieve the purring come hither that it offers. It ends completely roundly, the fruit clean all through. It will close, but drinks with maximum allure now. It has a neat, tidy balance, is delightful. 13°. 2027-28  Apr 2016 Previously Jun 2015 **** good dark red with black tints. The nose is lightly reduced, but most welcoming. It leads on an attractive sweetly appealing black berry fruit, mulled black berries, has quiet authority. The palate rolls out a lissom carpet of black cherry, blueberry fruit mixed in, very charming tannins: it is well upholstered. This has been extremely well blended to achieve the purring come hither that it offers. It ends completely roundly, the fruit clean all through. It will close, but drinks with maximum allure now. It has a neat, tidy balance, is delightful. 13°. 2027-28  Apr 2016 Previously Jun 2015 **** 1) (the assembled wine, assembly in Feb 2015, 600-litre cask) ***(*) dark red robe, black tints. There is a glistening black berry and black cherry roundness on the nose, also reduction – the nose is rather fat. The palate presents good, brisk, crunchy fruit with fine, scented tannins and a violet, light licorice presence. This is filigree lace St Jo red, with a fresh run and nerve in it. Delicacy is favoured over power. I find it charming. 13-14 years. 2) (the assembled wine, an older 600-litre cask) **** dark robe. There are blackberry and toffee notes on the bouquet, which has a thicker aroma than the previous cask. Reduction also present. The palate holds more deep fruit, has an early drinking shape, the black fruit coupled with licorice. It ends freshly, via dark and well absorbed tannins that aren’t prominent until the aftertaste. The close is floral. 16 years. 3) (post 1918 old vines from Raymond Trollat at St Jean de Muzols, 228-litre cask, will normally be added to the assembled wine) ***** dark red. Has a black berry, buffed leather, rose petal aroma – this is a nicely rich bouquet with floral charm attached. This is fab! Oh so tasty fruit is offered with generous depth and sweet-noted sides. This gras richness is of the highest quality, the texture beautiful. Fine, long, aromatic wine. It is exceptional, and different from the others. Tender, high quality, with a Pinote influence. “You taste the place – the gneiss, the isolated spot; it is muscled, dry, doesn’t have flesh,” Jean Gonon. 17 years. OVERALL **** a considerable achievement in prospect, in a year where there will be wines that lack depth. Style will also be on the agenda, and the intricate nature of fine Syrah will be available to enjoy. 2029-32 GB £258 12 b in bond Vine Trail +44(0)117 921 1770 www.vinetrail.co.uk GB £113/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com Jun 2015

2013 ()

quite a deep red robe. Has a forward striding nose, a ball of blackberry, smoky bacon, has shapely depth. There are flashes, sparks of mineral woven though the palate; it runs with real steely purpose, hits its rocky origins, holds cool fruit within. Plenty in the glass here, an intricate and stimulating wine. It is now closing down, so wait until spring 2018, for example. “June was cold and cloudy, July and August OK. It ripened as a cold weather crop, just 20 hl/ha, and we started the harvest on 1 October. It was better in November 2015, is now tighter,” Jean Gonon. 2030-31 Previously June 2015 ****(*) this bottled Feb 2015: dark red. The nose presents quite a deep black cherry aroma with an iron filings note, soaked fruit and licorice in the mix. This holds a tight grip on its black fruit on the palate, with a small release towards the finish, more of a pastille element there. It holds concentrated from within blue fruit, salted moments, and more obvious tannin than 2014, more of a ground force. If you drink this young, wait until autumn or winter. It persists with fine intent for now, and will amplify over time. 2029-31  Jun 2015 Previously Jan 2015 ****(*) dark robe, black tints. Big, bold bouquet that presents bacon, grilled airs, liqueur black cherry fruit with a light floral note. The fruit on the palate is impressive, swings along well, has ample juicing, and presents a good, salty tang towards the finish, a note of menthol and chocolate there. This has good style, purposeful length, a lot of late oak for now. From 2016, can be drunk on the up, but holds plenty of body for the future to 2025-26. GB £113/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015

2012

the red robe is still dark. The bouquet gives an aroma of soaked red cherries [griottes] with dried flowers or pot pourri, floral notes, violets, orange zest, iodine. It shows light grilling, some reduction, and is advancing into interesting areas. There is an immediate thread of iron, with good definition from that, on the palate, which is always “up”. There is second half crunch in its coat of black fruits. This is a sexy Operator, highly enjoyable and true, an STGT wine. It lengthens on notes of blood, tea leaves; the length is correct, not enormous. It’s still young. It gives lots of pleasure, leaves a vivid impression.  “The iron and blood are from St Jean de Muzols,” Jean Gonon. 13.5°. 2027-29 Mar 2018

2011

dark, nicely full, handsome robe. The nose is appealing – has bountiful berry airs that sweep around the glass. There is a black cherry roundness without the snap and ting of the 2012 vintage. The palate holds sweet fruit, swings along with generous gusto, picking up tar and darkness as it travels. Wait a moment – there is also a granite crackle here. It drinks well now, but it will give more variety and nuance with more time, say from 2016. It is jolly tasty with guinea fowl (pintade) in a mushroom sauce. 2022-24  Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 **** (casks, bottling in 2 months) dark red, black tints. Has a curvy, good capacity aroma of black berry and cherry, with an air of crushed stones beyond the fruit, and low-key violet, with licorice. The palate runs off the bat, in some haste, gets going. Savoury, tasty wine which moves all around the palate with uts textured free flow fruit – lovely. It may stiffen and become more dense post-bottling, like 2007. It is certainly very expressive now, is w.o.w. wine. “We think of 2007 when tasting 2011,” Jean Gonon. €21 at the cellars. 2023-25  Nov 2012

2010

(casks) very dark, even intense robe. Nutty, chocolate-related, full bouquet that is upright now, shows some nuttiness from its raising. Deeply set fruit and flavour here – it is just starting out, still very young, and the raising has polished it without evolving it in any way. Thorough waves of black berry fruit run through it and culminate in a firm finish, the fruit still apparent. Very good, traditional St Jo, with the depth of fruit notable. It shows a bit of yeastiness towards the finish. It reminds me of 2005 with its spine, but is more fleshy than 2005. From 2014, say. 2023-26 Nov 2011

2009

(the assembled wine in tank, to be bottled a little end Nov 2010, mostly Jan 2011) full, thorough red; sweet debut to the nose, which has liqueur airs, black cherry – it is deep and not yet nuanced, but there drifts of violet and chocolate. The palate is broad on the attack and the middle, quite powerful, and contains concentrated fruit and matter. It ends on the compressed, baked 2009 length. It will impress people – it is thorough and persists, but needs to soften and ease. From mid-2012. 2022-24 Nov 2010. “We didn`t lose many leaves in 2009, but the grapes were a bit on the jam, thanks to thick skins,” Jean Gonon. Jean has also a separate 228-litre cask of old vines 2009 Syrah which he may keep for himself and his friends, and this becomes the Vieilles Vignes wine: ***** dark robe; intense, oily nose – ripe, liqueur fruit. Lots of gras straight away on the palate, which is persistent. Its tannins have life in them, are riper than those in the main assembled wine. Good potential. It finishes completely. Has what I term sober richness on the palate. 2026-28 Nov 2010

2008

three-quarter red colour; spicy, rather forest, meaty air with that – the bouquet has fair depth, shows licoirce, cinnamon, red cherries. The palate starts well, offers dark fruits that move well – the fruit is direct, comes with pockets of gras richness, shows a well judged continuity. It drinks well now, is a w.o.w. wine. Best with food, shows a late spot of tannin, some slightly dry moments. “It should be drunk now – you never know how these wines will evolve; its tannins were more biting and rustic, but now are round, and there is perfume in the wine. Drink it in the next two years, and I would enjoy it with vegetables, say broccoli or cabbage in garlic or even black pudding (boudin),” Jean Gonon. I would go down the line with roast chicken. Bottled Jan 2010. 2015-16 Nov 2010 Previously Dec 2009 **(*) (steel tank) correct, black-tinted robe. Smoky, peppery, graphite debut to the nose, cherry. There is a solid line of black fruit and licorice through the palate, the fruit crisp, its tannins a shade upright but manageable over time. Ends on pepper, the aftertaste smoky, a little lean. Better than many 2008s. “Drink it on its fruit in two years' time,” Jean Gonon. 12.4°. 2015-16 Dec 2009

2007

the robe is still red. The nose is a mix of red meat, pepper, tender red cherry fruits, the red fruit indicating the relative coolness of the year. The palate launches a careful attack, holds cooked, spiced plum fruit, which is cool, and lengthens with good grip and freshness. It is interesting wine, still well woven. The tannins enclose the fruit well, and there is a touch of mineral on the close. “It has been showing more strength in the last two years,” Jean Gonon. 2028-29 Apr 2016 Previously Dec 2008 ***(*) (to be bottled next month) nice full robe, full red. Has a “dark” aroma led by soaked fruits – sweet-toned black cherries – an aroma with a minor peppermint curve in it. The fruit is ripe, to the point of suggesting some damp, long hang airs. The palate fruit is tasty right away – around three-quarters depth – with a steady and latterly wide flow before ripe, calm tannins enter. The length is sound. It is open now, but will close. There is good “ping” in the fruit - certainly in the eye of the 2007 vintage. From 2010 to enjoy its first fruit flush. 2018-19 Dec 2008 Previously Dec 2007 *** 550-litre casks show some merry fruit from the 1970s Syrah on Les Oliviers and Dardouille, a good surge of active fruit and tannins. Les Rivoires, with its 1992 Syrah carrying mild blackberry jam aromas, has plenty of palate black fruit that grips tightly later on as the granite imprint comes through. Has crisp, decisive finish, is beau. The younger La Croix (1987-2000 Syrah at the top of the hill) has clear fruit on the nose and the palate, and late pepperiness. Best contributor is 70-90 yr vines from St-Jean-de-Muzols, some darkness in the robe; well-founded aroma, thorough and with good core, wide and persistent, reflects its vines. Real grip of black fruit with the greater acidity typical of St-Jean, and tenacious tannins. “Quite ripe and round wines, like 2000,” J.Gonon Dec 2007

2006

bright, pretty full robe; cassis liqueur, blackberry jam with a top note that is fresh and carries some pepper. The palate fruit is round in shape, but there is a mineral backbone all through, a licorice presence. Ripe blackberry flavour on the finish, where it is a little closed. The fruit is great, has a good interior, is tasty and is later offset by its ripe tannins. Well-judged assembly to achieve this quality and harmony of fruit. The tannins will be more settled by 2010. Could close up around 2009. 2021-23 bottled three weeks ago Dec 2007

2005 ()

dark red. The nose gives a licorice-blackberry fruit aroma, and is full of life and vigour, has a game influence and shows some advance, damp woods from that. The palate has evolved with suave assurance – it travels smoothly with black fruits in step with tasty tannins, good locomotion in it. The palate is fresher, younger than the bouquet. It is going really well now. The exit is fresh, with a touch of menthol. The fruit has a gourmand stretch before the finish. High quality, pure wine. 2026-27  Jun 2015 Previously Dec 2010 **** red colour, good depth still has purple tints. Rather closed, reserved nose with a tight layer of fruit, grilled airs, cassis fruit on the bud. There is a gamey infusion in the first black cherry fruit on the palate. This is in a holding moment, it feels. There are spice, cigar box elements. It is softening on the finish, step by step. Drink from late 2011 if this is a true guide – it is now getting past its growing pains. Day 2: clearer, more pure black fruit, very true Syrah. It lengthens finely. 13°. 2020-22 New Year’s Eve 2010, East Sussex Previously Dec 2007 ***** dark red with some black in it; really broad, striking bouquet of black fruits and spices, a great, really gutsy rocker. There is also good dimension on the palate, but it is delivered with a good, consistent flow. The black fruits are ripe, very persistent and a little heady. A bit square on the finish, but has lots going for it. Holds great, broad appeal, a star wine with lovely fruit. Marks for bounty, character and sheer pleasure. Drink into 2008, then from mid-2010. “This was more open in the spring,” J.Gonon. 2023-25. Dec 2007, tasted twice, at the domaine and in Copenhagen. Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) dark robe; round, savoury, well knit bouquet – good shape, a little smoky with some game/gibier below decks. Well textured palate – enjoyable black fruits, with a rich, touch jam tone to them. Length and flow are both good, and continue well. Tannins are ripe and bring extra kick at the end. Rich, comfortable wine, graceful and profound in the making. From late 2008. 2018-19 Dec 2006 Previously April 2006 **** (various casks) plenty of fruit on full bouquets, violets also. Clean and clear black fruits on palate, with tannins playing a good role, being ripe and supportive, and adding extra dimension on the finish. Muscle in this wine, but less grandeur than I had expected. Is a rigorous year, perhaps, more than an obviously full one. To 2021-23 April 2006

2004 ()

brambly, red fruits aroma, a little jam - plum and crushed strawberries. Fruit stands between fresh and brewed, has a jaunty side and persists with live motion. Can gain in length with age. Pretty, with graceful fruit, doesn't reach a sumptuous state, though. Fresh, lasting fruit, it delivers well. Esp 2007 on. 2014-16 April 2006

2003

baked aroma, strawberry jam or compote, and some lead pencil (the granite?) and nougat. Solid palate with chocolate and prune mingling, is wide and persistent, texture coats the tongue. A brew-up of Syrah with some violet at the end. Palate and nose run across, horizontally, not down or vertically. Prune, violet aftertaste, a masculine drink now, has tightened and 'shrunk' since Denmark last year. Now sorting itself out into serious shape. "Drink this in 2008-09 when its tannins have been more absorbed," Jean Gonon. Eat with a daube beef dish with herbs, and anchovies and olives in the sauce. To 2015-18. April 2006 Previously October 2005, Denmark **** pretty, partly scented, warm berry aroma, lasts well, stylish. Beau vin, gourmand black jam palate, ample and well sustained. Nice outbreak of tannin, a little peppered at finish, which is clean. Easy to like, now showing well. Could close, eg 2006-07. Tannins can settle and meld, has a little final tension here. 2015-18 Previously (casks) ****(*) compact, harmonious bouquet, cool granite inflections. Good, vigorous wine - it develops well, has ripe end tannins, good structure and authority. Plenty to come. 2008 on. 2019-22

2002

minted, upright, peppery nose; cutting texture, steely black fruit. Tight now, can loosen its tannins. Peek of black berry fruit, pepper on finish. 2006 on. 2012-14

2001

the robe is still red, with a few black tints, and a good depth at the heart of the robe. The nose has a blackberry, intense dark berry coulis air, with notes of damp leaves. The emphasis is on melted berries that are simmered and slightly succulent. Very joli maturity is in evidence here. Violets are present, and it is a wonderful, granite-inspired nose, a brilliant, truly STGT bouquet. The palate presents a most becoming floral, violet infusion in its prune fruit flavour with a late burst of licorice-tar as it ends, on the up. It is at a gentle stage now, is a wine of charm and elegance. There comes the patter of tiny feet in its hedgerow berry ending, lovely detail there. It is still long. Fine grain tannins still peek through on the finish. Well worth the wait. Its mineral/grain sign-off is very STGT. 13°. 2018-19 Christmas Day, Dec 2014 Previously July 2006 ***(*) still full robe. Warm and broad black fruits bouquet, typical northern Rhône Syrah character of black fruit, rubber, tar. Palate mixes clear fruit with energy and drive as it matures. At a tasty stage, it drinks well solo with the tannins absorbing well. The fruit is black berries, and a little mint. Refined length. A good companion for clear and pure flavoured food rather than rustic or game dishes. A carrée d`agneau or rack of lamb served pink would be a wow. Lovely silky smooth texture. 2013-15 July 2006 Previously **** black fruit aroma, some spice, quite closed. Compact, black berried fruit, pretty. Licorice, chewy tannins on finish, gains quiet momentum. Good length. 2015-18

2000 ()

touch red fruit/meat, good width, jam touches on bouquet. Really good, supple Syrah, Mauves in a nutshell. Red jam, nice fruited finish. Charming, much softer, more sweet than a Chavanay red, for instance. Esp 2004-07. 2011-13

1999

bright dark colour; bouquet now includes some animal with black fruits/pepper, blackcurrant leaf. Ripe fruit start, baked prunes/olives, has loosened a little. Quite oily/leathery end. Tannins still prominent. From 2005-06. 2016-18

1998

robe shows some ruby, lightening red. The nose has a rich foundation, with overt game and a little late coffee bean. The palate is also rich, with a full flow of rounded fruit. Here and there lie some tannins that are ripe in tone. This is a ripe vintage (served blind), with gummy tannins, and the wine persists in a quiet, sympa way. Really nice richness here: the robe suggests the wine is more evolved on the palate than it really is. 2014-15 “We had spring frost, small yields and our old vines at Saint-Joseph were frozen – we were down to 20 hl/ha this year,” Jean Gonon. Dec 2007 Previously April 2006 **** spot-on mix of fruit and leather on bouquet that has reached a game stage, with plum fruits - at a complex, but fabulous moment. Striking flavour, now in its second stage, is peppered the finish is rich. If served cool, a more mineral texture will emerge. Still fresh on the palate, pepper and sinew show it has ways to go. A wine of character. To 2012-14. April 2006 Previously **** nice bit of resin, gently stewed/smoky bouquet; habitual upright style of the domaine. Very clean fruit, very persistent - fresh blackberry. Good young, can also show a second side around 2004-05. 2009-12

1986

“my first year with Papa,” Jean Gonon: the robe is tiled now. There is a foundation of plum jam and sweet spice on the nose, which is still on the go. Damp woods and coffee beans enter the equation. The palate bears fine red fruit, with powdered tannins. It is a little stretched on the finish, but may expand with air. It ends like “an old rum,” J.Gonon. It lacks the texture of a young wine, is on the stretch, though the aftertaste is still a little floral. It possesses a little charm and character. Jun 2015