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The Wines

80% Marsanne (1950-1955, 1983), 20% Roussanne (1974) mostly from the loess, Eastern part of Les Oliviers at Tournon, deeply rooted vines so not fear drought, partly from the sand-clay, galet stone above granite soils on South facing part of Les Oliviers, varieties assembled before fermentation, fermented, raised 3-15 year 228-litre & 600-litre oak casks 12 months, then vat 2 months, from 2013 bottled in November/December rather than early September, malo completed, 7,500-8,000 b

2018

(in steel vat since start of Sept, botting in two weeks) shiny yellow robe. This has an embracing bouquet, rock n’roll, mixed, jaunty live airs in it, apricot, peach, wax, honey. The palate combines handsome, firm gras with sève of old vines, sap, hence style and a texture that pleases. It has good grip, straightens nicely after a bout of richness. This is very good, right on the money, is very well defined, poised, has salted length. This has class, is Grand Vin. “It was a very hot during the harvest, we picked in the morning, and it has come through as a fresh wine; the East part of Les Oliviers gives freshness from soils and exposure,” Pierre Gonon. 2039-41. 3 Dec 2019

2017

(228-litre cask) yellow robe. Has a buttery air, banana, attractive peach, real good clarity in the fruit. The palate assembles white fruits, spring flowers, dabs of lime to freshen it. Suave gras lies dead centre. Has a low acidity feel. Ginger, toasted notes show towards the finish. Its grip is quiet and sure. This is textured and elegant, holds a sunny roundness. "It compares in analysis to the 2015," Jean Gonon. 14.5°. From spring 2019. 2028-30 March 2018

2016

yellow robe; There are mixed prompts, with ripeness a theme, on the nose: honey, dried fruits, white grapes, Canteloupe melon, glazed brown sugar. The palate is also burnished, rich, has a sultry, thick textured being. Aniseed towards the finish helps to lift it. It is very much a table wine, fat and firm, a little doré. There are ginger, flan notes towards the finish. This is sturdy, southern-leaning wine. “The 80% Marsanne gives it white peach, floral traits,” Jean Gonon. 13.8°. Bottled 5 Nov 2017. Decanting advised. From 2020. 2031-33 Mar 2018

2015

(228-litre cask) yellow robe. The nose is dumb but promising – there are flan, nut, peanut, apricot skin, peach airs. The palate has a solid debut, bears closely packed content, has a steel freshness. This has good, tight grip, and the depth for a good table. 14.3°. Drink from 2018 or 2021. 2030-32 Apr 2016

2014 ()

yellow robe. Nicely ripened Marsanne-led nose, orange peel, apricot, light toast. The palate gives nougat, quince, good tang, holds graceful gras richness, rolls out and unfurls. This has beautiful length, keeps delivering. This is complex. 2031-33 Apr 2016 Previously June 2015 **** 1) (228-litre cask) **** firm yellow robe. The nose is a mix of sultry and elegant; there is a pear-peach aroma, a latent nuttiness. It is fresh, aromatic and rather stately. The palate holds assured depth of white fruit, and a smatter of lime, comes with a tasty mid-point, and lengthens well on aniseed, gripping quietly on the finish thanks to its Marsanne. It is very elegant, and a little reduced. I find a little lees present. 16 years. 2) (another 228-litre cask) **** yellow colour. There is a crème patisserie richness along with an air of lime on the nose, which presents a discreetly fresh ensemble, a wee note of vanilla pod as well. The palate bears more richness than the previous cask; it is still fermenting. Apricot then aniseed come along, some lees. Another elegant cask here: it is finely done, fresh, the length good. 18 years. 2031-33 Jun 2015

2013

quite a full yellow robe. The bouquet gives a pear in syrup, aniseed, coated aroma with zesty, mandarin influences. It is pretty stylish, and varied. This is rich, from within, holds good compote, gras features. Tangy white fruits appear, then quiet grip, the length very good. This is serious table wine, with lovely freshness, a spearmint angle as it closes. It is a real Road Runner – there is good pleasure and interest here – it is STGT wine that achieves gras and freshness. 2031-33  Jun 2015 Previously Jan 2015 ****(*) deep yellow, gold touches in a glistening robe; the bouquet rolls out with a mixed bag of fruit sensations – banana, pear, melon, mandarin that lends freshness - quite a bundle. It is deep, which brings in a note of flan or crème patisserie as well. The palate sequels well from the nose, has lovely weight and a natural freshness helps it to travel with a sure hand. It gives good closing gras richness that provides a suave, spherical ending. This has class, and inner reserves from old vines. The balance is good, and it will be delightful in a large glass with a dish of pork, sea bass in fennel, daurade, many options come to mind. It has real authority, nothing contrived. Red carpet wine – make way. It is on the go now, will perhaps close around 2016-17. 14°. 2026-28  Jan 2015

2012

yellow robe, legs visible. The bouquet reveals high fruit, leans towards reduction, has a walnut central aroma backed by apricot fruit, pear, shows a traditional St Joseph depth, bears a zest of tangerine and a wee sense of power. The palate’s richness comes from within – there is a welling up of that with an effortless, smooth texture along it; it always suggests a definite strength is under wraps here. Drink with asparagus, cardoons, sauced chicken and guinea fowl, North African dishes also. Its style is traditional. It is closed now, so decant it, but it’s better to wait until late 2014 for drinking in its youth or until 2018 or so to capture its second stage. The close is tannic, firm, needs time. 14°. 7,500 b. Bottled 29 Aug 2013. 2025-26  Nov 2013

2011

healthy, full yellow. The nose shows early evolution, becomes more and more lucid with air, though after a fungal, mild cheese debut. Airs of cooked lemon emerge, high fruit, fundamental notes, and oiliness, infused tea such as verbena (verveine). After 1 hour, it concentrates on an aroma of thick nut paste, almond-like. The palate is good and tight-knit, quietly muscular. It lengthens with a sure hand. It has a very good and sturdy heart, plus an aniseed freedom on the finish. A full, traditional wine that has the immediate density of 2011. From spring 2015 to allow it to loosen more; it may pause, then start to fire again from 2017-18. Drink with Asian, spicy dishes. Good with artichoke, guinea fowl, pork, chicken in sauce, less so with smoked salmon not scallops. 14°. 2022-24  Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) yellow robe. Almond, hazelnut, orange peel airs, light honey – the bouquet is nicely free and floating. The palate has a honeyed debut, a petrol touch with gras at its centre. Has a flavour of marmalade and peach jam, ends in compact fashion. This will sit tight for a while, and will be a very good companion over time for a wide variety of dishes – chicken in sauce, sweetbreads (ris de veau) with mushrooms, pork à la crème, saffron dishes. “The 2011 total acidity is low, but the pH levels are not very high – which gives the palate more tonic and freshness,” Jean Gonon.  2023-24  Nov 2012

2010 ()

pale, refined yellow colour. Subtle, mysterious air – spice and a very fine hazelnut for now, with more to come in expression and variety. The palate is well-textured, holds a proper fullness that is delivered with care; the fullness is thoroughly established, not pushed to come through. It builds in fat as it goes, and ends on that, along with spiced notions. Fine tannin lies in support. It shows a firm elegance, has lift and definition. The flavour involves peach, flan. The acidity is fine, classy, and I salute its length. There is a good access to the heart of the fruit, with mineral qualities well inset. STGT wine. Good balance, may shut down – but is appealing in it sfirst stage now. From spring 2012. 2022-24 Nov 2011 Previously Nov 2010 **** (casks) all assembled now. Full yellow. Really forward nose – a ripe curve on it, and both firm and compact from its ripeness. Spice, ginger, hazelnut and lime are present. The palate has drive – there is a Roussanne thread through it. It is sturdy, close-knit, grounded, with a solid interior. It can loosen, and its late stages show some elegance. Its richness will come through from 2013. 2025-27 Nov 2010

2009

full yellow robe; honey, toast, reductive airs, a precise apricot, dried fruits air, along with spice and flan. The palate is rich-hearted and full, broad, copious – bit within boundaries. Ideal with white meats, veal, sweetbreads. Firm and full, it ends attracrively, with a fresher aspect than the attack. Bottled Aug 2010. 2022-25 Nov 2010 Previously July 2010 ***(*) (casks) yellow robe; nutty, somewhat Château Chalon Jura or fino sherry nose, baked apple, banana flambé – very much on the ripe and rich. This is a big scale wine, but it is fine from half way, unlike many 2009 St-Jo whites that are firm to hard on the finish. A well-textured, smooth wine that just about handles its power – it simmers away on that front. This needs time to open up its finish – from spring 2011, thus. Decant. 2019-21 July 2010

2008 ()

yellow-tinted robe; rather rich, white jam aroma, spots of banana and vanilla, hazelnut. The palate is solid, holds grounded white fruit, and runs to a firm, compact, good and clear end. The matter inside is rich, and the wine chunky for now. It glows on the finish. “I find pineapple, Pear William, which is unusual for it,” Jean Gonon. Bottled 9 September 2009 – 9-9-9, allez Jean! Drink as usual from April-June 2010 onwards. 14°. 2020-22 Dec 2009

2007 ()

lovely nose – flan, apricot, all in a measured ensemble, has nutty late airs, and grip – it tightens after one hour. The palate is wholesome, with dried fruits  and a good line of side tannin and shape. Lovely constitution, a full white wine with character and class. Still young – it ends on a young. Tight, firm exit. 2022-24  July 2011  Previously Dec 2009 ***(*) mild yellow robe; pineapple-apricot nose, peach and white plum, too – a fine bouquet. The palate debut has a little fire, then develops more fat, leaves a wee trail of Marsanne bitter, cut. I like the gras richness emerging here. “It won`t be bad within 4 to 5 years,” Jean Gonon. From spring 2011.  2019-21  Dec 2009  Previously Dec 2008 ***(*) steady yellow robe; has a salty, tangy, ripe peach/white fruits aroma, with a little honey in behind – this is graceful. The palate has a mild, nutted start – it then runs straight along, with no deviation for extra passengers. It ends on a restrained honey, apricot and floral combination. It holds up well, is a wine with quiet reserves of depth. There will be more to it if left until spring 2009 for its first display, or to 2012 for its second, more varied moments. It is a compact wine that doesn`t parade itself very expressively today. 2020-21  Dec 2008  Previously Dec 2007 (casks) cask 1: 1997 Marsanne from high up, 228-litre cask wide, comfortable nose, discreet. Nutted palate, sound richness within, good style, rounded rather than straight-line wine. Tight at end.  cask 2: Dardouille, Les Oliviers, Marsanne, some Roussanne, toasting, oak influenced, some richness under it; pretty point of gras at start, bonny width, round finale. “We found these wines needed more lees stirring this year to achieve volume in them,” J.Gonon. cask 3 Les Oliviers: even, quite full nose. Rich-seated wine, will provide heart to the whole wine this year. 15°. OVERALL ***(*) a wine of some shoulders this year, around 14.7°. Maybe a touch behind the 2006, a little less easily generous. Probably ***(*) or so. 14-17 years of life.

2006 ()

soft yellow robe, nice and bright. Restrained bouquet, is rather silken with some white pepper outcrops, and a little of the usual flan here and a bonny little mineral trimming. There is also a suggestion of mandarin, peach, a little marmalade and a salted air, too. This has a lot of variety, and obvious potential. There is a very steady evolution through the palate, its sequence resembles that of a red wine, with gain as it goes. Flambé banana and spiced crème patisserie flavours apparent now. Round, abundant wine with a little late hint of alcohol, but that is barely noticeable (13.8° on the label). Is wrapped up by its comfortable richness, the length is good, the texture lovely as usual. Good with artichoke, that brings some extra minerality into it. The air draws out more obvious Marsanne, hazelnut, on the nose. 2021-24. Tasted twice, Dec 2007

2005 ()

yellow, quite deep robe. The nose shows reduction, which is surprising at this age. There is an air of white plum, vine flowers, white strawberry and Comté cheese from Savoie. The palate gives the mineral line of 2005, is still very tight, and extends like a red wine – it has that structure. It holds really good grip and firm content that will ease at it breathes. The finish is tingly. Delightful, long wine. “After a good summer, September was beau and fresh,” Jean Gonon. 2027-29  Jun 2015 Previously Oct 2007 ***(*) yellow colour; banana, flan, rounded and fragrant nose with a pretty peach, dried fruit air. The attack is tight, muscular, levels out and runs with a bit of whipcord pear, isn’t that relaxed, has an intrinsic tension that is easy to associate with the vintage. The length is good – it travels all through. Needs robust flavours, cheeses, for best harmony at this stage. Not there yet. 13.8°. From mid-late 2008. 2015-16  Oct 2007, Copenhagen  Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) a full yellow robe; nutted top to the bouquet, and pistachio nuts lurking underneath, the Marsanne and its stone fruits in pretty full form. This is a richly-sided wine in a gourmand style. Is rather closed now. Has a beefy feel, is a little potent at the end. Shows a raisin/licorice aftertaste. Is fat and deep inside. I expect it to close down. Needs food – full flavours. Esp from mid-late 2008. 2015-17 Dec 2006 Previously April 2006 **** (various casks) the 1950 Marsanne from the centre of Les Oliviers is honeyed, refined and full on the nose. Seamless, very evident richness on a generous palate. High alcohol, a slight dry tone from it on finish, the overall wine will be 14.3° or so. Needs time. Lot of width on other samples, buttery, caramel flavours. Big year, with the freshness of the Roussanne vital to calm it. Life of 14-17 years. April 2006

2004 ()

the robe is an inviting full yellow, apricot tints avec. The bouquet is agreeably and finely broad – vanilla is prominent, with roasted almonds, hazelnut, spiced white fruit jam. The texture is softening, the later plate plump; it starts on the reserve of the Marsanne, then expands and amplifies, the later stages rich. It is singing away now, threads a vanilla theme, with apricot later. Genuine wine, really good white St Jo. 2017-19  Oct 2010, East Sussex Previously Dec 2007 ***** yellow robe; the bouquet has fallen quiet; it may have marmalade in the front aroma, even a little Riesling and also honey. The palate is also subdued and turned in, but it still has great body, wonderful construction, harmony and persistence. Has fabulous quality within, orange jam with nutty traces. Lovely little true Marsanne bitterness. Right up there in the front seats of the theatre. “It may be quiet for 3 years now, until 2010; it started to close up around June to September 2006, having been very flamboyant, almost too much so, before then,” J.Gonon Dec 2007 Previously April 2006 ***** bright, honeyed bouquet of peach, apricot, warm and round. Beautiful, stylish fruit on attack, very rich core and is ample and impressive in mid-palate. Finishes cleanly, a little aniseed lifts it even though it is quite low in acidity. Lovely wine, there is a little tannic outbreak near the finish. Has the vivacity of youth now, but could close up around 2008. A wine I have to buy. 2019-21 April 2006

2003 ()

yellow with wee gold tints. Has an aromatic, leaning towards sherry aroma that is very striking, comes with white raisin, petrol of Riesling. There is immediate salted frontage on the palate, which has very good foundation, firm gras richness, has real character, is off the wall, charges along well. It is very beau and arresting. It is rich and fluid, a flavour of sponge cake, is a real dream for a connoisseur. The finish is sizzling. “It took a very, very long time to find its balance; it was harvested by fear, especially after the disaster of 2002, on 16-17 August. It has a flavour of patisserie, and will be good with sweetbreads, mushroom, dishes, curry because it is spiced,” Jean Gonon. 2027-29 Mar 2018 Previously October 2005 **** fresh touches on nose, a honey-apricot combination of appeal. Good grip early on for the palate, develops and broadens well. Really wide and holds a genuine structure, is a manly white wine. Immediate and stimulating flavour of dried fruits and a rich interior backs it up. Good length. To 2014-17. October 2005, Denmark Previously **** pretty honey, floral, touch of tight apricot aroma. Big flavour here, apricot, then orange peel end. Compact, scale wine, broadens and has great width. Good heart to it, with some elegance. Chewy finish. 2014-18

2002

honey/spice mix with light flan aroma; buttered, soft white fruit flavour, good calm wine, more open from 2006. Some end grip, a degree of tannin. Time will enrich it. Quiet phase now. 2012-14

2001

broad aroma, fennel, smoky and plenty of potential. Delicious peach/apricot attack, wide and fleshy. Lovely richness, with buttery notes. Aniseed/licorice end. Warm, well-directed finish. Has opened up with great flair. 2011-14

2000 ()

lime tart, buttery aroma, less floral than earlier in life. Warm dried white fruits taste, clear flavour and good length. Some end minerality. 2010-12 Previously *** white fruit/honeysuckle bouquet; nicely rounded flavour, plum fruit, fat. Focuses down to a dry, almost tannic end, and likely to close up after a couple of years. Life around 11-14 years.

1999

gentle fruit aroma, with richness. Stone fruit attack, is long. Dried skin flavours, good harmony.

1998

full yellow robe. Peach, cheese, greengage plum aromas show on the nose which is evolving well and openly. There is gradual change on the palate – honey, apricot, buttoned up gras and a grippy finale. There is good density in the gras, and great freshness also. It is a bit dumb. Served blind by Jean, I think it seems as if it is from a sunny year, perhaps 2001. “There was spring frost this year; it would drink well with any risotto,” Jean Gonon. 2025-26 Apr 2016

1996

yellow heart in a fine robe with legs down the glass. Only slight evolution on the nose, which shows classic mature white Rhône damp wool and some exotic fruits such as pineapple. The palate is complex: it is lithe, has lovely gras, is long and finish is good and complete. This is notable, an arresting wine. Good for sauced dishes, fish, and of course soft cheese. To 2019  Tasted in Tain, Nov 2011  Previously **(*) solid straw aroma, cheesy too. Brown sugar, dries at end, some oiliness. Overt age by 03/03, but can come back eg around 2006-07.

1995

damp wool, wax, barley aromas. Attractive palate – this is a really sweet mover, has a good cool texture, belle finesse. The palate is ahead of the nose. Still in the game – just. Good with mushroom dishes, also cumin spices. “This was a balanced year,” Jean Gonon. To 2014. Dec 2009 Previously ***

1983

firm, straw-hued, strong and solid colour. The nose isn’t entirely fresh – airs of cheese, nuts. The palate has the same old-fashioned nuttiness, and suggests that it has been oak cask fermented and/or stored. The balance is correct, though, as the wine runs on its pre-destined way very correctly. I would prefer some young Saint-Joseph fruit such as you can find chez Jean-Louis Grippat. Restaurant Routier Roger Lanaz, between Tain & Romans-sur-Isère, March 1986