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The Wines

1960s-1970s Syrah from La Croix, Les Greffieux, Les Murets, destemmed, 4 week vinification at up to 28-30°C (until early 2000s was 12-15 days), part vat emptying/refilling, then regular pumping overs, aged 50% 3-year 228-litre oak casks, 50% 3-year 400-litre oak casks 12 months (until mid-2010s aged 33% each new, 1-2 year 228-litre oak casks 18 months), unfined, filtered, formerly called just Hermitage, formerly Les Nobles Rives

2018 ()

(casks) dark red colour; the nose offers a low-key elegance in its raspberry fruit airs, a savoury note that is connected to the warmth of the vintage. The palate moves freely on an easy wave of red berry fruit, with smoked tannins along the late moments. It’s a trim, slightly mainstream Hermitage with almost more weight on the nose than the attack – it develops weight as it goes on the palate. From 2022. 2037-39 Nov 2019

2017

(casks) purple-mauve density in the dark red robe. The nose is ripe, with a damp aspect to it, soaked fruits, raspberry notably, present. It has obvious scale from the cellar work. The palate gives an instant hit of red fruits with sweetness through them, bears mild tannins, toffee flavours towards the finish. It’s a Hermitage for stews, without the definition of place necessarily. From late-2020. 2033-35 Dec 2018

2016 ()

(casks) healthy dark red colour. Black olives and beef stock line up on the nose, a prune fruit, soaked or liqueur fruit, damp zone behind. The palate has a squelchy, fluid attack, a liberal delivery of squeezy content, picking up a low-key graininess from its tannins. It’s a safely centred Hermitage from the middle-eastern zones in style – it has that ease. There is sound heart, and it represents its place correctly. From 2020. 2029-31 Nov 2017

2015

(casks) shiny dark red, a handsome robe. The bouquet is dense, but well lifted, a good combination: the black fruit such as cassis is sleek, carries a note of oak-varnish, has a spring in its step. The palate offers a nicely copious, easy roll of black stone fruits, with pliant tannins tucked into it. The fruit has a good point of intensity. This will be charming, has the supple fat of the vintage and the smooth texture of its place. 13.5°. From 2019. 2028-30 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(casks) dark red robe. The bouquet gives a simmered, closely packed blackberry fruit aroma, with some strength in its oaking. The fruit aroma persists, has depth. The palate is broad and holds a pretty rich content. It builds in weight towards the finish. This shows some of the inner force of the hill. The finish is clear, and the length is successful, waves of berry fruit lasting nicely. It has good shape, is a true Hermitage. From 2019. 2028-30  Oct 2015

2013

(casks) dark robe. Has an oily, lightly scented aroma, gives deeply soaked plums, mulberry – a sound, safe start. The palate fruit is a touch on the “high” side, has a flavour of simmered red berries. It is pretty fresh through the palate, while a certain meatiness underpins it. A sound Hermitage, without the depth and flair of the leading rank wines. It has a compact, fresh finish, rounded enough, nice length. Can be decanted. From 2017. 2024-26  Jan 2015

2012 ()

dark red. Peppery aroma, a touch vegetal, on the nose, a simmered dark red berry air within. The bouquet doesn’t suggest really fully ripe crop. Likewise, the palate is peppery, with a brief centre of plum fruit, the pepperiness pretty constant through it. This struggles to present proper gras richness to the drinker. It has a tame, rather dilute finish. This hasn’t got it, will never have it now – I have tried it three times, the last one searching for more. White flag at three gos, reminds me of the supremely talented footballer George Best in bed with the model, champagne bottles everywhere, and the room service waiter asking him, “where did it all go wrong, George?” 2021-22  Jan 2015 Previously Nov 2013 ** (casks) (casks) quite a dark red; savoury, arther oily air – a light drift of cassis fruit, wee vanilla on the nose. It is more light than deep, is straightforward. The palate is pliant, not striking, is a tame red Hermitage, where the matter drifts and fails to get a real foothold. Mild late tannins show. Disappointing, light weight. 13°. From 2015. 2021-22 Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) (casks, malo not yet) good red fruit, crunchy nose, three-quarter depth, peppery. Attractive, aromatic early fruit; it ends safely, roundly. Has a plump centre and a ripe couch of tannin. 2025-27  Nov 2012

2011 ()

dark red, slight evolution. Has an open aroma - a broad display of mulled fruits, that have a plum, somewhat Pinot Noir nature to them. A low-key floral note hovers. The palate is easy going from the start, the texture supple. There is some precise, fine acidity keeping it on the move, and another floral appearance as it ends with an assembly of dark tannins. Low-key Hermitage, with the detail, however, to keep one interested. The fruit could extend further, but it will benefit from another two years. Decant it. From mid-2016. 2027-29 Dec 2014  Previously Nov 2012 *** full red. Has an air of simmered raspberry fruit – an immediate offer of Hermitage poise and refinement, the fruit stylish – and there is a criss-cross of flowers across the nose as well. The palate can be entertaining when only three of four years’ old; the red fruit is oaked, vanilla-marked, but its essence is squeezy and sweet-noted, not to the point of excess. It takes on ripe, still dusty-granular tannins at the end. It runs consecutively through the stages of the palate, but the main critique is that more fruit and depth would lift it up a gear. It is open now, a workmanlike wine that could have more content. 2023-25  Nov 2012

2010

sound red robe. Has a mulled red fruits air with agreeable lift – the bouquet has a very lucid quality, is clean-cut. This is a stable, promising nose, still very young, shows a little bonny oiliness. The palate carries good, embedded content, which shows flair after half way as it loosens from its early concentration. It runs well to the line, captures the depth and the freshness of the vintage. A grass roots, genuine Hermitage. The balance is good, and there is lots of juice to enjoy. No hurry with this: decant it as well. 13°. 2033-36  Jan 2015 Previously Nov 2012 **** good, dark red. Has a softly scented red plum aroma with a discreet undertow of grainy, dusty granite. There are airs of smoky bacon, a coating of mulberry coulis – this bouquet is stylish, round and inviting, not forced. The palate has genuine density – it is ripe and textured, takes on a fine pebble moment from its smoky, aromatic tannins. The aftertaste brings in primrose, rose. There is a tender make-up at the end, after the big debut. Good Hermitage, that represents the hill well, and lasts well, too. It is closing down now. From 2015. Decant this. 2027-30  Nov 2012

2009 ()

dark, bright and suggestive robe. Blackberry, crème de menthe, chocolate air with a hint of violet, also raspberry fruit – the bouquet is not that profound, and perhaps it suffers from two other senior cuvées taking precedence. The palate fruit is stylish, shows good pedigree in its moving brightness and supple, textured appeal. Close to ready, is absorbing its tannins. The fruit is wholesome, genuine. An easy to drink Hermitage. From spring 2012. 13.5°. 2020-21  Nov 2011

2008 ()

full robe, dark heart. Benevolent, creamy black berry jam aroma that is inviting, is an open book, has a few salty, damp and gamey implications that indicate a crop that wasn`t super-ripe nor spotlessly healthy. The palate starts roundly, ends on flinty-mineral, oak and prune associations. OK length, not exuberant, and it tightens right at the finish. From late 2012: it is running at two speeds – the nose is open and ahead of the more cautious palate. A medium-weight, clean and modern Hermitage, one that lacks true depth after half way, but has raised its game in the last 12 months. Most interesting around 2014-16. 13°. 2019-21 Nov 2010 Previously Nov 2009 ** purple notes in a young robe; blackberry aroma with a soft air of appeal, and local, tangly, brambly fruit present. The attack is a touch grainy – this is not a big year. The black fruit is a bit on the stretch, with some oak under support. Direct wine with moments of pause, relative softness. It tends to curl at the end. A wait and see wine – from 2012. 13°. 2017-18 Nov 2009

2007 ()

full, dark robe, a black centre. Elderflower, blackberry and cassis aroma, travels with nice pepper and licorice companions. The palate has muscly, interesting black fruit with a definite sense of purpose: it is rather like 2001 in that regard. All systems go for a good Hermitage here, with local, “dark” sensations, and sound clarity, length of black fruit and oak-tannin. Sound balance. Has clearly got over its early charge of oak. 13°. I find it more aromatic and a bit finer than the 2006 also tasted today. From 2011. 2023-25 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 ** (casks) full, bright red; crackly, active aroma that is led by its charcoal and oak; has an interior “fire” of matter, is charged up. The palate is also in thrall to its oak, which delineates it, the fruit inside being submissive. It ends on a tight charcoal taste – I find the oaking clumsy, rendering this a wine that never had a youth. The fruit inside is pretty clear, but there isn`t enough richness to fend off the advances of the oak. From 2012. 2018-19 Dec 2008

2006

dark robe, touch of top matt in the tone. Game enters left on the nose, mixed in with a brooding depth of black fruit, black soil, has a good, continuing depth. Raspberry and fungal airs here, too, a good mix-up. The palate is more upright, tight than the nose, but advances and broadens after the cautious start. Blackberry fruit emerges from the southern style backdrop. Still has oak traces on the aftertaste, but there is local feel in this. It is moving into the zone where it can accompany hearty foods. Still has some of the 2006 acidity down its sides. 13.5°. 2022-24 Nov 2009

2005 ()

dark red, plum colour; ripe red berries, mulled fruits aroma that prolongs well. The palate has cooked fruits with plenty of life in them, and a peppery, oak-tannin presence towards the finish. Is still unmade, unfurnished. Is a little edgy, which poses questions about the security of its richness. From 2010. 2019-21 Aug 2007, London Previously June 2007 **(*) (casks) dark robe; has a smoky, muscled aroma, reflects meat drippings or stock, has some sweetness, reminds me of beef spare ribs. On the palate this is the softer style of Hermitage from the less granite areas of the middle to east end of the appellation. Has flesh, and round black fruit with a little late floral appeal. Flows along calmly, but there is no real kick: a wine for almost forgetful, easy drinking. Can be on the go from 2008, early in its life. Is true to its eastern zone, I would say. 2018-20 June 2007

2004 ()

very dark robe, likewise the bouquet - some brooding dark fruits, crushed black cherries; is a noticeably clean aroma, very purely cut. Fruit gains weight and complexity through palate, lasts well. Good potential here, the wine stretches out and the fruit and oak work well. Modern wine of cellar technique - is a little 'spotless' and international - the air shows this up. Has a rich content, though, but needs leaving until 2008-09. 2022-25. April 2006

2002 ()

quite full robe; smoky, broad, compact bouquet. Interesting cooked red berry fruit on palate, some depth. Rather dry from its vinification and the oak. Decent structure, lively at two years. Esp 2006 on. 2013-15

2001

soaked, oily fruit nose with mineral touches, earth and violets. Good black fruit centre, with some steel-tannin on the fringe - likeable. Prune flavour within. Is quite rich, elegant warmth. Balance sound, solid quality. 2018-20 March 2005 Previously *** compact red fuits, smoky/minted outcrops on bouquet. Quite well-cut red fruit, plus decent stylish weight behind. Brewed middle texture. Fair width, tannins flourish on end, where is fresh. Oak/tar finish. 2007 on. 2017-20

2000

warm, sappy fruit aroma, clean, bit of smoke; black stewed fruit, quite warm, clean-cut, tar end. Air narrows, dries it. 2010-13