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The Wines

1965-75 Syrah, mainly L'Hermite (granite), Le Méal(alluvial, galet stone soils at 200 metres), Bessards (granite), Greffieux, Beaume, Les Murets, La Croix (alluvial soils), 25 day concrete vat vinification at 28°C, regular pumping overs, part vat emptying/refilling at start of maceration phase, malo in oak, aged new 228-litre oak casks 16-18 months, unfined, filtered, first wine 1992, “drink with red meats, marinated game dishes, strong cheese”, 8-14,000 b

2018

(casks) full, dark red; the bouquet is sizeable, on scale rather than finesse – it carries soaked fruits’ airs, griottes or soaked cherries, prune, stone fruits in the mix. The palate is generous, immediate, packed with layered content, black fruits and a note of menthol late down the line. The tannins are well ripened, contribute a little energy, so the finish is a running affair. From 2023, decant it. 2043-45 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks) very full red colour. The bouquet is sweet, carries spicing, dampness, an iron filing presence, the fruit resembling raspberry, the fruit hidden for now. It has scale, is oaked. The palate is lush, shows grilling, determined red-fruited content which doesn’t yield much, is closely packed. There are notes of blood, iron towards the finish, which brings some cut. This is punchy, unbridled Hermitage which will start to show secondary influences quite early. From spring 2021. 2037-39 Dec 2018

2016 ()

full red robe; the nose shows reduction, has a top of ripe fruit, lower down is cool, mineral-tinted. It gives the image of rather large berries that have been rained upon. The palate runs with a cool, iodine stream of red fruited content, crisp tannins in tow, that need time to refine. It has spark, carries well, is linear for now. The finish is lightly chewy, making its way. It holds good juice deep within. It is Nordic, promising, has character, isn’t evident, needs decanting, and setting aside until 2022-23. 2039-41 Nov 2019 Previously ****(*) (casks) full, dark red colour. There is a beefy front to the wide nose, with a safe, condensed layer of raspberry liqueur style fruits, with a black tar edge from the oak. The palate is well-filled, the content delivered with some grace, pedigree, so there is a subtle intricacy to it. Cooked red stone fruits line the palate, and there’s a neat gras ball of red fruited flavour on the aftertaste, which ticks over well. The tannins have definite thrust; with the oak they make the finish assertive now, the fruit behind. Hence leave this until 2021 to start to appreciate it better, with its fusion occurring at a steady pace. It’s worth studying closely when you drink it. 2032-35 Nov 2017

2015 ()

inky, impenetrable robe, black and dark it is. The nose is duly solid, sealed, as a deep set of black fruit with black olives airs as if from southern climes. This is nourishing on the palate, a real firm Hermitage that stands its ground well. It is in harmony with its close-knit matter and the length is good. From 2021. 2039-41 Dec 2018 Previously Oct 2016 ****(*) (new 228-litre casks) deep robe, with sheen. There is an oily appeal on the bouquet, an essence of the south via its smooth stream of ripe blackcurrant fruit, and a note of licorice backs it up. It’s a full, silken start. The palate sequels seamlessly from the nose, bears delicious black berry fruit with a caress of tannin wrapped like a glove around it. This has a smashing elegance, is a real sphere in the making. It purrs along effortlessly. 13.7°. From mid-2019. 2036-38 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(casks) full, dark red robe. The bouquet is hardly revealing its hand today: there is a cassis, blackberry, pure fruit inner, with oak on the outer side of it, and a light sprinkling of herbes de Provence. A lurking meaty note speaks of the noble end of the hill and its depth. The palate is well orchestrated, starting on pretty fresh black fruit that skims along for now. The finish is rocky, goes clack. Its various roads are heading towards one another. It has the stylish bearing of 2014, and its enjoyable purity of fruit. Coming from much of the western end, there is a pedigree in its tannins and from its little touches such as flowers, herbs. 13.5°. From 2019-20. 2031-33  Oct 2015

2013

good dark red robe. The nose gives an engaging, oily, blackberry bearing aroma, a zap of licorice. It holds an intense line. The palate runs with wavy, liberal fruit, from half way picking up grainy tannins and their powdered dust. There is a light aromatic, floral presence. Very much starting out: there is a glow on the finish, along with tar and oak. A wine of some character and stubbornness, a dark brooder for now. The fact that it is long is encouraging. From 2019. 2031-33  Oct 2015 Previously Jan 2015 **** (casks) good dark red. Varnish, ink spots on the nose, prune and blackberry, deep enough to have some mystery about it. The palate is young, bears sleek, well juiced dark fruit, gras richness and pretty fine and smooth, integrated tannins. The finish mixes a fluid fruit with a chewy quality. It will knit together well. It signs off on a grainy-chalky, clear note, a murmur of heat. Has scope, promise, can gain weight. From late 2017. 15.8  2028-30  Jan 2015 

2012 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED – WINE IN THE HERMITAGE GRAND CLASSIQUE TO GIVE THAT MORE DEPTH

2011

sober dark red; bosky top airs feature above a couch of fine fruit on the nose, also sizzled bacon – there is a definite “darkness” in the bouquet. The palate is backward, runs with liberal tannins for now, the fruit in its second register. It is going through  something of an early years turmoil now, but the elements are present for fusion and a complete wine. It carries the smoky gravity of the West End of the hill, and ends with a drumbeat of power, so is faithful to its place. Oak is present. This is all about potential. It fills the palate very well, along and across, even now. From 2018. 2029-32 Dec 2014 Previously Nov 2013 ***(*) (casks) shiny, quite full red robe. An oak-baked brioche bread airs sweeps above its mulled fruits, along with thyme and herbs, even tarragon seasoning. The nose lays out its case carefully. The palate holds agreeable, supple fruit with some flair, is swimming alongside an oak lining, and will tune in together from 2016, say. Attractive, not that profound, but it moves well. It ends roundly, with some sweet richness. Likeable, pretty authentic, even if not striking. 13°. 2023-24  Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 **** (casks) dark red. Nicely secure depth of bouquet here – the cooked black fruits have a low-key sweet ease such as crème de cassis or blackcurrant, with spots of licorice and rose-hip. The palate is curvy, tasty, open now: oily blackberry fruit lies at its heart with a slow take-up of flexible tannins. It ends on a darker, tar-charcoal note from its oak. The cellar prevails today, although the grain touches on the finish encourage more sense of terroir. From 2016 – allow time to be less worked on and international. It is long, and finishes on meat gravy, beefstock notes. 2027-29  Nov 2012

2010

this hovers between 5 and 6 stars, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it each time I have tasted it in bottle, including in London in Dec 2014. The robe is full, dark, and promises well. This is a “here we go” Bouquet: it has a baked quality from a deep vintage, a proper depth. It is still mysterious in its youth: it gives oily, southern suggestions, a smooth and concentrated black berry jam at its heart, and notes of animal. The palate presents a large, rounded sphere of flavour, all wrapped closely together currently. The gras is very well installed, and shows in its fleshy, complete final stages. This is very good, really authentic Hermitage tasted facing Le Méal – what a privilege. It captures freshness and clarity with all its effortless concentration, and holds a lovely mid-palate sweet spot. STGT wine: it doesn’t have any fancy gimmicks, and speaks highly of the vintage and the hill. Its balance allows it to drink now, but there is a lot more, and more variety, to unfurl. It shows refined southern gras richness as it ends, with some oak tar. Buy, buy, drink, drink this. Take your time with it. It is great for parents with children born in 2010. 13.5°. 2037-40  Jan 2015  Previously Nov 2012 ***** very close to 6 stars: dark, sustained red colour. Has a wide escarpment bouquet – it runs right across the glass, brings in roast beef, an Indian tea density, the fruit cooked and compact above all. There are drifts of violet. The width of the aroma is striking. The palate starts on a large bundle, a mass of gras richness, a big roll of black berry with smoke and tar in it. There are very good lines after half way – it shows the balanced clarity of the vintage. A strong runner over another 20+ years. Has proper Hermitage depth, and flourishes on the finish, a joyous abundance there. Its oak is absorbing thanks to its gras. No hurry – from 2016 at the earliest. Especially 2019 on. 2034-36 Nov 2012  Previously Nov 2011 *** (casks) rather sombre dark robe. Has a wide, attacking bouquet, is oily, concerted and comes with oak-tar and pine present. Stylish, clearly juiced fruit at the outset, clad in streamlined, ample oaking. Shows no real distinguishing features for now, needs leaving until mid-2014 to gain more local feedback. It is a touch distant, and not a real get down and dirty sort of wine. I prefer many 2010 Cornas to this, for example. 2024-26 Nov 2011

2009

dark, layered, shiny robe. Has a classy, rolling, inviting bouquet, offering a warm roundness of black fruit and sun. Its sweetness is of the south – I can hear the cicadas here. There is a light toffee influence from its oak, and also meat gravy. The attack is rich, fleshy, has lots of flavour, with a mix of black fruit, prune and meat stock, red meat. Good, present tannins are seamless inside it until showing through in its late moments. Oak grips on the aftertaste, where there are flavours of southern herbs, too. This will show good variety of aroma and flavour in the period 2018-2022. The fruit moves well. From 2014, but no hurry. 13.5°. 2028-29  Nov 2011  Previously Nov 2010 (casks) **** just give it four stars: sleek dark robe. Close-knit, dense nose that offers brewed black fruits, oak-tar airs, damp and mineral notions also. Wide start to the palate – this is a filled wine, with a hearty, on the table declaration of intent. Its length comes from its power and ripeness. Has a black cherry flavour - Morello City. A little constructed rather than free and easy – it could be more natural. From 2014. 2026-29 Nov 2010

2008 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2007 ()

full, dark robe. The nose has lift – black cherries, oak still, and notes of tea leaf, mineral. There is a swirl of oiliness and dark chocolate. The palate is settling well, has the streamlined nature of the year, a sleek style of dark fruit. The oak is a bit heavy for it. The gras richness has style. It bears closely packed berry fruit that has been elegantly assembled. Air helps the oak to back off a little in the mid-palate, though the finish is still on tar and oak. Decant this. 13.5°. 2024-26 Jan 2015 Previously Nov 2009 ***(*) comfortably full robe. Wide, even a bit stretched nose, is full inside, shows a smoky dark fruit and licorice, some oiliness. The palate has an upright outer, but Hermitage gras lies on the inside – this delivers promise with its current oaked austerity. The oak renders it not local for now, but there is a southern richness in it: we are far from Côte-Rôtie here. The length is sound. There is a nice resurfacing of blackberry fruit on the very last moments of the aftertaste. 13°. From mid-2012. 2023-25 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **(*) (casks) big, wide bottle – BOO! Full robe, black tints. There is plenty in the bouquet – soaked raisin and ripe fruits, dates, Christmas cake aromas – this nose is full, grounded. The palate gives an even run of black fruit, its centre intense, before a layer of tannins and prune flavours. It takes on some floral lift as it goes – a welcome note of delicacy. It finishes on its oak, with a loose-limbed richness around it. The balance is fair. The tannins have been tamed already, now the remaining issue is the oak. From 2012. Has potential for the patient. 2023-25 Dec 2008

2006 ()

(casks) dark-toned robe; brewed, chocolatey nose – it is deep, shows abundant oaking, and has an intense raisin note, also sandalwood. The palate suggests this comes from the middle zones of Hermitage such as Diognières – it has sweet, full and pliant fruit. Its oak sides fit it quite comfortably now. There is quite a lot of matter here – it can do well, with a steady evolution ahead of it. It ends clearly. From 2009-10. 2021-24 Dec 2007

2005 ()

(casks) dark robe; persistent aroma that is sweet, with a coffee-floral air – is well set, well assured. The start is softly fruited, and the flavour good and compact, sealed in. A tight set of tannins mingles with the crunchy black fruit late in the sequence, and there is some of the vintage freshness towards the end. Both balance and length are sound. The flavour persists, with dark fruits and pepper to the fore. Has a touch of class. Esp 2010 onwards. 2023-25 June 2007

2003 ()

sound, dark red; oily, above all inky, full nose that is broad, copious, shows obvious ripeness and plentiful features, an expanse of aroma – a great bouquet with mulberry, big red berry fruit in it. There is a real essence of the grape, the inside if it, here. The palate is going well – this is hearty but also very textured. Its thick coating is loosening nicely, as it motors sweetly along. It ends roundly, with some salty notes. Interesting, full wine suited to game, but also poulet de Bresse (chicken from Bresse in the east of France), veal. 14.5° - indicates the high heat of the year. 2024-26  Nov 2013  Previously (cask) **** black fruit, smoke and bacon aroma that mixes minerality and ripeness. Full, savoury attack, real richness. Correct length, tannins hold it together. Blackcurrant liqueur aftertaste. Drinks well and fully young. 2018-21 Dec 2004

2001

sound, dark tints in robe. Good dense bouquet with variety that includes tea, rose-hip, soft black fruits, raspberry. Scented fruit start to palate, good mineral and tannic siding, leaves a licorice, but also nicely juiced aftertaste. Beau Vin, with the acidity to live well. Coming together now. Esp 2008 on. 2018-21 March 2005 Previously **** smoke/leather with core black fruit aroma, good potential. Well-textured attack, wild fruits. Sleek black fruit through it, sophisticated style. More local feel around 2008. Sound volume, tannin here. 2020-23

2000

stewed, ample bouquet, berry jam, overt. Compact start on palate, texture quite damp. Restrained warmth, rather too brewed. Has absorbed oak quite quickly. Tannins create interest at end, smoky finish. 2014-16

1999

dark fruits, light pepper/mint, full bouquet. Firm attack, compact, a closed big wine. Marked tannin, but rich towards finish. Plenty of chewy matter. Big, classic old style Hermitage, hearty. Affinity with St Julien here. 2017-21

1996

the robe has a red robe base, tiling at the top. The bouquet has an air of soaked fruits, damp leaves and smoking such as in Lapsang Souchong tea, graphite and clove. The palate achieves a gentle, mineral mix with a floral influence towards the finish. This is very vintage accurate. It is a bundle of varied prompts, lots of them. 13°. 2025-27  Oct 2015