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The Wines

1960s Syrah on Mazards, 1940s Syrah on Combe, also Chaillot, Pied la Vigne (oldest 1960s, 1970s), Chataignier/Saint Pierre (2008 and younger), 2-3 week whole bunch fermentation of Mazards & Combe, and Pied la Vigne & Chaillot together in small concrete vats at up to 30°-31°C, Chataignier (young vines) fermented in steel vat, natural yeasts, pumping overs the first 2-3 days, then cap punching by foot, SO2 not applied until after malo, 2-3 months in resin & steel vats for the malo, then from 2009 aged 50% 600-litre (rising), 50% 228-litre (falling) 2-8 year oak casks 15-16 months, then 3 weeks in vat before bottling, (until 2006 was aged 4-14 year 228-litre oak casks, just a few 600-litre casks 17-18 months), unfined, unfiltered, 6,000-11,200 b

2016

quite a dark red; the nose is smoky, with fine and cool berry fruit, cassis-blueberry, plus a mild violet hint, licorice. The palate is fresh, attacks on restrained dark red fruits, is direct, streamlined, naked. This is spinal wine as it stands, some Burgundian tendencies. It grips freshly on the finish. Allow it time to amplify, so leave until 2022. Decant it. 13.5°. 10,900 b. Bottled 13 Feb 2018. 2039-42 Dec 2018

2015

1) Chataignier, pure granite, young vines, used 600-litre cask) *** dark red robe. Has a calm nose, chocolate, simmered black berries and cherries present. The palate has a coulis flavour, coated moments, and delivers real late tannic crunch, is long. This has the elements of a good vineyard in 20 years time. “The young vines were the ones that suffered this year because they grow on very rocky ground at Saint-Pierre – their bunches were small, the grapes were small and the degree was low – 12.7°,” Ludovic Izérable. 16 years 2) Mazards (the last crop of the 1919 Serine, plus 1970s, low lying vines) & Combe (1940s, flat land vines) steel tank **** dark robe. Attractive nose, it is serene with a black berry lozenge sweetness, a hint of red meat. The palate holds bonny juice, is textured and full, its tannins fitting in well and well absorbed – they add discreet depth. Gras in plentiful supply here. 18 years. 3) (Pied la Vigne (1960s, 1970s) & Chaillot, fibre glass tank) **** dark colour. Laid back, happily profound nose, coulis and well ripened dark berries, a hint of jam depth. The attack is juicy, runs with gras until the tannins have their say, here comes crunch time. Promising, full wine with thick content: sunny days in the glass. 19 years. 11,200 bottles, a good, full crop. A new 600-litre oak cask used for the first time. 2035-37   Dec 2015

2014 ()

1) (Pied la Vigne (1960s, 1970s) & Chaillot, used 600-litre cask, not racked for a year) ***(*) sound red, magenta colour. Reduction shows in quite a thick aroma, offers attractive layers of black, dark berry fruit. The palate has a springy debut, is nicely savoury, has a near gourmand stretch in mid-palate, a fine finish with a touch of oak. Its grainy finish hasn’t yet been resolved. It keeps going well. 14 years. 2) Mazards (the last crop of the 1919 Serine, plus 1970s, low lying vines) & Combe (1940s, flat land vines) used 600-litre cask just **** dark red; charming blackberry, soft floral air, a bouquet with a tender curve, one that has an old vines calmness of depth. The palate gives expressive, clear fruit with wrapped around tannins that are lively, and deliver late grain. It is fresh as it closes, saline and crunchy. Lots of life here. 18 years. 3) Chataignier, pure granite, young vines, used 228-litre cask) *** dark red. Compact, cooked black berries aroma, gentle floral notes beyond that. The palate delivers springy fruit in a darting attack. Vivacity here; it skips the odd beat as it goes, ends with good vigour, a slight drop-off in juice there. This is sound, especially given the extreme youth of the vines. It is maximum 10% of the wine. 14 years. Very, very low yields, just 9,150 bottles this year. 2030-32  Dec 2015

2013

dark red. Has a nicely wavy blackberry aroma with cards to play – the nose is just peeping out, has a soil/floral backing. The palate is tight, crunchy, close-knit: this is dark, direct wine with juice pretty intense. It is camouflaged by its rocky surrounds. It gives a clear zing, while its tannins are demanding, with dry notes in them for now. The shape is upright. Take your time here: it is long and good and fresh. 13°. “It was more demonstrative; it has density, freshness, structure, is very Cornasien,” Ludovic Izérable. From 2019. 2032-34  Dec 2015

2011 ()

dark red, purple tints. Warm, broad bouquet with a soft, floral incline, wee notes of smoke. The palate is full, assertive; the flavour centres on black raisin, cooked black fruits, backed by gritty, smoky tannins. It has a compact, solid Cornas finish with a strong mineral influence. The tannic structure whacks in on the palate. Good and genuine, will benefit from time – from spring 2016. 13.5°. “It is very Cornas in style, very structured, has a spinal column, just a little astringency from the use of whole bunches, no destemming. It is persistent, the balance good,” Ludovic Izérable. Bottled Feb 2013. 2026-28  Dec 2013

2010 ()

(Mazards, Combe together, 600-litre cask) **** full purple, violet red robe. Beyond its slight reduction is a lovely sweet aroma, smiling Syrah blackberry and cassis, a curvy bouquet. The palate is also curvy, holds blackberry fruit with quiet tannins at first, are well-ripened and show up on a clear finish. Good balance. No loose parts to this – its fruit is bright, juicy, tasty, and secure. “The Combe brings fruit to the Mazards austerity,” L.I. (65% Pied la Vigne, 35% Chaillot, 600-litre cask) ****(*) purple darkness in robe. Honeyed nose – presents a rounded fruit, its fruit inset, not showing. Good build up through the palate – it is spinal and structured, travels further than the Mazards/Combe duo wine. Bears dark fruits, stone fruits, has grip. Tannins cluster closely on the finish. Then the 2 together in a 228-litre cask: ****(*) good dark red, minor black tints. Smoky, wee game airs, black cherry – a solid bouquet, secure depth. Bright fruit start to palate, good acidity and freshness, lively tannins. Likeable fruit here, a balanced wine. “Similar acidity to 2009, but tastes more fresh,” L.I. From 2015. 2029-31 July 2011

2009 ()

dark tinted robe. Brooding smokiness in a wide, closed nose. Has a sustained layer of black fruit, a solid couch of lightly polished leather, also black olive, and the violets of Cornas. Firm, thorough black fruit on the palate, and it is also precise, like the 2008. Widens and eases a tiny bit to offer reserved richness towards the finish. Has a fullness that measured, and will take its time to come through. Tannins are involved, are showing dark grain and life today. Good, complete Cornas, true, STGT wine. 14°, which I consider high for Cornas, an example of the scale of this vintage with its ripe, dense harvest. There is authority in this 2009, and it shows more depth and fullness than some vintages. 2028-30. July 2011

2008 ()

respectable red robe, a little density at centre. There is peppery life in the nose, an even layer of black fruit under that, some smokiness and agreeable tar airs. I like the palate – there is fine grain, really precise black fruit, it is clear and leaves no loose ends. The black fruit is enjoyable, has an elegantly tasty heart. It ends on the slight dust of 2008 tannins. Really good, exuberant fruit inside this. Fresh dance wine, needs two years. Best before 2019. 2022-23 “It is closing, is less voluminous than it was in its first year,” Ludovic Izérable. 13°. 30% 600-litre oak casks this year. July 2011

2007

nice, bright purple robe. Attractively fruited nose with a touch of old cask earthiness within, is still very young. Good, direct fruit with sound stuffing around it on the palate. An STGT wine – wham! Good red fruit lie at its heart. Has a slightly dry finish from the used oak raising, with cherry red fruit on the aftertaste. From 2012. 2019-21 €16. 17 day vinification this year – a maximum time. 20% 600-litre oak casks this year. Dec 2009

2006 ()

mid-depth red; has a smoky, reserved red fruits aroma that comes with floral traces and a little game (gibier). The palate debut is with grainy fruit that has a wiry nature all through. It ends on a little tar. This is still finding its way, since its grain and tannic inset are still prominent. Traditional style Cornas. From mid-2010. An honest wine with a rather dry texture. Only 228-litre casks this year. 2016-18 Dec 2008

2005

raspberry robe with black at its core; stone black fruits with some game and hedgerow berries in the bouquet. Scented, violet-trimmed black fruits start the palate, then it tightens and shows its whole bunch nature late on, with some peppery, rather assertive tannin. Finishes quite clearly – the fruit is still on the premises there. Has a pretty tight grip. Try in 2009-10: there is a slight question about its tannins and their role – their ability to soften and enter, so there is something of a race between tannins and content as it ages. 2017-18 Dec 2007 €15 from the cellar

2004

this wine keeps on doing well. Mild, red, raspberry robe; wee reductive note on the bouquet, which means an earthy note; there is sealed, gummy fruit within. Good poise on the palate, which is very well knit. The fruits are red, plum-like, and a bit closed. Wholesome wine, with bonny, traditional fruit. There is not as much tannin as usual, but it displays very good, tasty fruit. STGT wine. 2018-19. “It has become more available since June 2007,” L.I. Dec 2007 €15 from the cellar. Previously Dec 2006 *** quite a bright robe; pretty, lithe, smoky fruit aroma, although it seems reserved now. The palate is soundly weighted, with nice sides – the fruit pops out again towards the finish, and there is a good flow through it. Ends on some red berries and violet. Expect good, down-home drinking in its second stage, or pretty fruit from late 2007. Is richer than many 2004s, and better. “It was more open until recently,” L.Izérable 2018-20 Dec 2006 Previously April 2006 *** bosky, woods aroma with hedge berry fruits - promising in a leathery way. Rather angular start, with the vintage shape. The fruit emerges from around mid-palate, recovers on to the finish. Lithe wine with a fresh stamp, is a little military but can get itself together from about mid-2008. 2019-21. April 2006

2003

(cask) dense bouquet, dried leaves to come; brewed fruit, different texture to normal, southern, rocky outcrop time. 2009 on? 15 years, maybe.

2002

(casks) floral/meaty mix on nose; quite firm red fruit, cool texture, some tannin. Fair length. Esp 2006-07. 2012-14

2001

stewed, raspberry/meat edged aroma; raspberry fruit, live and chewy, with sinew. Correct, genuine, has mineral/fungal touches. Some end acidity. 2007 on. 2017-19

1999

stewed black fruits/violet on deep nose; stylish, tasty raspberry fruit, good fresh, mineral end, bit of heat. Tannins sound. True wine, STGT. 2017-20