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2013 SOUTHERN RHÔNE CLOSE-UP

THE PARISH CHURCH OF GIGONDAS. THE FIRST CHURCH WAS BUILT ON THE SITE IN THE ELEVENTH CENTURY, THE MAIN RESTORATION COMPLETED IN 1759 AFTER THE RELIGIOUS WARS OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

INDEX

1. CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITE

2. GIGONDAS

3. CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE RED

 

1. 2013 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITES

2013 is a good, fresh vintage at Châteauneuf. The wines carry well along the palate, and there are some that represent very good aperitif drinking, as well as those that dig in and present southern depth and richness – wines for a life over a decade, and suited to drinking à table.

APERITIF, EARLY STYLE LEADERS

Among the aperitif wines, I would highlight the **** CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE, the **** DOMAINE DU PÈRE CABOCHE, the ***(*) CHÂTEAU FORTIA – all three w.o.w. wines – and the highly agreeable ***(*) LES CLEFS D’OR, aka DOMAINE JEAN DEYDIER & FILS, which is a real, easy delight, the ***(*) DOMAINE DE LA RONCIÈRE and the ***(*) PIERRE USSEGLIO & FILS. These are all wines that I have personally tasted.

TRADITIONAL, FULL STYLE LEADERS

Among the more deep-seated, more traditional wines, I especially point to the ***** CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL VIEILLES VIGNES ROUSSANNE – great depth and a long-term project – the **** LES CAILLOUX (80%+ ROUSSANNE) from a domaine I always rate highly in both colours, the **** and STGT DOMAINEs BOIS DE BOURSAN, CHANTE CIGALE and GRAND TINEL and the elegant richness of the **** DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE.

JAMES LAWTHER tasted the majority of these wines in October 2014, and I have tasted around 35 since then. James’s notes are therefore those dated Oct 2014 in the Leading Wines table below.

LEADING 2013 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE WHITES

***** Chât Beaucastel Roussanne V Vignes   2038-40 02/15 serious, fresh, complete  
***** Dom Font de Michelle Etienne Gonnet   2028-29 10/14  v gd fruit; classy  
****(*) Château de Beaucastel   2034-36 11/14  stylish, slow gainer  
****(*) Domaine Saint-Préfert   2025-27 01/15  classy, gd gras, fresh
****  Les Cailloux   2028-30 02/15  dense, robust, clear  
****  Château de La Gardine   2023-25 01/15 

elegant, balanced 

****  Château de La Gardine Marie Léoncie  2026-28 03/15  southern heart, oaking  
****  Château Jas de Bressy   2024-26 10/14  rich, full, also zest 
****  Château La Nerthe  2025-27 02/15  supple, gras, fresh, w.o.w.
****  Château La Nerthe Clos de Beauvenir   2025-27 02/15  airborne, smooth, oaked  
****  Clos des Papes   2023-25 10/14  long fruit, mineral 
****  Domaine de Beaurenard Boisrenard  2027-29 03/15  fresh, textured, beau 
****  Domaine Bois de Boursan   2026-28 03/15  STGT; long, max charm 
****  Domaine Chante Cigale   2024-25 01/15  good gras, depth, STGT 
****  Domaine Chante-Perdrix   2020-21 10/14  soft, supple, round  
****  Domaine du Grand Tinel   2026-27 01/15  deep, fresh, STGT 
****  Domaine du Père Caboche   2018-19 12/14  fresh, enjoyable, w.o.w. 
****  Dom Saint-Préfert VV de Clairette   2025-27 10/14  rich, concentrated gras 
****  Dom Raymond Usseglio Roussanne   2025-27 10/14  full, fat, gd acidity 
****  Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe 2031-33 02/15  gt style, elegant richness 
***(*)  Domaine L’Abbé Dine  2020-21 10/14  rich, with zest 
***(*)  La Bastide Saint-Dominique  2023-24 03/15  modern, bracing, direct 
***(*)  Brotte Les Hauts de Barville  2022-24 10/14  harmony, delicious 
***(*)  Clos du Mont-Olivet  2020-22 03/15  light, quiet length 
***(*)  Domaine Berthet-Rayne  2022-23 10/14  good gras, length 
***(*)  Bosquet des Papes 2023-25 10/14  juicy fruit; depth to age 
***(*)  Château Fortia  2022-23 03/15  long, fresh, w.o.w. 
***(*)  Clos du Caillou Les Safres  2024-26 10/14  full, ripe, sweet
***(*)  Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes  2019-20 10/14  fresh, balanced, early 
***(*)  Clos La Roquète   2026-27 01/15  slow gain depth, fresh 
***(*)  Clos Saint-Michel   2024-25 10/14  rich, succulent 
***(*)  Domaine de la Charbonnière   2021-22 10/14  supple, gently aromatic 
***(*)  Domaine Jean Deydier & Fils  2018  12/14  lovely apero  
***(*)  Domaine Font de Michelle  2020-21 10/14  gras, freshness 
***(*)  Les Grandes Serres La Cour des Papes  2022-23 10/14  appealing, juicy  
***(*)  Patrice Magni Sensation  2020-21 10/14  fresh, long, balanced 
***(*)  Domaine de Marcoux 2021-23 11/14  lots of gras, fat  
***(*)  Domaine de la Roncière   2019-20  04/15 v gd apero, joli gras 
***(*)  Domaine de la Solitude  2027-29 03/15  fresh, grippy, gd future 
***(*)  Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils  2020-22 12/14  stylish, clear, solo OK 
***  Château des Fines Roches  2020-21 10/14  full, fleshy, OK  
***  Château Sixtine  2023-25 10/14  imposing, gras + oak 
***  Domaine Juliette Avril  2018  10/14  delicate, fine, early 
***  Domaine Barville Roussanne  2024-26 10/14  full, gras, oaked 
***  Domaine de Beaurenard 2022-23 03/15  delicate, mild, subdued 
***  Domaine Grand Veneur La Fontaine   2023-25 11/14  subdued, allow time 
***  Domaine de la Janasse   2025-27 01/15  clamped, compact, oaky 
***  Domaine La Millière Vieille Vigne  2018  10/14  easy fruit; early wine  
***  Domaine de Nalys   2018-19 12/14  live but bit neutral 
***  Olivier Ravoire   2020-21 10/14  soft, correct 
***  Domaine des Sénéchaux   2019  11/14  joli nose, tame palate 
***  Domaine Raymond Usseglio et Fils   2022-23 10/14  juicy, full, oaked 
**(*)  La Celestière Tradition  2020-21 10/14  round, bit oxidative 
**(*)  Château Husson Les Saintes Vierges 2020-21 10/14  round, fat, lacks zest 
**(*)  Domaine de Cristia   2020-21 10/14  heavy, too flat 
**(*)  Domaine Durieu   2019-20 01/15  weighty, bit heavy 
**(*)  Paul Jaboulet Aîné Dom de Terre Ferme  2022-24 10/14  sweet, warm, oaked 
**(*)  Domaine Mathieu   2020-21 10/14  short, lacks definition 
**(*)  Domaine du Pegaü   2020-21 02/15  tight, taut, low interest 
**(*)  Dom des Trois Cellier L’Insolente  2020-21 10/14  fat, but fruit dull  
**(*)  Vidal-Fleury   2019-20 10/14  reserved, bit bland 
**(*)  Vignobles Mayard La Crau de Ma Mère  2019  11/14  dumb, bit clumsy  
**  Domaine La Consonnière   2020-21 10/14  dodgy balance
** Dom Albin Jacumin Bégude des Papes 2019-20 10/14 light, sharp
**  Domaine La Mereuille   2020  10/14  flat, not precise 
**  Domaine de Pignan   2019-20 10/14  diffuse, disjointed 
*(*)  Domaine La Roizelière   2019-20 10/14  ill-defined, hard 

 

2. 2013 GIGONDAS REDS

2013 was a tricky vintage at Gigondas, and I feel many of the wines will take some time to come together, and, notably, to fuse their sometimes stretched tannins. JAMES LAWTHER’s tasting at the end of 2014 revealed many wines with dry, over-chewy tannins, and not so many with balance and elegance.

However, I think time can help the wines, and I also think that I, as a dyed in the wool Rhône man, would be more forgiving of some of the wines that in December 2014 were not showing very openly when JAMES tasted them. Therefore this is a vintage to keep an eye on, and not one that should be discarded by any means. For your reference, any wine tasted in 2015 represents my assessment, while the Lawther notes all date from December 2014.

The profile of the year – late harvesting after an Indian summer, fine weather in September – is one that suits Gigondas much better than its precocious neighbour CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE. Alcohol degrees were moderate, and the one common feature shared with the whole southern Rhône was the disastrous loss of GRENACHE NOIR crop – up to 50% in some cases.

Hence the blends are unusual. Vinifications were straightforward, but blending posed the largest challenge of all. Juggling with SYRAH and MOURVÈDRE was one avenue of approach, as was adding a legitimate 15% from another vintage – 2012. However, some growers I spoke to said that the attempted addition of 2012 flattered at first, but a few days later the blend had become divisive, the two parts failing to link properly.

Growers I spoke to were generally calm about the year, recognising that it wasn’t set to go down as a major vintage. BERNARD CHAUVET of DOMAINE DU GRAPILLON D’OR, always a front rank performer, related: “the degree was 14° to 14.5°, a bit lower than 2012. We harvested over three weeks, starting on 4 October – that was late, since we normally finish by the end of September. Conditions were good. Our yield was 25 hl/ha, down 30% on an average year. There is a lot of colour, and also tannin, though the tannins were not very aggressive. There is more tannin in the Mourvèdre, which gave a big crop, than in 2012.”

One of the curiosities this year was not not only the loss of GRENACHE, but also just how slow the remaining GRENACHE crop was to ripen. DOMINIQUE AY of the top DOMAINE RASPAIL-AY explained: “it has been a bizarre year. The Syrah has advanced, but round my vineyard the Grenache hasn’t, and its ripening has been very slow. Ripening is irregular across the appellation. I have old vines that are magnificent. There have been some Grenache that budded but gave no crop, and their stems are very dry. As for our young Grenache – well, most years we have to drop bunches, but this year there are no bunches on them.”

The painfully slow ripening was a hard fact for LOUIS BARRUOL of the prime estate CHÂTEAU SAINT COSME. On 22 August, 2013, he stated: “normally at this time my vineyards are at 13.5° - this year they are at 9.8°. We are three weeks behind, which we won’t catch up. That means a start to harvesting around 18 October, like in 1963, the most dreadful of vintages. In the end, the very small crop could actually help us a bit. I am now relying on God to give us high heat in October, but in my profession, when you start to count on the aid of God, you already have one foot in the grave. I am pessimistic.”

As it turned out, his pessimism was misplaced. LOUIS waited, and waited some more, then put his foot down on the accelerator. “I tried to do my utmost given the vintage, so I harvested 15 hectares in just three days, from 17 to 19 October, the latest harvest we have done here since 1963. I am happy with it – the wines are much better than I had imagined; some times they don’t resemble the crop we brought in, which is a bit mysterious because there were bunches that weren’t that ripe with a lot of stems and stubs.”

In April 2015, LOUIS held a clearer picture of the vintage: “Gigondas as a whole saw its production slump from a normal 40,00 hectolitres to just 28,000 hl. That meant that GRENACHE percentages in many wines fell from 80% to 50-60%. To give an example of the Grenache shortfall, my plot of 15 year young Grenache near the house normally gives five tonnes of crop, and this year it only managed 600 kilogrammes.

The SYRAH and MOURVÈDRE performed well. The wines enjoy the benefit of low yields, are tightly knit, intense, and not that concentrated. They are fresh, and acidity pushes the tannins forward. They are certainly atypical. It is encouraging that they gained a bit of balance as they have been raised in the cellar.

In the 1960s, 2013 would have been a good year," he stated. "I find the wines both tighter and more intense than 2014, for instance – 2014 is more tender and up in the air.”

PIERRE AMADIEU’s view of 2013 came as follows: “it’s an uneven vintage if a tasting of wines across the appellation in July 2014 is any guide. There was all the coulure on the GRENACHE, so some wines are very SYRAH-based, alongside some strongly GRENACHE-hearted wines. This year the big decisions were not to vinify for too long, not to perform a raising that was too muscular. It’s a good year, one that I enjoyed working with – the crop was so small that there were a lot of containers to play around with. 2014 has certainly been more complicated.

2013 will be very close to 2012,” he continued, “but yields of course are wide apart – 27 hl/ha in 2012, and just 18.5 hl/ha in 2013 across all my varieties. The 2013s resemble 2012 with 1° less – the degrees run up to 14.2° to 14.3°, against 14.8° to 15° in 2012. Syrah this year is 12.9° and Mourvèdre 12.5°, with Grenache at 14°.”

A pragmatic account of the vintage came from FRANÇOIS MEFFRE of CHÂTEAU RASPAIL; he likes to make gourmand wines that are accessible quite early. He told me: "2013 is good, but impossible to be very good, and I sold 40-45% in bulk as usual. I extracted a lot of content to get there. My Grenache was 60-70% of the wine; the Syrah was seductive, but not up too the quality of the old Grenache fruit. The Mourvèdre (15% of the wine) didn’t taste well in the vineyard, nor at the start of the vinification, but started to do well after three months.”

From the biodynamic estate of MONTIRIUS at VACQUEYRAS, CHRISTINE SAUREL reported: “our 2013 was ready very early, so we bottled it in June 2014,”  Their GIGONDAS TERRES DES AÎNÉES is composed of 70% GRENACHE, 30% MOURVÈDRE this year, instead of 80-20%.

I have tasted some 2013s by now, and find that there is enough substance to beckon a decent future for wines from the leading names. It is certainly a year when the less attentive have been caught out, however, a year when being a merchant buying crop that wasn’t supervised through the growing season was a fraught business.

JAMES LAWTHER's summary on the year was this: “there were some tired samples of 2013, but I generally found more substance and structure here than at VACQUEYRAS. There’s a mix of dark and red fruit notes and the tannins are both fine and present. There is also a lovely freshness and fragrance with alcohol levels that are again moderate for this part of the world.

The wines e still Grenache-based but the Syrah occasionally imposes itself in certain cuvées, and the Mourvèdre also has more of an impact in terms of structure and aromatics. The use of new oak again reared its head, and certain samples at this stage of their development seemed to have been overpowered - only time will tell if the oak can be fully absorbed.

A generally later ripening zone, Gigondas seems to have handled the tardiness better than many in the Southern Rhône this year. Big and burly the wines are not, but there’s an appealing freshness and balance that suggests an ageing potential of up to 15 years. I’m not sure Gigondas is superior to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 2013, but the best wines are on a par, and, in terms of price, of more interest. I wouldn’t mind having some in my cellar.”

LEADING 2013 GIGONDAS REDS 

***** Perrin Domaine du Clos des Tourelles 2032-35 10/15 shapely, close-knit, v long
****(*) Pierre Amadieu Le Pas de l’Aigle 2028-30 12/14 deep, complex, long
****(*) Château de Saint Cosme Le Claux 2028-30 12/14 fleshy, pure, modern
****(*) Château de Saint Cosme Le Poste 2031-34 04/15 stylish, slow fusion
****(*) Dom Longue Toque Hommge G Meffre 2027-29 12/15 generous, clear, harmonious
****(*) Domaine du Pourra La Réserve 2029-31 12/15 smooth gras, local punch, STGT
****(*) Dom Saint Gayan In Nomine Patris 2028-31 12/14 juicy, fresh, long
****(*) Dom Les Teyssonnières Alexandre 2028-29 12/14 juicy, power, elegance
**** Arnoux & Fils The GIG 2024-25 12/14 fresh, juicy, digestible
**** Château de Saint Cosme Tradition 2028-30 12/14 round, sweet, fleshy
**** Chât de Saint Cosme Hominis Fides 2031-33 04/15 shapely, fragrant, Burgundian
**** Château du Trignon 2027-28 12/14 elegant, fresh, vibrant 
**** Domaine La Bouïssière 2025-27 12/15 savoury, stylish, authentic
**** Dom Brusset Les Hauts de Montmirail 2027-28 12/14 powerful, solid 
**** Domaine du Cayron 2023-25 12/14 flamboyant, aromatic
**** Domaine des Espiers Les Blâches 2027-28 12/14 tight, firm, powerful
**** Famille Perrin La Gille 2030-33 10/15 concerted juice, tight, big
**** Dom du Grapillon d'Or Excellence 2029-32 12/15 savoury, punchy, coolness
**** E. Guigal 2028-30 06/17 elegant, tasty, sparky
**** Moulin de la Gardette Ventabren 2029-31 02/15 stylish, good weight
**** Ogier Duc de Mayreuil 2026-27 12/14 full, broad, oak  
**** Gabriel Meffre Laurus 2027-28 12/14 well made modern 
**** Dom Ntre Dame d Pallières Font N D 2027-28 12/14 elegant style, fine
**** Dom N Dame d Pallières Les Mourres 2023-25 12/15 Burgundian, calm, spherical
**** Domaine d’Ouréa 2025-26 12/15 accomplished gras, interesting
**** Domaine Les Pallières Les Racines 2029-31 02/15 clear fruit, fresh, fine 
**** Domaine du Pesquier 2029-32 12/15 unadorned, rocky, STGT
**** Domaine Raspail-Ay 203-330 12/15 savoury, rioch, solid heart
**** Domaine Saint Gayan Origine 2029-31 12/15 savoury, authentic, 2013 tang
**** Domaine Santa Duc Hautes Garrigues 2030-32 12/15 vigorous, juicy, rocky
**** Domaine de la Tourade 2025-27 12/14 dark fruit, spice, can age
**** Famille Perrin L'Argnée Vieilles Vignes 2031-33 11/15 tasty, power, scale
**** Famille Perrin La Gille 2030-33 10/15 sealed, tight, big
***(*) Pierre Amadieu Grande Romane   2027-28  12/14  big, broad, full  
***(*) Pierre Amadieu Romane Machotte   2027-29  12/14  broad, fleshy, good grip  
***(*) Arnoux & Fils Seigneur de Lauris   2024-25  12/14  fluid, clean, structure  
***(*) Bonpas Sieur Alphonse   2024-25  12/14  solid, med weight   
***(*)  Domaine La Bouscatière   2026-27  12/14  ripe, fresh, med weight  
***(*) Domaine Brusset Le Grand Montmirail 2027-28 04/15 chunky, solid, cool notes
***(*) La Cave de Gigondas les primaires 2022-23 12/15 fresh appeal, on the go now
***(*)  Caves Saint-Pierre   2024-25  12/14  elegant, expressive  
***(*)  Château Redortier   2025-26  12/14  fine, digestible, firm, fresh  
***(*) Château de Saint Cosme Valbelle 2029-31 12/15 stylish content, oak needs time
***(*) Domaine La Fourmone le Fauquet 2027-28 12/15 clear, with quiet potential
***(*) Domaine Les Goubert 2029-29 12/15 rocky, rugged, genuine
***(*)  Dom du Gour de Chaulé Tradition   2025-27  12/14 

fresh, mineral, authentic 

***(*)  Dom du Grand Montmirail V Vignes  2025-27  12/14  fleshy, full, spiced  
***(*) Domaine de Longue Toque 2026-28 12/15 savoury, oak, marked Syrah
***(*)  Montirius Confidentiel   2027-28  02/15  sweet fruits, pliant tannins  
***(*)  Montirius Terres des Aînés   2025-26  02/15  elegant; subtle virtues   
***(*)  Moulin de la Gardette Tradition   2027-29  02/15  stylish fruit, fine tannin, time 
***(*)  Domaine du Grapillon d’Or   2025-27  12/14  sweet fruit, solid  
***(*)  Le Mas des Flauzières Gde Réserve  2027-28  12/14  supple, also firm, oak  
***(*) Domaine Paillère et Pied-Gû 2026-27 12/15 direct fruit, grainy, time
***(*)  Domaine Le Péage   2025-27  12/14  mid-weight, fresh  
***(*)  Domaine La Roubine   2025-27  12/14  solid; firm tannins  
***(*) Domaine Santa Duc Aux Lieux Dits 2028-30 12/15 fresh, lively, energy; time
***(*) Domaine Les Semelles de Vent 2024-26 12/15 wavy fruit, v crisp; local feel
***(*)  Domaine Bertrand Stehelin   2026-27  12/14  fresh, juicy, powerful  
***(*) Domaine La Soumade 2026-27 12/15 easy going, polished, clear
***(*) Domaine du Terme black label 2026-28 10/17  smoky, firm; multiple spicing
***(*)  Domaine Les Teyssonnières   2024-25  12/15 supple, creamy, fresh  
***(*) Dom de la Tourade Font des Aieux 2026-28 12/15 fat; tannin needs time
***(*) Domaine Tourbillon Vieille Vigne 2026-27 12/15 genuine, assured local depth
*** Arnoux & Fils Nobles Terrasses   2021-22  12/14  big, supple, fleshy  
*** La Bastide Saint Vincent   2023-24  02/15  clear, but bit of alcohol  
*** La Cave de Gigondas Signature 2025-26 12/15 cool nose; traditional, local
*** Chât La Croix des Pins dess Dentelles 2025-27 12/15 genuine weight, balance, stylish
***  Dom Bois des Mèges Pierre Céleste  2022-23  12/14  fleshy, chewy, satis  
*** Domaine des Bosquets 2024-25 12/14 soft, soupy, tannins dry
***  Domaine des Bosquets La Colline   2024-25  12/14  soft, with spice  
***  Maison Bouachon Duc de Montfort  2020-21  12/14  sweet, immediate  
***  Domaine de la Brunely   2022-23  12/14  fresh, grippy, correct  
***  Domaine de Cabasse   2022-23  12/14  soft, supple, understated  
***  Dom Le Clos des Cazaux Prestige   2026-27  12/14  oak alert; modern, polished  
***  Dom Clos des Cazaux Tour Sarrasine  2026-27  12/14  weighty; robust tannins  
***  Cie Rhodanienne Clos Bois de Menge  2022-23  12/14  soft, spiced  
***  Dauvergne Ranvier Grand Vin   2023-24  12/14  sweet, powerful, bit rustic  
*** Domaine de la Daysse 2030-32 10/18 sound gras, spice, not bright 
***  Domaine des Espiers Tradition   2021-22  12/14  open, fruity, chewy  
*** Domaine Font Sarade Les Pigières 2026-27 12/15 trim fruit, fresh drive, time
*** Domaine de Font-Sane Tradition 2024-26 12/15 juiced gras, dark tannin
*** Dom de Fontavin Combe Sauvage 2026-27 12/15 cautious fruit, direct, time
*** Domaine du Grand Bourjassot Cecile 2024-25 12/14 sound fruit, firm tannins, oak
***  Lavau  2025-26  12/14  solid, structured  
***  Le Mas des Flauzières Four Danuga  2024-25  12/14  oak needs time  
***  Mas des Restanques   2020  12/14  early drinking, fruit  
***  Domaine de la Mavette Traditionelle  2024-25  12/14  sweet, fleshy, bit extracted  
***  Gabriel Meffre Sainte Catherine   2025-26 

12/14 

modern, competent  
***  Le Plan Vermeesch Classic  2022-23  12/14  sweet, bit soupy  
***  Dom Les Pallières Terrasse du Diable  2026-28  12/14  supple; caressing fruit  
***  Olivier Ravoire   2022-23  12/14  sound Grenache, bit rustic  
*** Bertrand Stehelin La Syrah de Pénélope 2028-29 12/15 vigour, charge, oaking
***  Vidal-Fleury   2022-23  12/14  soft, satisfactory  
***  Vignerons de Caractère Signature   2020  12/14  simple, easy  
**(*)  La Bastide Saint Vincent Costevieille  2024-25  12/14  bitter notes 
**(*) La Cave de Gigondas brut du foudre 56 2023-24 12/15 brewed, chunky, firm
**(*)  Château Raspail   2022-24  12/14  light with leafy edges  
**(*) Florent & Damien Burle Pallieroudas 2022-23 06/16 hiugh fruit, off key
**(*)  Dauvergne Ranvier Vin Rare   2023-24  12/14  tough, chewy, oaked  
**(*)  Delas Frères Les Reinages   2020-22  12/14  lack of fruit weight  
**(*)  Domaine Les Florets Les Florets   2022-23  12/14  light fruit, dry tannin  
**(*)  Dom Les Florets Saveur des Dentelles   2022-23  12/14  oak on top, low definition  
**(*) Domaine Les Florets Supreme 2022-23 12/14 oak prevails over fruit
**(*) Domaine de la Mavette Boisée 2026-27 12/15 vastly oaked, wait, hope
**(*)  Ogier Notre Dame de Cousignac   2023-24  12/14  sweet, tired, fresh =? 
**(*)  Ogier Oratorio  2024-25  12/14  fair fruit, dry tannins  
**(*)  Dom Saint Damien Vieilles Vignes   204-25 12/15 palate drift, dry tannins 
**(*)  Domaine de la Tête Noire   2021-22  12/14  powerful, rustic  
**(*)  Vignerons Caractère Dom la Maurelle   2020  12/14  chewy, solid, dry tannin 
**(*)  Vignerons Caractère Pierres du Vallat   2020  12/14  light, simple  
**  Domaine Cécile Chassagne   2020-21  12/14  drying, oaked  
** Ogier Héritages 2023-24 12/14 fleshy, but dry tannin
**  Domaine Palon   2021-22  12/14  oak sweetness, hollow  
*(*)  Vignerons Caractère Dom Carobelle   2020  12/14  bitter, green  
NR Domaine Varenne   12/15 gummy dryness

 

 

2 OCTOBER 2013: HARVESTING IN THE SOUTHERN SECTOR OF CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE, THE LATEST VINTAGE FOR MANY YEARS, DRAWING SOME COMPARISONS WITH 1984

3. 2013 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS 

JAMES LAWTHER, MW, writes: In essence 2013 is a fair to middling vintage for Châteauneuf-du-Pape reds and will provide relatively early drinking. In the grand scale of things it should be rated below 2012 and probably 2011, although it perhaps has more in common with the latter (light structure). White Châteauneuf is another proposition. There’s more consistency here, the wines fresh and aromatic, so appealing now, but with enough fat and glycerol to suggest ageing potential.

The salient features of the growing season were the late vegetative cycle (and consequently late harvest) and poor fruit set in spring. This was the coldest and wettest in recent years and resulted in coulure, the failure of the flowers to convert into fruit, principally in the Grenache which makes up 75% of the surface area of the appellation. Average yields were down to 26hl/ha (35hl/ha is permitted in the AC) with DANIEL BRUNIER quoting 20hl/ha for the VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE GRENACHE and the perennially low yielding CLOS DES PAPES (18hl/ha for the previous five vintages) down to as little as 13.5hl/ha overall.

2013 produced a tiny crop and one that was harvested late in the season in tune with vintages in the 1980s. Excepting a humid July, summer was dry and temperatures normal, but the vines never caught up with the delay caused by conditions in the early part of the year. Hence, the harvest started in the latter part of September (as opposed to around the 10th) in fine conditions and finished in October. As an example, NICOLAS BOIRON of BOSQUET DES PAPES started the harvest on 25th September and finished on 18th October.

With growers referring to 2013 as a “cool,” late vintage, the characteristics begin to unfold. The reds are generally fresh in style with relatively moderate alcohol degrees, the best with attractive fruit and a light but fine tannic frame (on average 10 years ageing potential). Power and concentration is limited to a selective few this year. Further ageing in wood or tank will clearly help and a number of wines are likely to show better down the road. Individually, there are some appealing wines but it will pay to be choosy. In terms of comparative vintages I heard producers mention 2001 and 2006 and there is a thread to 2011. The generosity of 2012 is absent.

The consequence of the coulure in the GRENACHE has also meant that in certain cases blends have changed from the “norm,” MOURVÈDRE and SYRAH rising in percentage to compensate for the shortfall in Grenache. So the profile of a familiar wine could have slightly changed. Another outcome is the diminished number of special cuvées. Only half the normal samples were presented at the tasting, producers either assembling the missing volume in the traditional blend or waiting to see whether it needs to be incorporated.

If the reds are competent but fail to excite overall it is a different story for the whites. The aromatics are fresh and appealing (pear, citrus, floral). There is good acidity (for Châteauneuf) and plenty of gras richness and glycerol on the palate. Where used astutely, the oak also provides another dimension. Either drink on the fruit now or wait for the more evolved aroma and flavour of honey and dried fruits which will appear in five to six years. Ageing potential for the best has to be up to 15 years, possibly even longer.

JAMES LAWTHER, MW

GROWER REPORTS ON 2013

The winter was milder than 2012’s, with no big freeze as was experienced in February 2012. Mid-March was cold, and by the end of the month MICHEL MARET of DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE reported “good reserves of water, not far off normal levels.”

GRENACHE COULURE: SPILLOVER FROM 2012 FROSTS

More than one grower pointed to the consequences of the 2012 frost when explaining why the coulure may have been so intense this year. LAURENT BROTTE of MAISON BROTTE told me: “north facing, windy, older vines were hit in 2013. I feel that the vines were tired after the high crop in 2011 and the frost in 2012 – hence the low yields.” FRANÇOIS PERRIN of CHÂTEAU DE BEAUCASTEL felt the same way: “I feel the coulure in 2013 could be a consequence of the frost in 2012 – the vines were tired and weakened by that.”

With the GRENACHE so badly hit on quantity, the next question was about its quality, and here growers faced another high wire act – getting the crop to ripen. 2013 was the latest harvest in around 30 years. From the traditional, sometimes STGT DOMAINE EDDIE FÉRAUD, son YANNICK FÉRAUD looked back at the year as follows: “we harvested this year starting on 30 September – our latest harvest before was in the 1980s, when we harvested on 27-28 September. Flowering was very late; we had no spring, only cold, so the vines were slow to get going. The veraison (change of colour of the skins) took place on 5 August. We harvested our first Grenache on 30 September. We lost between 30% and 50% of our Grenache this year.”

GRENACHE VERY SLOW TO RIPEN

Mixed in with the coulure damage was the stubbornness of the GRENACHE to ripen. At DOMAINE DE LA CHARBONNIÈRE, daughter VÉRONIQUE MARET came in with this news in mid-September 2013: “across CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE different sectors are giving different results; our ripest zone is on MOURRE DES PERDRIX and VALORI, on the sand, where we are at 14°. The GRENACHE is very much delayed this year, so we still have crop around the cellars here at 12° - they are usually later, but are some way behind.

Some vineyards are 50% down on crop, and my father says that the coulure on the Grenache reminds him of 1984; he is saying we have a 1970s to 1980s style vintage on our hands. Our yields will be 20-24 hl/ha. The last big rain a couple of week ago was 30 mm (1.2 in), which fell as the very first signs of hydric stress were starting in places. It is now cooler than usual, with mornings at 12°C, rising to 24-25°C, with fine weather and Mistral of 50 to 80 km (up to 50 mph) announced running towards 27-28 September.

The white crop such as GRENACHE BLANC and CLAIRETTE is also taking its time: the Clairette is at 10-11° now, the Grenache blanc one degree higher. We’ll pick them at the same time. At VACQUEYRAS, our GRENACHE is around 14°, the SYRAH 13.8°” – most unusual for Vacqueyras to be ahead of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

STRETCHING INTO ALL SAINTS DAY

The waiting game that 2013 demanded in the vineyards had its most vivid expression - no real surprise – at CHÂTEAU RAYAS, where EMMANUEL REYNAUD told me on 27 November 2013: “I devatted my last Rayas 2013 red this morning; we were at half the normal crop this year, while only 30% of the normal yield at CHÂTEAU DE FONSALETTE for the CÔTES DU RHÔNE – there we had two hailstorms one week apart at the end of July and early August, and then an acid rain that burnt the leaves. At VACQUEYRAS, the crop level was 50%. There was coulure on the Grenache everywhere this year. At Rayas, we started to harvest on 12-13 October and ended on All Saints Day, 1 November.”

CELLAR ADAPTATIONS

The precarious nature of some of the crop prompted wise growers to amend their approach in the cellar. RÉGIS BARROT of DOMAINE LUCIEN BARROT & FILS informed me: “we started with the Syrah for two days on 30 September, and some of it came in at 14°-14.5°, in a healthy state, though some light rot on some bunches; the Grenache suffered badly, especially those old vines that had been touched by the frost of 2012 – they had a lot of coulure and I have lost half their crop.

It’s like 1991 when we were at a yield of 14 hl/ha. The Grenache I do have is joli, but the pips took time to turn brown, with the skins ripening well ahead of the stems. That’s why I cut back my duration of vinification – as we do whole bunch fermentation, we have to be careful. We had high heat end of July, early August, good rain in September – 50 mm (2 inches) at the start and 20 mm (0.8 in) on 29 September – otherwise things would have been a lot worse. My first vintage was 1971 – in the past we used to start 20-25 September, with harvesting often on 11 October; from 2003 on it was more like 10-15 September. Our barometer would be at ROQUEMAURE – the sight of yellow stems and brown pips there would be the green light. Around the 1950s, mind, we would be finishing pressing at Christmas time.”

SOUTHERN SECTOR BEATS NORTH . . .

Certain sectors also performed better than others this year, with JEAN-PIERRE USSEGLIO of DOMAINE PIERRE USSEGLIO & FILS telling me: “like 2010, we have a small crop, especially on the Grenache. Things are healthy, but the veraison is very slow to complete – it’s very irregular, and we find the southern quartiers such as LES SERRES to be better off and more attractive than the northern parts of the vineyard. The big difference between fresh mornings and temperatures later in the day has slowed down the veraison. Coulure on La Crau has been vast – yields of 12 hl/ha only, while there is some mildew on the leaves, not the bunches.”.

ADIÓS, SPECIAL CUVÉES

The irregularity of the ripening across the appellation, and the lack of the usual GRENACHE core prompted several domaines to not issue PRESTIGE CUVÉES this year. I can hear the groans of disappointment in NEW YORK as I write. But there was good reason, as explained, for example, by ANDRÉ MATHIEU of DOMAINE MATHIEU: “the balance is better than 2011. The wines are more on fruit than depth of matter. Flowering went badly, grapes found it hard to ripen, and bad flowering vines were those that were poorly nourished. The good ripening grapes did very well, by contrast.

The SYRAH was successful, while the MOURVÈDRE was three weeks behind, like in the 1980s. The degree will run between 13.5° and 14.5°. Our yield was 24 hl/ha – since 2008 our average has been 25-31 hl/ha. I know that some colleague vignerons harvested only 12-16 hl/ha. I am making the FÉLIBRE RED because of the high proportion of Mourvèdre, but not the other Prestige cuvées – the quality isn’t there.”

THE BENEFIT FOR THE CLASSIC CUVÉES

One domaine where for once Peter was not robbed to pay Paul was DOMAINE DE MARCOUX, whose VIEILLES VIGNES RED is one of the best of its genre. Their one wine, the 2013 DOMAINE DE MARCOUX, is all the better for containing the old vines’ fruit this year, and I gave this a 4.5 stars rating when tasting it in London in October, 2014.

WHAT NEXT

The development of the 2013s will be interesting; with their higher than usual acidity, some belles surprises may well come through. BRUNO LEROY of CHÂTEAU FORTIA reported: “acidity is higher than 2012 – the wines are more live, the colour is OK. It is an atypical vintage since the date of the harvest stems from my father’s generation.”

JEAN-PAUL VERSINO of the excellent, traditional approach DOMAINE BOIS DE BOURSAN feels that it would be premature to write off the 2013s: “In 2013 I had a lot of coulure on my old vine Grenache. In that regard it was similar to 1984, when there was also a lot of coulure, but those 1984s came back to give lovely surprises after 20 years, as their acidity settled in, their balance arranged itself,  and their behaviour reflected that ofBurgundyreds. Their degree was 13.8°. The 2013 reds have a belle acidity, and are notably fresh, their degree 1° less than in previous years. I have not made a CUVÉE FÉLIX RED this year, and my bottle quantity is down to 55% of normal – 25,000 bottles against 45-50,000 normally.”

BRUNO GASPARD of CLOS DU CAILLOU near COURTHÉZON and its sandy soils gave this take on 2013 in the autumn of 2014: “the wine style in 2013 is more fresh and tight than usual. That places it in the same mould as vintages such as 2006, 2008, and even 2002, which was showing very well in 2013. Acidity will keep these wines going.”

BUY SELECTIVELY

As JAMES LAWTHER has written, selective buying this year is the name of the game. Personally, I would be looking to Classic Cuvées that have been enhanced by fruit from old vines which would normally be present in Prestige wines. Step forward DOMAINE DE MARCOUX and BOIS DE BOURSAN, for example.

I will be tasting a range of 2013s towards the end of 2015, to see how they have got on in the past twelve months since James’ October 2014 tastings.

LEADING 2013 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE REDS

***** Château de Beaucastel Hommage J P 2033-36 10/15 very beau, stylish, polished
***** Dom Raymond Usseglio & Fils Impériale 2031-33 02/15  serene, well collected, silk
****(*) Les Cailloux 2035-38 05/19 gd Gren heart, spiced, STGT
****(*) Château de Beaucastel 2034-36 10/15 clear fruit, bright, interest
****(*) Château de la Gardine Tradition  2028-30  10/14  lovely fruit, gd tannins, oak 
****(*) Chât dl Gardine Générations G Philippe 2030-31 10/14  fresh, powerful, steely 
****(*) Chât Mourre du Tendre Très Vieilles Vignes 2031-34 11/15 smooth silk, deep, true
****(*) Château Rayas 2044-46 10/15 steady, firm, solid, time
****(*) Clos du Caillou Les Quartz 2028-30 10/14 depth, gd power, finesse
****(*) Clos des Papes 2030-32 10/14 balance, power, freshness
****(*) Dom de la Charbonnière Vieilles Vignes 2031-33 02/15 en finesse, interesting
****(*) Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin 2031-33 02/15 genuine, variety, style
****(*) Domaine de la Janasse Vieilles Vignes 2032-35 02/15 quiet intensity, sure gras
****(*) Domaine de Marcoux   2024-26  11/14  STGT; stylish, precise  
****(*) Dom Roger Sabon Secret des Sabon   2032-34  02/15  deep, mobile, beau   
****(*) Dom de la Vieille Julienne Hauts-lieux 2034-37 09/16 intense, striking, character
**** La Bastide Saint-Dominique Hésperides  2028-30  10/14  ripe, generous, oaked  
**** Domaine de la Biscarelle 2027-29 10/15 good body, roundness, dash
**** Frédéric/Dan Brunier Piedlonget Pignan 2030-32 02/15 pure fruit, effortless style
**** Domaine La Cabotte Vieilles Vignes 2029-30 04/15 clear, long, hands-off wine
**** Château de la Font du Loup 2027-29 10/15 upbeat, fresh, juicy
****  Château Maucoil L'Esprit de Maucoil   2027-28  10/14  super balance, elegant 
****  Château de Vaudieu Val de Dieu  2028-29  10/14  much fruit, oak, harmony 
**** Domaine Pierre André 2035-37 02/18 aromatic, tight, genuine
****  Domaine Paul Autard  2026-28  10/14  fleshy, chewy, powerful  
****  Domaine Berthet-Rayne Cadiac  2028-30  10/14  smooth fruit, tannin, gd oak
****  Domaine Berthet-Rayne Fut de Chêne  2028-29  10/14  fine, gentle, harmony  
****  Bosquet des Papes Chante le Merle  2028-30  11/14  neat; genuine Grenache  
**** Domaine du Banneret 2033-34 10/16 wholesome, full, genuine
****

Cuvée des Sommeliers

2027-29 10/15 genuine, natural, STGT
**** Domaine Chante-Perdrix 2028-30 10/15 authentic, deep, long
****  Dom de la Charbonnière Hts Brusquières  2030-32  10/14  powerful, deep, austere 
**** Domaine Charvin 2027-29 10/15 charm, understated fullness
****  Domaine de Cristia Tradition  2026-28  10/14  harmonious, long, juicy  
**** Domaine Durieu Lucile Avril 2030-33 10/15 polished, gras, local heart
****  Domaine Isabel Ferrando Colombis  2027-28  10/14  depth, complexity, modern  
**** Dom du Galet des Papes Vieilles Vignes 2045-48 10/18 tight, upright, spiced, local
****  Domaine de la Mordorée Reine des Bois   2026-28  11/14  upright, stylish, promise  
**** Domaine du Pegau Cuvée Réservée 2031-33 11/15 character, direct, crunched
****  Domaine Roger Perrin Vieilles Vignes   2027-29  10/14  good old vine gras richness 
**** Famille Perrin Les Sinards 2028-30 10/15 graceful fruit, oily coating
****  Dom de Pignan Coralie et Floriane  2027-29  10/14  opulent, modern, full-on  
**** Le Puy Rolland Vieilles Vignes 2028-30 10/15 calm, defined, balanced
****  Domaine Roger Sabon Prestige   2026-28  10/14  juicy, powerful  
****  Domaine Saint-Préfert Charles Giraud   2030-31  02/15  enjoyable, joli; pure fruit
**** Domaine Les Semelles de Vent 2031-32 12/15 dense, firm, deep
****  Domaine des Sénéchaux   2024-26  10/14  supple fruit, pleasure  
**** Domaine de la Solitude Barberini 2029-32 10/15 weight, richness, potential
****  Domaine Raymond Usséglio et  Fils  2026-28  10/14  power, spice, freshness  
**** Dom de la Vieille Julienne Trois Sources 2030-33 11/16 cool, tight, pure, mineral
**** Le Vieux Donjon 2026-29 10/15 supple, smooth, bit tame
**** Mas St-Louis Arpents Contrebandiers 2030-32 10/16 suave, gliding, bonny wine
**** Mas Saint-Louis La Grande Réserve 2032-34 10/16 detail, tight, wavy, potential
***(*) Domaine La Barroche Signature 2031-33 10/15 first, solid, grainy
***(*) Le Bois Pointu 2036-38 12/18 chalky coolness, to expand
***(*) Bosquet des Papes Tradition 2025-27 11/14 clear, local, toothsome
***(*)  La Celestière Tradition   2026-27  10/14  perfumed, can live  
***(*)  Château des Fines Roches   2026-27  10/14  pure fruit, elegance  
***(*)  Château Fortia Cuvée du Baron   2027-28  10/14  fleshy, gamey Syrah   
***(*) Château Gigognan Clos du Roi 2028-30 10/15 supple concentration, long
***(*)  Château Jas de Bressy   2026-27  10/14  spicy, broad, full  
***(*)  Château Maucoil Privilège de Maucoil  2028-29  10/14  supple fruit, charm, finesse 
***(*)  Château La Nerthe   2026-28  10/14  juicy fruit, ripe tannins 
***(*)  Château La Nerthe Cuvée des Cadettes  2028-30  10/14  modern, tight, firm  
***(*)  Clos du Caillou La Réserve   2031-33 10/14  fine, much oak, time  
***(*) Clos du Caillou Les Safres 2035-38 10/18 spiced, chewy, cussed, time
***(*)  Clos Saint Jean  2031-33  11/15  tasty, sweet, modern 
***(*)  Domaine Juliette Avril Cuvée Maxence   2026-27  10/14  pure fruit, finesse, harmony 
***(*) Brotte Château de Bord 2026-27 10/14 ripe, fragrant, full  
***(*) Brotte Domaine Barville 2025-27 10/14 neat, concise, balanced
***(*)  Domaine Barville Optimum   2026-27  10/14  opulent, joli, harmony  
***(*)  Brotte Secret de Barville   2027-29  10/14  solid fruit; compact  
***(*)  Domaine de Beaurenard   2027-28  10/14  modern, plenty here  
***(*) Dom Chanssaud Chanssaud d’Antan 2029-30 03/18 sound richness, menthol, cut
***(*) Domaine Chante Cigale 2027-29 10/17 dark gras; refined, smooth
***(*) Domaine Chante Cigale Vieilles Vignes 2030-33 10/17 thick juice, vintage dryness
***(*) Dom Charbonnière Le Mourre des Perdrix 2029-31 10/15 intense; knock-out drop
***(*) Domaine Durieu Tradition 2028-30 10/15 lusty, raw, very honest
***(*) Domaine de Ferrand 2027-29 10/15 big, full, weighted
***(*)  Domaine Grand Veneur   2023-25  10/14  juicy, chewy, mid-term  
***(*)  Domaine Grand Veneur Les Origines  2025-27  10/14  rustic, awkward now 
***(*)  Domaine Grand Veneur Vieilles Vignes   2026-28  10/14  sweet, brash, intense 
***(*)  Domaine Lou Fréjau   2026-28  10/14  good direction, quite long  
***(*)  Paul Jaboulet Aîné Dom de Terre Ferme  2028-29  10/14  sturdy, balance, long  
***(*)  Domaine Julien Masquin Montplaisir  2025-26  10/14  elegant, pure, harmony 
***(*)  Domaine L’Or de Line Paul Courtil   2027-28  10/14  sassy, exuberant, oak  
***(*)  Dom de Panisse Confidence Vigneronne   2025-26  10/14  pure, precise, easy  
***(*)  Domaine Roger Perrin   2024-26  10/14  joli, medium bodied 
***(*)  Domaine de la Présidente Nonciature   2024-25  10/14  modern appeal, oak  
***(*)  Domaine Roger Sabon Réserve   2028-30 06/16 clear, rocky, slow to knit
***(*)  Domaine Saint-Préfert Classique  2025-26  10/14  juicy, expressive  
***(*)  Domaine St-Préfert Auguste Favier   2028-29  10/14  generous, concentrated  
***(*) Dom Santa Duc Habemus Papam 2030-32 03/18 cool, smoky; tangy richness
***(*)  Domaine Serguier Révélation   2028-29  10/14  full, round, scope  
***(*) Domaine Pierre Usseglio & Fils 2024-26 10/15 bright, finesse, safety
***(*)  Dom du Vieux Télégraphe La Crau  2028-30  02/15 elegant but lacks depth   
***(*)  Vignobles Mayard Dom du Père Pape   2025-27  10/14  mid weight, harmony  
***(*)  Domaine de Villeneuve Vieilles Vignes   2036-38 02/19 sturdy, fresh, tenacious 
***(*) Mas Saint-Louis 2024-26 10/16 perfumed, clear, neat
***  Arnoux & Fils Le Vieux Clocher   2023-24  10/14  correct, compact 
***  Domaine Paul Autard La Côte Ronde   2026-26  10/14  sweet, modern  
*** Domaine Juliette Avril 2023-25 10/14 sweet, juicy, easy
***  La Bastide Saint-Dominique   2024-25  10/14  sweet; overripe style  
***  Maison Bouachon La Tiare du Pape   2023-24  10/14  soft, supple, oxidative  
***  Brotte La Fiole du Pape   2023-25  10/14  red fruit, but alcohol  
***  Caves Saint Pierre   2023-24  10/14  modern, port-like  
***  Château Beauchêne Grande Réserve  2023-25  10/14  light, easy, clean  
***  Château Fortia Réserve   2028-29  10/14  juicy, compact, discreet  
***  Château Fortia Tradition   2025-27  10/14  sweet, full, time  
***  Château Husson Les Saumades   2025-26  10/14  fruity, fresh, light  
***  Château Maucoil Tradition  2026-27  10/14  big, solid, oaked  
***  Château Sixtine   2026-27  10/14  power, fleshy, time  
***  Chateau Mont-Redon   2023-25  10/14  fresh, light  
***  Château de Vaudieu   2026-28  10/14  firm, masculine  
***  Clos des Brusquières   2026-28  10/14  round, sweet, chewy, trad 
***  Clos du Caillou Tradition   2026-28  11/14  grip, stiff, slow gain  
***  Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes   2024-26  10/14  supple, ripe style  
***  La Cie Rhodanienne Ch Grande Gardiole 2021-22  10/14  sweet, a little freshness   
***  Cie Rhodanienne Les Granges d Papes  2021-22  10/14  supple, easy, mid weight  
***  Cuvée du Vatican   2025-27  10/14  power, robust tannins  
***  Domaine Berthet-Rayne   2025-26  10/14  sweet, spicy  
*** Domaine Bois de Boursan Tradition 2026-28 10/15 gras, tasty, then dry
***  Domaine du Bois de Saint Jean   2025-26  10/14  tight, firm, powerful  
***  Domaine des Chanssaud   2022-24  10/14  light, balanced  
***  Domaine de la Charbonnière   2027-28 02/15 tight, compact, bit uneven 
***  Domaine La Consonnière   2022-24  10/14  light, early, fine  
***  Domaine Croze-Granier   2023-24  10/14  tough, robust  
***  Eddie Féraud   2025-26  10/14  solid, meaty, robust  
***  Domaine Font de Michelle   2026-27  10/14  oak, sucrosity, unformed 
***  Jérome Gradassi   2024-25  10/14  power, solid, time  
***  Domaine du Grand Tinel   2024-25  10/14  fleshy, broad, tannic  
***  Delas Haute Pierre   2025-26  10/14  pretty, elegant, competent  
***  Dom Albin Jacumin La Bégude d Papes  2024-25  10/14  broad, full, harmony  
*** Domaine de la Janasse 2028-30 02/15 rocky clack, tight, mild gras
***  Mas de Boislauzon   2023-25  10/14  volume, bit stern  
***  Domaine du Père Caboche Tradition  2023-24  10/14  easy, light, correct 
*** Dom La Tour Saint Michel Cuvée 2 Soeurs 2026-27 10/14 sturdy, fleshy, upright
*** Domaine Tourbillon Vieilles Vignes 2023-25 10/16 coated, plump; fair length
***  Pierre Vidal Cuvée Traditionnelle   2026-27  10/14  tight, fresh, juicy fruit  
***  Vidal-Fleury   2023-24  11/14  Regular Guy; clear fruit   
***  Vignobles Mayard Clos du Calvaire   2022-23  10/14  fruit-centred, early wine  
**(*)  Château Cabrières Tradition  2021-23  10/14  sweet, not long ageing  
**(*)  Clos du Mont-Olivet   2024-25  10/14  dry, grainy, retaste  
**(*)  Clos Saint-Michel Tradition  2021-22  10/14  perfume, spice, vegetal  
**(*)  Domaine L’Abbé Dine   2022-23  10/14  sweet, herbaceous  
**(*)  Dom Berthet Capeau Elixir des Papes  2025-26  10/14  tough, tannic, work to do 
**(*)  Domaine Duseigneur Catarina   2024-25  10/14  tight fruit; much oak  
**(*)  Domaine Julien Masquin Mémora   2025-26  10/14  chewy, extracted  
**(*)  Domaine La Millière Vieilles Vignes   2025-27  10/14  solid core, oaked  
**(*)  Domaine de L’Or de Line   2023-25  10/14  light fruit, disjointed  
**(*)  Domaine Mathieu   2023-25  10/14  plump but coarse, time  
**(*)  Ogier Héritages   2021-22  10/14  sound, lacks distinction  
**(*)  Domaine de Pignan   2023-24  10/14  lacks precision  
**(*)  Domaine Porte Rouge   2022-23  10/14  light, simple, early  
**(*)  Domaine de la Roncière   2023-24  10/14  sweet, bit edgy  
**(*)  Dom de la Présidente Grands Classiques  2021-23  10/14  correct but lacks depth  
**(*)  Domaine Roger Sabon Les Olivets   2023-25  10/14  tough, chewy  
**(*)  Dom du Vieux Télégraphe Télégramme  2024-25  10/14  plum, kirsch, but gras?? 
** Les Clefs d'Or, Jean Deydier & Fils 2024-25 09/16 hunky, dry
**  Ogier Cuvée de l’Hospice   2020-21  10/14  low ripeness, edgy  
**  Domaine La Roizelière   2020-21  10/14 easy but dry, edgy end 
**  Dom Jean Royer Les Sables de la Crau  2025-26  10/14  cooked, extracted  
**  Domaine Serguier   2020-21  10/14  dry, lean