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The Wines

95% Syrah, 5% Viognier from 3.9 hectare on very schist soils on La Viallière (av age 45-50 years, oldest 1930s-1940s), whole bunch fermentation (trying some destemming in 2018), 3-4 week concrete vat vinification, wild yeasts, first 4-5 days at 25°C, then up to 28°C, cap immersion for first two weeks, almost no pumping overs (reduced), SO2 added just after malo, aged 15% new, 80% 1-5 year, 5% 10-15 year casks which are 70% 600-litre & 30% 228-litre minimum 14 months (had been 18-22 months in past), five bottlings, unfined (since 2010-11), unfiltered, used to be 10,000 b, rest sold in bulk, now 23-30,000 b

2017

(600-litre cask, racking in 30 days) dark red; there’s a cosy air of black cherry fruits, some grilling, darkness. The nose is close-knit, wide. The palate holds a dense black jam flavour, is more southern than northern, with black olives, vigorous but also bright tannins, a sturdy make-up that shows the effect of the hot summer. It’s inky on the finish. This is thick wine, less floral than usual, on stewed black fruits it is. “It’s concentrated,” Maxime Champet. 13°. From 2021. 2034-36 March 2018

2016

this bottled early Jan 2018, so 16 months raising: dark red-purple, violet tinted robe. Has a real classic Côte-Rôtie nose, perfume with freshness, bright appeal. The fruit sparkles. There’s a note of licorice. The palate gives a real good buzz, a crisp black fruit, with finesse, measured pebbly touches, powder in the tannins. There’s a good stream of fruit. This is almost w.o.w. wine – toot toot in the CHR restaurant trade. The tannins need 18 months, but this is highly stylish and frank. The fruit resembles loganberry, good blackberry. This is naked wine a Go Go. “It can live for eight to 10 years because it is fresh, has good acidity,” Maxime Champet. 30,000 b. €18. 12.5°. 2029-31 Mar 2018

2009 ()

bonny, inviting, shiny red with dark tints in it. Smoky nose of good potential, shows a curvy black berry fruit with licorice and wood smoke snap, has a fresh trail of youth in it, an “elegant” tar. Air nudges it towards raspberry, red fruits and develops a more grounded aspect – the bouquet thickens. The palate is tasty, right away – has a very attractive core of tasty red fruit with typical Côte-Rôtie violet and floral notes. The end reflects pebbly tannins. This is STGT wine – the fruit beams with the sun from its harvest, and its heart is sweet and refined. It shows the finesse of Viallière, and is very pre, unencumbered. Beauty in the glass here, a soft texture wine. You can enjoy its pure fruit, off we go. But note that it is not just a sleek surface skimmer: air brings a thicker texture and a rich, liqueur style to the palate, more violet and licorice. Its texture is a real winner throughout. Deep flavoured fish such as halibut, monkfish – but avoid sauces which would spoil its purity. Chicken of Bresse with mushrooms, not cream sauced… any dish with serene, clear flavours. 12.5°. 2019-20 Nov 2011

2002

(cask) quite warm, sweet cooked fruit, violet on the bouquet; very correct, cooked fruits on the palate, then some acidity as it tightens. 8-9 year wine.

2001 ()

the robe is now into mature stages, shows a marked ruby. The bouquet has a dusty, lightly spiced, plum-red berry aroma, gives the spice of mature to old age. There is a slightly seared side to the nose, but there are real local touches that include a hovering air of rose petal, and an earthy backdrop, de la terre. The palate has the grain texture of its fresh vintage, presents flavours of black raisin, licorice. It ends coolly and clearly. It doesn’t have great body, but is well orchestrated and tender. Good, traditional Côte-Rôtie. 12.5°. 2016-17  New Year’s Eve 2013, East Sussex Previously *** full, traditional bouquet - black jam/raspberry/earth; violet and stewed fruits start, nice gras, round blackberry fruit. Degree end tannin/mineral. Full, tasty, from 2005. 2011-13