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The Wines

100% Syrah on La Triotte (early 1980s), Lancement, Le Combard, Le Mollard, 80% schist, 20% granite soils, 70-85% destemmed, cap punched, 3-4 week vinification process, pumping overs, heated finale to the maceration, malo done in cask, aged 15-25% new, 75-85% 2-5 year 228-litre oak casks 17-18 months, usually unfined, unfiltered, first wine 2006, 18-20,000 b

2018 ()

2018 ****(*) 1) (the top of Mollard, freshness from there, 10-15% of the cuvée, a mix of two 228-litre casks) **** dark red; the nose has a compact air of red cherry fruit, nice style, is well together. The palate offers cool fruit, suave, shapely tannins, has an open nature, some sun density that isn’t overdone. It builds nicely, ends on some chew, assertion 24 yrs 2) (Combard, very stony, filtering soils, very acid, pH of 4.5, 20% whole bunch, 20-30% of the cuvée, 228-litre cask) a sound **** dark red; the nose is smoky, intense, gives iron notably, black cherry fruit, a hint of violet. The palate is muscular, has a good, robust filling with firm, ripe tannins. It continues with good beat, goes long, a little oak. 26 yrs 3) (La Triotte, so eroded that there’s very little rock, has clay, fine sand as a result of the mother rock being so eroded, 50% of the cuvée, 10-year 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark, solid robe. The nose is joli, curvy and stylish, has sexy appeal, shows fine raspberry fruit, black cherry airs, gives much invitation. The palate picks up well via a suave, flowing start, serves a most elegant run of fruit, hand in glove with fine tannin. This has beauty, is very fine, especially in the context of the hot summer. It ends on iron threads, is complex. From 2023-24 29 yrs. “The Blonde is ever more refined in these hot years; the Blonde soils are getting prepared now since the first hot year of 2015,” Kévin Garon. 4) (Lancement, 5-10% of the cuvée, 2-year 228-litre cask, 30% whole bunch) ****(*) dark red; smoke-iron show in a close-knit bouquet, herbs, too – it’s on potential over display today, blueberry fruit present. It has a firm palate all through, carries much iron oxide, with nerve in the tannins, clear black fruit undertones. This is streamlined, direct, dorsal, ends on shapely cut, firmly packed ripe content. It requires time to get into it, to get into it. It has very firm, well established length, and there’s juice within the rocks. 50% of this will go into Triotes, leaving 1,200-1,500 b of this on its own. 31 yrs OVERALL: this is heading for ****(*) it is a wine of terroir that has beaten off the vintage very well, and the longer you wait, the more that Blonde finesse will declare. I well recommend this at its price, very fair, and a wine of much precision in the blending, no short cuts. From 2024. 2048-51 Dec 2019 £150/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017 ()

(used 228-litre cask) shiny, full red robe. There are smoky notes, an aroma of gourmand black cherry fruit, a little reduction, vanilla, in a primary bouquet that has layers of depth. There is a touch of prune fruit, vintage ripeness in style, with simple, neat gras richness as its centre. It takes an extra spur of length with a little late crunch from the stems [15-20% of them]. This is good, solid, grounded wine with a sustained core. There is an aromatic hint late on, not earlier. From 2021. 2034-36 March 2018

2016

quite a full red robe. Smoky, pine airs swirl on the nose with crystal clear blackberry fruit, also mulberry, some mystery about it. The palate holds nicely, well measured gras richness, has a plump and genuine heart, has touches of perfume along its path, develops a lip smack aspect. It’s a grounded style of Côte-Rôtie, with a flourish of flavour on the finish, including tar, blueberry, rocks. There’s good freshness late on, salted touches. It’s a very sound example of Côte-Rôtie. There’s a lot of tannin, so wait four years, for example. Leave it until spring 2020 for a more fused finish, and until 2023 for a wholesome drink. 13°. Bottled late Feb 2018, two weeks ago. €39. 2030-32 Mar 2018

2015

(cask) dark red robe. The nose combines well-defined blackberry fruit with a note of still green oak, some licorice. The palate offers sweet and juicy gras with a central flavour of blackberry, before the tannins and oak take over. This is promising – there is good life in the fruit and tannins, and the finish is fresh. 13°. 18,000 b. GB £174 6 b i/b Clarion Wines info@clarionwines.co.uk www.clarionwines.co.uk +44(0)208 747 2069. From 2019. 2030-33 Oct 2016

2014

(used 228-litre cask) good dark red robe. The nose is clearly struck, gives a rounded air of black berry – it all calm and sweetly done, the main impression one of finesse. The palate gives tender, dainty fruit, is beau and accessible. Delicacy and its cousin balance combine here, the fruit travels well, laps up nicely on the finish. Bundles of charm here. “It has balance, good acidity, is a complete wine,” Kévin Garon. From late 2017. 2030-31 GB £120/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com  Apr 2015

2013 ()

healthy, full dark red robe. There are dark berry, violet airs in a streamlined nose, which is gracious and sustained, offers fine fruit, goes on a sexy curve. The palate delivers raspberry fruit with free, notably fresh appeal; it runs directly, takes on licorice, tea and mocha on the finish, and a fine red berry juice on the aftertaste. There is a quiet complexity here. The finale is lip-smacking, with scented, violet notes. Fine, full and well balanced. 13°. Bottled March 2015. From late 2017. 2029-31  Apr 2015

2012 ()

(casks) dark robe. Soaked black cherries aroma with a wee damp leaf and prune note – the nose is plush rather than crisp; its in-built florality is an ace card. The palate also presents a confirmed floral leaning through it, shows violets, spring flowers, with nicely loose dark fruiting. It presents an appealing sphere at the end. Is stylish. Its squeezy fruit is good to drink youngish, is quite flattering. There are notes of tobacco near the end. From mid-2015. 13°. 2022-24  Nov 2013 Previously Oct 2012 (sugars finished, 17 days’ old) good, full red; aromatic, accessible fruit air, with violet touches. Good, three-quarter depth palate that is all nicely together, has enough matter to do well over 12 to 14 years. Its tannins are well inset and ripe, and it ends compactly. (2 weeks old, sugars ended) good red colour; floral, slightly mineral nose. Clear fruit on the palate, a good floral aftertaste. Harmony plus decent depth, the length is OK. 14-15 years. I reckon shaping up to be *** to ***(*) Oct 2012

2011 ()

red robe with a little advance in it. Raspberry, mulled fruits, laurel airs show on the nose – the first steps of evolution and some damp woods, sous bois. The palate is at a criss-cross moment, one of stone fruit, mulled fruits, with smoke-rock tannins, not as one, like a game of two halves. It  creamy, silken, easy to drink. “The tannins this year are similar to 2006 – it isn’t a wine to keep like 2013, and was open early,” Kévin Garon. 13°. 2024-25 Apr 2015 Previously Oct 2012 **** (8 year 228-litre oak cask) purple-red colour; The nose is appealing, says a lot – scented black cherry, flowers prominent in it. The palate has forward fruit, too, is broad and fluid. A good, tasty and precise wine. It is actually lovely now – open and harmonious, on the pleasure. The length is good, with a few stony tannins there. It will be great around 2016-17. “It is ripe and round, and drinkable,” Kévin Garon. 2023-24  Oct 2012

2010 ()

good, thorough red robe. The nose shows blackberry fruit, comes with various layers of depth, the fruit mulled, and mixing up red fruits and vanilla as well, touches of black raisin and white pepper: all in all, an interesting start. This is good, still close-knit wine: it has a smoky outer casing, with good gusto in its red stone fruits, then charcoal from its oak towards the finish. There is a plum fruit, Pinot influence. It has just opened enough to show a sexy promise. The length is fresh, there is plenty of crackle in the wine, and it ends on tang, smoke. Lots of pleasure to some – it will drink well in restaurants around 2015-16, will be versatile with different dishes. 13°. From 2017 to allow more variety. €29 at the cellars. 2028-30  Oct 2012  Previously Nov 2011 *** (casks) comfortably full robe; has a carefully concentrated point of aroma on the nose, a pinpoint fruit of black cherry/berry with a gentle floral spread around it. The palate is correct, but not really buzzing yet, lacks distinguishing features. The raising is masking its clarity. The tannins are rather powdery at the end. Traditional style wine. Not really out and about yet. From 2014. 2023-25 Nov 2011

2009

(casks) full red robe; mulberry fruit with baked notes around it on the nose, a spot of ripe seasoning, white raisin and brioche bread. The palate has an enjoyable texture, offers squeezy fruit, lots of plump, ripe, come-hither appeal. It sustains well, kept going by its early drive, leading to a plum fruit liqueur sign-off. It is textured to please. I note a slight dryness on its finish from the state of ripening, the drought. Traditional rather than modern, it is broad across the palate. From 2013. 2022-24. Release Sept 2011. Nov 2010

2007 ()

(casks) dark plum robe; blackberry fruit, blackberry leaf with a sheen of iris or violet fronts up the nose – it has a little intensity about it. The palate shows tasty early black fruits, with a round spot in mid-palate; it ends on a more grainy, pebbly note, as sound red fruits emerge on the finish. The fruit is clear, there is good raw potential here. It can only move forward with time. Bit reductive now, not a concern. From late 2010. 2019-21 Dec 2008

2006

(casks) red plum colour; there is a sprinkling of black pepper and spice in a fleshy, aromatic red fruits bouquet that carries a consistent air. Ripe and sweet red berries are the strongest impression left right now. The theme of red berries continues on the palate, with a fleshy, sweet, open-doors appeal. This is easy drinking that would please wine debutants. The tone is of red jam, plus a touch of spice at the end, accompanied by soft tannins. The length is OK. Its constitution suggests the southern zone of the appellation. 2014-17 Nov 2007