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The Wines

33-60% Grenache (1925), 20-34% Mourvèdre, 20-35% Syrah, from galet stone, white stone limestone, brown & sandy, compacted safre soils on La Gardine (Derrière Cave) (N-W), small box harvesting, varieties assembled at cellar reception, destemmed, 3-4 week vinification at up to 30-33°C, cap punchings, aged 85-100% new, 0-15% 1-year oak casks 12-18 months, unfined, filtered, 6-10,000 b

2018 ()

(casks) dark red colour; the nose swims with black, Morello cherry liqueur airs, has a sleek sweetness, oaking, a grapey intent, shows a note of laurel. It needs to refine. The palate is overtly juiced, bears ripe, thick tannins, finishes on its black fruits, a hint of salt there, with further oaking. The aftertaste is solid, rather unyielding. From 2023. 2044-46 Oct 2019

2016

(casks) deep colour, very dark red. Oak varnish sits above a sturdy aroma of massed, crushed black berry fruits, concentrate of black raisin, dark chocolate and licorice also right in the picture. The palate is a streamlined affair, bears sleek black fruited matter with bustling, busy tannins and ever-present oak charcoal. It’s right in the cellar now, and should be left until 2022. Eventually a handsome wine will emerge, but it will take longer for it to show typicity. 2034-37 Oct 2017

2015

dark robe. The nose gives quite prominent oak, charcoal tar and chocolate as a result, the inner furnished by fat, plump black fruit jam airs. The palate is savoury, suave, glides with stylish black fruits, the oaking present but alongside. The tannins are ripe, with a discreet firmness. This is elegant, measured wine for drinking from 2020 – absolutely no hurry. It’s in the modern school of Châteauneuf. 14°. Bottled already - Aug 2016. 7,000 b. 2031-34 Sept 2016

2014

(casks) purple-red robe. Has a vigorous, open nose that gives peppery, spiced dark berry fruit airs. This is crunchy on the palate, with oak playing its part in that. The fruit is lucid and pure as per the best of 2014 in style. Very juvenile, needs more raising and refinement. Allow time for it to regain local stamp and achieve distance from its oak. 14.5°. 33% Gren, 33% Syr, 34% Mourv. 6,000 b. €54.50. From 2020. 2030-32  Oct 2015

2013 ()

(casks) deep purple colour to the rim. Creamy dark fruit shows on the nose with freshness and élan. The palate is fresh and focused, the tannins firm and solid behind. Oak peeks through, but there is a minerally freshness as well. This is powerful and steely in style, and has ageing potential. 14.5°. From 2018. One-third each Gren, Syr, Mourv, harvested 7 Sept-10 October, all new oak raising, 8,000 b this year. 2030-31 JL Oct 2014

2011

(casks) dark red, purple, legs in the robe – this has a rich look. Has a notably sleek, modern, oaked nose that holds traces of clear black fruit, and is backed by a violet and mocha ensemble, with black raisin. This is a wide, coated wine that gives a full display of oak and tannin in its fat roll of fruit. “Sleek” is the word. I find the oak intrusive and overdone - there is lovely rich matter without it, so the result is that its enjoyable youth will be lost. 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre this year. 2027-29  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(casks) dark robe. Nicely oily air, shows prune and black berry, ripe fruiting; extra depth from meat stock, damp earth, truffle implications. The ripeness of the fruit stands out. The palate is wrapped up, comes with a coating of black fruit that is reined by oak and tannin near the finish. Can be left until 2015. The fruit has a glisten, is a little of the cellar more than the vineyard, comes in the ubiquitous pristine, modern style. The oak needs time to absorb – the finish is oak-dominated for now. A fine style of wine. 2029-32 Dec 2011

2007

(casks) full, dark red mixing purple and black. There is a Morello black cherry aroma of some intensity – it has intrinsic sweetness and holds up well with a lacing of herbs and oak, the latter running across it. This is a wine with a full, solid heart – the fruit is clearly delivered, with a handsome quality. Its note of reserve works well, and this is not a 2007 running along the fruit bomb corridor - hence it has good balance. It will be tasty and authentic, even with its oaking. The finish is long and clear, with herbs and oak mingling there. From 2012. 2025-27 Nov 2008

2005 ()

quite dark, bright robe; meaty tone to bouquet – ripely set, with herb and licorice present. Oak threads run through a rich palate, there is good Grenache fat here. Holds the usual elegant Gardine shape. The Grenache leads the palate at first, then the Mourvèdre comes into play, bringing more bite. Good balance. 2024-27 March 2007 Previously Nov 2006 **** quite a bright, dark robe; oak, raisin, ripe fruit combo on the bouquet, with black berry jam underneath, fenced in by the oak. Decent, clear, modern fruit with oak all around it on palate. Holds a nice pedigree of stylish fruit, and has a clean, good grip on the finish. Esp 2010 on. 2026-28

2004

dark robe; oaked, tangy, cherry bouquet in the international school – is pretty full, whereby the grapes have received a long hang time, and laced with some herbs. Sappy, a bit cloying at the start – not a vin de plaisir, a cathedral more than a church, lacks lift. The oak is well on top from three-quarters down the palate route. Fruit bomb style of wine, not convincing for me. From 2009. 2017-19 Oct 2006

2001 ()

full, quite dark red; oily, thorough nose – its black fruits are sealed together with sleek siding, and – a rare event, but the Brunels have long experience of it – stylish oak. It is just entering its second stage, is not yet varied, though there is gammon here. A classy bout of Grenache fruit is presented in a sophisticated oak wrapper, with the oak coming on stream from three-quarters of the route, bringing toffee and caramel into the picture. There are plenty of tannins still. An international, not local wine now – from 2011 for more local and more interest. 2022-24 Nov 2008

1998

called Gaston Philippe Cuvée des Générations: full, plum red; very minty, smoky, burning wood nose – cassis, smoky bacon – it is wide, filled but in no way Over the Top. The palate starts richly, runs decisively, holds intrinsic energy, and is aided by the bustle of its oak. There is richness towards the finish, a feature that alleviates the oak's relative austerity and upright hold. The aftertaste is tarry. There is potential here, but it's revealing that the wine still isn't local. 14°. 2021-24 Nov 2008

1985 ()

called Cuvée Génération: has an above average colour, decent depth; it has lost its black centre hue. This has a very swirling bouquet, is peppery, and shows quite a low of power, intensity. This is very good on the palate, has local imprint, plum fruits and good depth, a belle length. This is very La Gardine in style – very representative of this estate, and this soil. I would give this another ten+ years; it will be great around the mid-1990s. July 1991