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The Wines

34% Grenache, 33% each Syrah, Mourvèdre from La Gardine (W), whole bunch fermentation, 8-10 day large tronconic oak vat vinification at 29-30°C, very laissez-faire, steel vat raised 12 months, unfined, filtered, first wine 1998 (350 b), then 1999 (100% Mourvèdre, “so good was it”), 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2012 1,000-2,500 b

2016

(steel vat) shiny, handsome dark red colour. The nose involves crisp black fruits, charcoal, pipe tobacco smoke. It has a broad, nearly square shape. The palate has a clenched start, drawn in to a tight-knit display, with firm black fruits lining its path, the tannins solid and evident. This is marked by the Mourvèdre and its no-nonsense tight-knit fullness. It has plenty of scope for the future. From 2021. 2035-38 Oct 2017

2012

(steel vat, bottling June 2014) dark, slinky robe. The nose is similar – offers sleek black fruit of a supple, confirmed depth, some oak toast, roasting, black olives. The palate combines this black cherry fruit with for now ample oak from its vinification. There are nutty, pistachio nut late moments with the juicy, clear fruit darting in and out. It runs to the line. Modernist Châteauneuf-du-Pape – the base metal is very good, the oak intrusive, even if not used in its raising. From 2017. 15°. 1,000 b. €98! 2028-29  Nov 2013

2007 ()

(vat) dark red/purple robe. The bouquet is subdued but has potential – it shows gently simmered black berries with an underlay of garrigue and herbs – there is a glint of a smile. The palate is also gracious, bearing pretty black fruits with a really caressing texture – a complete pleaser. It isn`t overdone, so its natural charm is intact. Feminine, elegant wine of good balance and sound length. From late 2009. 2021-23 Nov 2008

2005

deep, dark red; the nose is reductive – shows shoulders, and has violet, a deep-seated blackberry, with a trace of leather and chocolate. There is an immediately solid start to the palate – this is a real, brooding caged tiger – it will growl from 2012. It is very solid, with plenty of tannin lining it. There is a very good foundation to this. I find the Mourvèdre marks the attack. 2022-25 June 2008 Previously Nov 2006 ***** full robe; peppery, promising nose with definite possibilities for the future, is profound and also clear-cut. Full, stylish wine that is well shaped, long and holds a good structure. The black fruits contain some sinew and life, the tannins are ripe. Less obviously fat than many 2005 Prestiges – a good thing, means it is better balanced. No harm at all in being only vat raised, as it turns out. From 2010. 2023-25 Nov 2006

2003 ()

still has a full red colour with some black in it. The bouquet exudes damp autumn woods, rotted tree aromas – is a real example of a bouquet on the turn. There is some oak implied via a little toffee, and it is almost in the sweaty saddle league. Has a rich-toned, mature flavour that holds up well – its richness is well planted, and persists. It ends on a raisin cake note, without some of the vintage dryness. There is some good clarity and poise in the palate, the flavour led by black fruits and prune. The aftertaste brings to mind Cadburys milk chocolate (the light coloured one). Decant to air that nose. 14°. 2019-21 June 2008