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The Wines

75-85% Grenache (most concrete vat raised), 10-25% Syrah (raised young oak), 0-5% Cinsault, 0-5% Mourvèdre from sandy, loose brown soils on Vaudieu (N-E), av 30-40 yrs, destemmed, 30 day steel vat vinification at 25°C, part vat emptying/refilling, cap punching, aged 60-65% concrete vat, 20% used 228-litre oak casks, 15% used 600-litre oak casks (raised 40% new-2 year oak casks until mid-2010s) 12-13 months, unfiltered, 40-60,000 b

2017 ()

(vat/casks, bottling May 2019) dark red. The bouquet is potentially elegant, mixes beef stock depth with attractively sweet blackberry fruit, has a good, pure side to it. The palate runs with gracious, coated content, extends serenely, has a savoury note late on, and the tannins fit in very cosily. This will sing from a large glass in time. The finish can extend a little further, has a herbes de Provence note there now, plenty of potential. This is well balanced, classy Châteauneuf, very true to its ID. 15°. 40,000 b. From late-2021. 2042-44 Oct 2018

2016

(vat/cask, bottling May 2018) handsome dark red robe. The nose gives a sultry, filled aroma, mulled red berries at its centre, the whole a good wheel of southern produce, a note of finesse present. The palate is bright and savoury, comes in a modern, polished manner, with an aromatic styling set inside it. Its texture is coated until the arrival of the ripe tannins, the aftertaste rounded, supple, rather dense. A perfumed wine here. 15°. 80% Gren, 20% Syr. 40,000 b. From 2020. 2032-34 Oct 2017

2015

(vat/casks) healthy dark red robe. The nose is broad, filled, shows reduction, has a grapey, simmered red cherries charge, with more variety to come. It’s a confident start. The palate is unrefined, but swishes along with a pretty intense wave of red fruits, the tannins in step and largely rounded already. It’s an honest Châteauneuf, expresses its place accurately, without the finesse of the very best. The length is good, one of its main attributes. 15°. From 2019. 2031-33 Sept 2016

2014

(vat/cask) bright, quite dark red. There is an aromatic quality to the raspberry fruit on the nose, with a latent depth suggesting future variety. The palate is tightly knit, more so than most, with a knuckle of smoky tannin riding on the finish. It is more manly than many this year. It spreads widely with freshness, is nicely together, persists well. From mid-2017. 2029-30  Oct 2015

2013

(vat/cask) medium+ crimson colour. The nose is a little diffuse at the moment, but there’s a generous depth of fruit within. The palate is firm and solid, the tannins robust and in need of rounding out with further raising. Masculine, no holds barred, sort of wine. From 2017. 15°. 2026-28 JL Oct 2014

2012 ()

(vat/cask, bottling April 2014) dark robe; the nose gives a broad expanse of blackberry fruit, is sharpened by licorice, white pepper, bosky elements, has a lingering intensity, is definitely a wine of the south. The palate debut is spiced, bears dark fruit; it is rather closed today (it is snowing), has a dark red fruit heart. The tannins are robust, with oiliness in them. A vigorous Châteauneuf for stews, game. Genuine. From late 2015. Lower Gren than usual – 75% against 85% - this year, rest Syrah. 15°. 40,000 b this year, low. US$52.95 in USA. 2026-28  Nov 2013

2011

(vat/cask) dark red. Sweet-noted aroma of quite sturdy depth. Red Grenache fruit lies at its heart, has a wild, hedgerow berry fruit with a drift of garrigue herbs as well, a light snap of orange zest. The palate is curved, round – it has an agreeable, loose fat, so flows easily and well. The fruit lasts soundly, so can evolve, with tannins that can settle, too. It gains strength as it goes. Well-done wine, a good ensemble. 15°. From 2015. 2025-27 Dec 2012

2010 ()

(vat/cask) bright robe, steady red. Has a chocolate style, broad nose that is solid but not overdone, the fruit resembling prune. It is ripe and grounded rather than fresh. Mulberry and damson jam feature. There is a broad display of oily, moving fruit on the palate; the tannins have enough bite for their youth, are not in excess. Plenty of Grenache comes through. It keeps together well, and ends clearly, on a salty tang. The style is fresh finally, as opposed to the nose. It will gain roundness. Some late glow comes through late on, licorice there. A steady operator, is authentic enough. From spring 2013. 2022-25 Dec 2011

2009

(vat/cask) largely full red robe; there is a slightly singed top air to the nose – red stone fruits, black raisin within. I get its power across the glass, but it is not that obvious. The palate rumbles out, is sturdy at first, then there is a looser, more running theme on the second half, which is more accessible and expressive. Can move into juicy, willing waters, with its fruit and gras well present. From mid-late 2012. 2022-25 Oct 2010

2008 ()

(vat/oak) black tints in the red robe. The bouquet leans towards soft black fruits, blueberry, blackberry jelly, is curved. Broad but light on its feet fruit on the palate, with ripe tannin alongside, a little late concentration. I note the non-Grenache influences that add “dark” flavours, a spot of late intensity. The fruit ticks over fine, and there is enough late substance to beckon a decent future, too. Persists with genuine length. From late 2011. Certainly above-average 2008 here. 2018-19 Dec 2009

2007 ()

(vat/oak) full red robe with a purple top; there are smoky, reserved red fruits on the nose, that come with a snap of freshness – the style is mulled fruit, with raisin in the air. It is polished in style – wide without being forced. There is a ripple of energy in this – it bears well set red fruits of a sunny, quite robust nature. It keeps going, and reveals late power and width – it builds to a raspberry eau de vie sort of aftertaste. The fruit is plump, sappy on later inspection (the next day). The length is OK. From 2010. 2019-21 Nov 2008

2005

(final assemblage, pre-blend) This year is 82% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 4% Mourvèdre: bright, quite dark red; bouquet shows some earthy tones with red fruits uppermost, has a full leaning and some meatiness in it. Interesting sinew in the ripe palate fruit, there is a spear of direction: the Brechets regard this nerve in the wine as typical of the Vaudieu site. Shows red fruits with dash and good end poise. Its tannins give it life, there is lots to come. Esp late 2009 on. 2022-26 Dec 2006 Previously Nov 2006 ***(*) full, shiny robe. Tannic, pine overlay on bouquet, bonny jam fruit here with a sweet, slightly game, minted underlay. Palate fruit is well defined, has a silky, gourmand, plump interior and has smooth tannins wrapped around it. Persists well to a tarry finale. Syrah seems quite prominent now. I like the freshness in the ripe fruit, it is clear-cut and the finish is live. Harmony to come here, esp from mid-2008 on. 2020-23 Nov 2006

2004 ()

nice herbal, scented black olive bouquet that floats well, is stylish and there is a red meat backdrop to keep it interesting. A texture of suave fruit is the first impression, and there is good flow all through. The tannins need two years (ie from late 2008) but are smooth, ripe and persuasive. Interesting grip and grain late on, a sprinkle of pebble before it regains its richness. Sleek, polished Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Some drinkers would want more fire, guts and a little more wildness. 2018-20 Dec 2006

2003

Bottle 1 dry, faulty, very oaked. Bottle 2: oak, caramel, toffee aromas with some downhome, farmyard in them. There is a round shape to the start of the palate, the flavour resembles red cherry fruit on the way to being jam, until the entry of some tannin and oak which is mostly absorbed. A clean, modern wine without yet having a local feel. For less oak, more local – drink from mid-2010. Some garrigue herb-baked stones are suggested late in the day. Decent potential here. 14°. 2019-20 June 2008 Previously Feb 2008 ***(*) 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre this year – more Syrah, less Grenache than usual: black plum robe, with a healthy look about it; the bouquet shows a jam aroma with a nutty top layer, is nice and wide, the fruit wholesome and inviting. The fruit starts after opening as black, then softens and turns more towards red berries. There is just a little firmness, a good bit of grip, after the early sweetness. The palate`s red berry fruit is infused with a pebbly tone from its tannins. The fruit is savoury, enough so to allow solo drinking for this, without food. Has sorted its tannins, and the finish is now pliant. There is a rather seductive floral coating within the fruit. This could be varied and compelling around 2010. Now it has a good mix of youth and early stage evolution. Is not overdone at 13.5°. w.o.w. wine. 2018-20 Feb 2008 Previously Nov 2006 *** red with some depth; there is some light advance on the nose, showing some high fruit, wild berry jam with a touch of reduction for now. Soft, rather simple start to the palate, has an easy, light roundness, but is a bit facile. Is open and easy now, without a flourish on the end palate. Leave until 2008 for more expression. Has a stone red fruits flavour, with a nutty touch on the finish. 2017-19 Nov 2006 Previously March 2005, London ***(*) solid red. Heat, stones, the garrigue herbs, with some berry jam like mulberry on bouquet. Olive with a spiced, tapenade twist on palate, then a prune fruit presence on finish. Nicely rounded, solid wine with correct tannins in support. Interesting, that prune/damson finale. Esp 2008/09 on. 2019-22 March 2005, London

2001 ()

open, bouncy aromas, forward fruit with some filling, and a broad, gamey side. Elegant, tasty, drinkable flavour with a sweet thread. Fleshy, more obviously so than many 2001s. Tannins are ripe. Pebbly finale, length is sound. The flavour is aromatic and fine. Now on good form, was more closed six months ago. 2015-18. March 2005, London

1994

some purple in the red robe; the nose is quite austere, has a “dark” aroma. It is a bit closed, almost metallic. There is a fair hit on the attack, is a medium depth wine. Very middle of the road, this seems. It lacks some definition, is short on character. It shows some cooked fruit on the finish, seems a bit over-extracted. 13°. 2008-11 Oct 1996