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The Wines

40-66% Grenache, 17-45% Syrah, 10-40% Mourvèdre (until 2007 was 75-85% Grenache, 15-20% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre) from 90% galet stone covered soils, 10% loose red earth soils on La Fortiasse (S-E), mostly destemmed, 25 day vinification 50% in concrete vat, 50% in steel vat, part vat emptying/refilling, pumping overs, aged 50% large barrel, 50% steel vat 15-24 months, different bottlings, 40-50,000 b

2018

(large barrel) dark plum colour; the bouquet has a raw crunchiness, liqueur style fruit, Bovril or meat stock depth, eau de vie, is definitely of the land rather than the sky. The palate centres on cooked plum fruit, carries Southern weight, with tannins that bring a little pep late on. It’s a bundle of raw, but promising parts, for now. The finish is pretty well charged, too. 14.5°. 45,000 b. 40% Gren, 40% Mourv, 20% Syr. €20. From 2023. 2043-45 Oct 2019

2017

(large barrel/vat, bottling Jan 2020) dark red robe. Lamb stock, savoury airs, cooked plums from its Grenache, sweet herbs. The nose isn’t quite yet in the zone, has local colour, is solid. The palate bears spiced cooked plum fruit, picks up some grass roots strength as it finishes, on its degree a little there. It’s a bit loose, and not well grouped in the final stages. There’s a chewy aspect to the finish for now, the texture pebbly, grainy there. 15°. 40,000 b. 45% Gren, 45% Syr, 10% Mourv. From late 2020. 2039-41 Oct 2018

2016

(barrel/vat) quite a dark red colour. The nose has a grilled aroma, a sweet and savoury backdrop, sweet herbs, marjoram, cooked plums the lead fruiting. It’s pretty broad. The palate is spiced, bears red fruits with a clench of tannin from the mid-point, the finish gummy, and just a shade dry. There are sweet herbs in the flavour as it closes. It is a wine from a hot, dry vintage, for now compressed in on itself. 15.5°. 50% Gren, Syr 27%, 23% Mourv. From 2020: it will improve with age, is marked on that basis. 2037-39 Oct 2017

2015

(large barrel) bright, simple red robe. Elder cordial and cassis combine on the nose, a hint of raspberry: it’s a bit limited for now, has a rocky, slightly clipped nature. The palate wells up from within via compact red fruit with some sting in the tannins. It’s dour as it stands, and needs to spread and loosen. From mid-2018 at the earliest. A tiny aromatic moment on the aftertaste gives a little hope. 14.5°. 2033-35 Sept 2016

2013

(barrel) medium+ depth of colour. The nose gives an aroma of prune - it is rather oxidative and port-like at present. The palate is sweet and full, but dries on the finish. It is a little disjointed at the moment with alcohol present on the finish. 15°. From 2017. 2025-27 JL Oct 2014

2012

(barrel) decent red robe, legs. The bouquet will charm – it has a continuous air of plump red berry fruit, some meaty, more “high” aspects – and is pretty thorough. It is Grenache-centric, has an air of roast pork, breathes Grenache power from within. The palate has a well-balanced integration of fruit, quite strength tannin and freshness. It is compact for now. Good acidity, very much the 2012 freedom here. The raspberry-plum fruit hits the sides of the mouth enjoyably. There are smoky and salty touches on the aftertaste, and it ends clearly. Interesting wine, still unfurnished. From 2016. 14.5°. 66% Gren, 17% Syr, 17% Mourv this year. 2031-33 Nov 2013

2011

(barrel) simple red robe. Strawberry aroma, with honey and caramel backing – the nose has a certain depth. There are grounded elements here, with a suggestion of power. A flavour of red cherry eau de vie starts the palate – it offers a solid line of rather muscular fruit, and ends on a firm, gummy note. Its parts aren’t knit together, are disparate, and alcohol is an issue. From 2015, patience needed. 14.5°. 2028-30  Dec 2012

2010 ()

comfortably full red; the nose has payers in it, is full in nature, bears wrapped up black fruit airs, smoke and licorice along with signs of baked ripeness and some outlying acidity. There is sleek style black fruit with crunchy tannins around it on the palate – it runs a direct race now, is consistent through the palate. It ends with some spearmint freshness, a little glow. Is not really cohesive, and below the standard of many this year. From late 2013. Bottling in June 2012. €17.50 at the cellars, 65% G, 20% Syr, 15% M this year. 2024-27 Dec 2011

2009

2 bottles tasted blind in London, both similar: quite a full red; singed, King of Spain beard air, wood smoke is nearly acrid to sniff this. The palate is high, gummy, leans forward, and gives an uneven ride before an encore of the singed fruit. Acidity not right, and one wonders about its oak raising, the oak itself and cellar matters. 14.5°. Underwhelming. Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 **(*) (barrel) full red; oily, dark fruits nose – shows mulled, mulberry, raspberry aromas – is not that fresh, a touch of the droops here. The palate has a ripe fruit debut, then quietens towards the finish, comes with prune, tar-mint influences. It works on intrinsic power, but labours rather than flows. 2023-25 €17.50. Oct 2010

2008 ()

(barrel) light magenta, purple traces. Soft, rather sweet nose – very primary fruit just out of the vat impression, and a grilled top air. There is a similar display on the palate, which is agreeable enough, bears innocuous red fruit, comes with a tinge of tannins and “darkness” in it. The finale is tidy. Light, but OK. From mid-late 2010. 2020-21 Dec 2009

2007

(assemblage example) red, some purple in it. Although it is dumb, the nose is potentially elegant. There is content in it – compact, simmered red fruits such as raspberry and a little chicken stock. The palate holds oily, but free flowing black fruits – they come all as one, and the wine moves without obstruction, ending roundly and calmly. There is a garrigue effect implied from half way – baked stones, herbs. A well-mannered, beau vin with a touch of class, and tasty potential. From 2010. 2026-29 Nov 2008

2006

steady red, a little black in the robe; has a brewed, baked, full aroma – it is all as one, sealed up for now, has genuine depth, for now reveals only cherry eau de vie or liqueur. The palate also gets off to a steady start, has a likeable juicy fruit in it, a ripple of gourmandise, is a wine that presents a bonny face to the world. There is a good little tannic outcrop after its early fruit. Harmonious, beau, full wine with definite power in it. From late 2009. 2027-29 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 (assemblage example) ****(*) quite a dark red; mulled red fruits, garden-grown red berries with some smoke and mystery late on in the bouquet. Has just a touch of mineral late on, and plenty of plump appeal. Juicy, pretty start to the palate, with tannins from half way. Grenache-led wine, with genuine local feel. STGT wine. An upfront wine, whose tannins need 2-3 years. 2025-28 Nov 2007

2005

robe is a bright, quite complete red. Elegant, clear bouquet – there are low-key red fruits within, and it is still very primary and not varied at all. Stylish palate, with an easy, savoury red fruit that is very cleanly struck. Flows without effort, and the tannins are ripe, fine and successful. Very much in the clear, clean school of Châteauneuf, not from the dark, dangerous corner of town. Balance is good. Is sweeter and more classic Châteauneuf than the Cuvée du Baron 2005. 2024-27 Oct 2007, London Previously April 2007 ***(*) gentle red colour; raspberry scented, tight aroma – overtones of garrigue, warm stones. Bouquet is rather square in its youth, though there is tea and some damp soil coming through. The attack is full, with red fruits and a meaty, thorough constitution. Length is good. A bit forced, a wine on the punch. 2024-26 April 2007, London Previously Nov 2006 Chât-du-Pape *** dark, quite bright robe; chunky, solid bouquet of raisin and chocolate, big and rather heady. Brewed black fruits on attack, has a supple, prune flavour, indicating late cropped grapes. Comes in that “long hang time, heavier Grenache” school of approach. The richness is mature, not springy, and is laced with sweet black fruit and dates. Comes on strong – not a wine to drink with abandon, or a lot of it at a time. Over 15°, I can guess. Esp late 2008 on. 2023-26 Nov 2006

2004

mild, low key red colour. Brambly, soft fruit aroma, some sous-bois or underwoods in the making – is thorough enough. Understated attack with some tar on it, comes in the vintage style with a skip of a beat mid-way. Rather fades at the end – Grenache minus quality. Plain, workmanlike wine. 2018-20 Hmm. Oct 2006 Previously Feb 2006 **(*) light, mild red; simple red fruits nose; Low profile wine, suffering from bottle sickness – has been bottled Dec 2005, 6 weeks ago. Elegant leaning in the wine. Is clean, not a farmer’s wine. Comes back at the end with some tannin and interesting fruit. Will be more filled than this. Wait till 2008. 2019-21 Feb 2006

2003

quite full robe. Herbal presence on ample bouquet, red jam aromas. Deep, jam/black fruit pastilles flavour, tangy and agreeable. Tannins need two years, give a white pepper effect. Black fruit, licorice ending. Very much a southern wine, the laurel, stone outcrops in it. Esp 2007 on. 2024-26. Good wine. July 2005 90-95% Grenache, rest Syrah

1998 ()

(vat) dark plum, cherry red colour; the nose is dense, with a smoky, peppery aspect. The palate is also dense, and tight as well. There is good fleshy matter, with a tannic frame around it that evolves into a final tannic chewiness – a pleasant sign-off. Good structure, stylish wine with cut in the fruit, nothing overdone. Good length, too, a spicy finale another bonus. From 2004. 2023-25 Feb 2000

1997 ()

clear red colour; Tight, spiced jam aroma – nice “plenitude” here. In the front rank are red fruits from the garden, supplemented by wild black hedge fruits that lend more “bite”. Good style on the palate – has a flourishing attack, is more whole than many 1997s. A little enclosed now, but is good, the length sound. Agreeable tannin on the finish. Has the acidity to live. 2013-16. Bottled Dec 1999. Feb 2000 “There was very good acidity in 1997 – it will live. We had some rain at the harvest, but I always wait the maximum, take risks, so I waited until after the rains – or I bring in the crop and then do a severe sorting," Bruno Le Roy.

1995 ()

purple robe, some black tints. The nose shows quite sleek, cooked black fruit, is clean-cut, has some depth, shows some oak. The palate is full, rich, nice. There is a pretty obvious, good grain of black fruit through it, leading to a spot of smooth tannin. It certainly has non-Grenache grapes in it judged by the style on the finish (tasted blind). Its aftertaste is direct. It is not showing a lot of terroir at this stage. Best from 2000. 2022-25 Oct 1996

1994

very dark, intense red, hint of top purple. Has a big, warm nose, a lot of matter, fruit, also oak. There is a confident feel on the attack, has plenty of volume, a full and dark berry flavour and width across the palate. Big scale wine which is intense at its centre and on to the finish. Its tannins are noticeable, but well integrated. It has a certain elegance, even if it is a little hard. 13°. 2019-22 Oct 1996

1978 ()

dark, sustained colour, streaks of black. The nose is still tannic, the aromas firm, and there is a brooding darkness to it. The palate shows a lot of backbone, almost to the point of austerity; I sense the Syrah – its presence is pushing the palate along. It is a big, tannic towards Bordeaux style of wine, without necessarily much southern roundness – no doubt that is why it appealed to the London trade at a time when the Rhône was vastly overlooked. It is fine, but I am not sure where it will go, given it is a bit tough on this showing. Leave to allow the potential to unwind; can live on for another 12+ years. Big stuff. 2006-09 Jan 1991