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The Wines

60-100% Grenache (1940s), 0-30% Syrah, 0-25% Mourvèdre from 50% galet stone soils, 50% limestone soils on the Clos du Roi, when 100% Grenache, destemmed, 3 week steel vat vinification, destemmed, overs, 70% steel vat, 30% 1-4 year 228-litre oak casks raised 18 months; if Grenache & Syrah, fermented apart, pumping overs, part vat emptying/refilling at gravity of 1030, Grenache aged up to 3 year old large 45 hl barrel, Syrah new-1-2 year 228-litre oak casks 18-22 months, the best estate wine goes into this cuvée, fined, filtered, organic wine, 40-50,000 b

2018

(casks, bottling June 2020) dark robe; there is an air of laurel in a savoury setting on the bouquet, licorice, and dark berries, blackcurrants. The palate is tasty, gives appealing, clear run black fruits with nice dash and breeze, the finish towards menthol. This gives a good picture of its place, is harmonious and balanced, is a tuneful Châteauneuf that finishes solidly. 15.3°. 40,000 b. 60% Gren, 25% Mourv, 15% Syr. €30. From 2022. 2041-43 Oct 2019

2017 ()

(steel vat/casks, bottling June 2019) solid, dark red colour. The bouquet is southern, overtly so, rests on black olives, beef stock, sleek black fruit jam, has a curvy ripeness, is wide and solid. The palate is firmly juiced, sprinkled with spice, develops strength from within, ends on power, an unbridled close. This gains in assertion as it goes, is not for the faint-hearted, is a sipping wine, four-legged venison, game dishes suited. It’s more top heavy than ideal. Decanting essential. 15.3°. 44,000 b. 65% Gren, 20% Mourv, 15% Syr. €28. From 2022. 2040-42 Oct 2018

2016

(barrel/casks, bottling June 2018) dark red robe. An aroma of roast beef and blackberries plus a hint of dried herbs leads the nose, which has a fundamental, southern depth. The palate centres on red fruits with smooth tannins attached, has an authentic sweetness from its Grenache. The finish involves some spiciness, a little extra kick. This can become a silky style of Châteauneuf. 15°. 43,000 b. 60% Gren, 30% Syr, 10% Mourv. €25. From 2020. 2037-40 Oct 2017

2013 ()

mild red robe. The nose presents a rounded air of Grenache-inspired strawberry with wood smoke. It has a well weighted ease about it, is pretty concentrated, but not obviously so. The palate is in close tune with the nose, holding a supple concentration of red jam fruit at its heart. There is a gummy, toffee side late on from oaking. The freshness of the vintage has helped this be more on menthol than sweetness, and thus avoid an overdone physique. It goes quite long, ticking over on its Grenache warmth. Grenache, Syrah. 15°. From 2018. 2032-34  Oct 2015

2012

(concrete vat, bottling Feb 2014, 100% Grenache) shiny, mature, full red. The bouquet has a sweet depth, liqueur red plum fruit airs, a ripe strawberry. The nose is pretty curvy, shapely. The fruit is bonny on the palate, has a tasty centre. It starts on a good run of Grenache fruit with lots of peppery charge emerging as it goers. Local qualities here, robust tannic placement on the finish, which is cool, clear. Interesting wine, with promise. For informed drinkers, is not in the sweet n’obvious camp, has its pockets of mystery, places some demands. From late 2015. decant this. 14°. 2029-31  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(barrel/cask) fair red; this has a careful nose, with some potential. Currently it is a tight block of red fruit, an air of low-key raspberry liqueur. There is carbonic gas here – early front of the mouth acidity, with a lack of body around it – it has to resolve that issue. It ends with fruit a memory from the past. Not sure how good a cask sample, is light. 14°. From 2014-15. 2022-24  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(barrel/cask) quite a full robe. Has a well curved bouquet that mixes up meat stock, tea, prune, a little charcoal from some oak. The palate is chiselled, and shows grainy tannin, with a wiry fruit inside it. This has hardly got going. The style is direct, in the 2010 vein. The length is OK. From late 2013. 2030-32 Dec 2011

2009

(barrel/cask) dark robe; mulled black fruits aroma, currently a bit gamey, but is ripe and profound, with a black raisin note that indicates ripe crop, rather a harmonious start. There is a slight false first step, a loose one, to the start of the palate – it has a big shape, is upright, has firm tannins, is rather a brick wall for now. It ends firmly, with a tint of mineral there. From 2013. Syrah influence noted here – that firmness. 2027-30 Oct 2010

2008

(barrel/cask) matt plum colour. Raspberry, red berry jam aroma with a sunny air, good typicity, likeable jelly fruit. There are immediate sweet notes on the palate, which is pliant in its mid to later stages, adding to its appeal (many 2008s taper or dry at the end). The shape is round – this is an unforced wine offering good Grenache which could have a tickle more flesh within. Gathers tannin towards the finish. Well vinified, care taken with this, the fruit persists. From 2011. 2019-20 Dec 2009 84% Grenache, 16% Syrah, only 19,000 b this year

2007 ()

black-red; the bouquet has a full surround, the fruit dense at its heart, a full black berry that is restrained by some smoke and a sizzled streaky bacon air. The palate is muscled, with full fruit and content; it gains an “inky” side as it goes, has a profound, sustained nature. The blackberry flavour is laced with licorice, and stands up well. It persists in an imposing way. Drink from 2011, since it is fully charged. 2023-26 Nov 2008

2005

red plum colour; cooked fruits, with some coffee, toasting and a suggestion of game inside the bouquet. The red fruits are wrapped in a ball now, with a tannic coating that combines well. The length is good. From spring 2009 for more open cohesion: this has impact on the attack. 2023-25 Jan 2008

2004 ()

broad, supple, mulled red berry nose - a little honey and nut present. Red fruits dominate on the palate – raspberry, loganberry with a scented tone to the flavour. Has late tannic grip. A gourmand style of wine, fleshy, with good length, nice balance. 2018-19 Oct 2007

2003

still pretty red; typical Grenache, baked red fruit aroma, slight raisin and pepper with it. Rich, hearty palate – red fruit liqueur, is solid, and there are pockets of raisin in the taste. Robust, broad wine, feet firmly on the ground – offers late garrigue, herb touches. This is a potent wine – comfortably above 15°. “It was more dry at first, with some dry tannins from its Syrah. It is gaining as it ages,” Laure Ambroise, oenologue. 2020-21 Nov 2008

2001 ()

still sound red, a little ruby; the bouquet is on the march – its outer is downhome, raisin, cake, nuts, a little brewed coffee and potato crisps mixed up. There is a swing of red fruit on the palate, which is still quite fresh, which suggests Syrah present (tasted blind). It proceeds well, has a calm red fruit flavour with no gaps in it. The upright lean in the texture reflects the vintage, and so does the precise ending. Local nature to this. It is about to turn, so can be drunk now to enjoy its current richness. 14°. 2020-22 Nov 2008

1995

quite a dark colour, some matt in the hue. The bouquet is big - has a darkly fruited aroma, syrup or liqueur of fruit, and some red meat, almost animal tones. The flavour spreads broadly across the palate, expresses black cherries that continue well; this is hearty, big scale wine which is true to the finish, where there is some chewy tannin, and a lip smacking finale. it's honest, gutsy, big scale Châteauneuf. From 2001. 2024-26 Oct 1998 Previously Oct 1996 (casks) **** rather dark robe; spiced, oily, black fruited air, respectable nose. The palate has sound depth, its emphasis on black fruit, is quite rich. Rather weighty wine in a full style, no real rough edges, finishes well. Good line of fruit through it, and concentration. Just a bit upright and demanding in its early days, as the vintage has encouraged. From 2000. 2022-24 Oct 1996

1994

sound red; warm, spicy nose, with firm, dry instincts, is pretty typical. The palate is nicely rounded, has a local grain, agreeable bone within the flavour. A little military in style, has a slightly dry finish, shows heat there. The tannins are firm, but not herbaceous. Pretty good. From 2000. 2007-11 Oct 1996