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The Wines

31-55% Grenache, 25-40% Syrah, 12-31% Mourvèdre, 4-7% Cinsault, 2% various = Picpoul, Muscardin, Counoise, destemmed, 2-3 week vinification at up to 29°C, cap punchings, aged 37-55% large 50 hl barrel, 35-63% new-1-2 year 228-litre oak casks for 12 months (new oak around 8-10%), (until 2006 was 1-2-3 year casks), can be 10% vat , bottled after 18 months, unfined, filtered, 100-250,000 b

2018 ()

(large barrel/new casks) dark red; pretty classic Châteauneuf bouquet here – garrigue herbs, cooked plums, some intensity in the fruit, latent spice, a hint of power. The palate connects well, leads into robust, rather fired-up content, with “steel” in the tannins. It’s in a raw condition now, doesn’t hold back, needs time to fuse and temper its borderline excess strength. There are criss-crosses of liqueur red fruits along the palate, with glow on the aftertaste. It’s blood and thunder wine. 15°. 38% Syr, 31% Gren, 31% Mourv. From 2022. 2040-42 Oct 2019

2016 ()

(casks/oak vat, bottling June 2018) dark red colour. Blackberry and mulberry fruit twin on the nose, which has a straightforward sweetness, a plump style, done with restraint. The palate is sleek, bears suave content with ease in the tannins. It lacks the character of many this year, and I am left feeling that it could have been made with more full-on commitment, rather than being a risk-free product. It is juicy, the black fruits are tender, but there is something missing, and it veers towards dull in the context of this great vintage. 14.5°. 40% Gren, 30% Syrah, 23% Mourvèdre, 7% Cinsault, 47% tronconic oak vat, 35% 1-5 year 228-litre, 18% new 228-litre oak casks raised, 150,000 b this year. €35. From mid-2019. 2031-32 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(casks, large barrel, assembled, bottling March 2017) dark red robe. The nose involves smoke, blueberry and raspberry fruit on the cool side, a little peony. The palate bears easy flow red fruit with rocky tannins that define the closing stages. It’s a fresh wine, with inner reserves of depth, and a southern throb. The aftertaste is for now bracing, but the length is secure. 14.5°. 130,000 b.  From 2019. 2027-29 Sept 2016

2014 ()

(casks, large barrel, assembled) dark red. The nose has depth but isn’t showing a great deal today. There is a menthol-coffee assertion. The palate bustles along with black berry fruit and some lively tannins that add spearmint and smoke into the equation. The aftertaste is dentelle, clear. From 2018. 2028-30  Oct 2015 

2013 ()

(casks, large barrel, assembled) medium purple hue. Red fruited bouquet, with a touch of menthol offering lift and freshness. The palate exhibits juicy fruit with just a nuance of vanilla oak. The tannins are ripe and rounded, and there is both persistence and grip on the finish. This is generally fresh and harmonious. 14°. From 2017. 43% Gren, 30% Syrah, 22% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 47% large barrel, 53% 228-litre oak casks, 100,000 b this year, again very low. 2026-28  JL GB £138/6 bots Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com Oct 2014

2012

(casks, large barrel, assembled) dark red; the nose has hidden pockets – offers cautious prune fruiting, a raspberry angle, some cinnamon in it. The palate starts on a knuckle of berry fruit, a good glimpse inside the grape, its juice concentrated. Its freshness is attractive. There is a good spread of dusted tannin with herbs to aid the finish. This has the potential to interest and show variety. It has been simply done, bears appealing fat at its heart, keeps going with subtle length. The aftertaste is smoked. From 2016. 44% Gren, 37% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 37% large barrel, 63% 228-litre oak casks, 108,000 b this year, very low. 2026-28  Nov 2013

2011

(assembled) shiny, fair red robe. Has a smoky, pine woods air that offers red berry, toasting, raspberry jam. The palate is close-knit, has a cigarette ash note in its red berry fruit, pine essence and an oily feature towards the finish. Suggestive of coils of smoke from a campfire next to the vineyards. It finishes on gummy, rather dry tannins. Not yet all in place, from 2015. 14.5°. 2025-26  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(assembled, to be bottled March 2012) clear and bright full red; nicely curved bouquet, good style in it, shows supple blackberry airs, touches of oak - the aroma goes pretty deep, and comes with local notes such as laurels, herbs. The palate holds clean-winded fruit that is fine in style; its tannins are ripe and present, pliant. A wine of comfortable bourgeois qualities, it is juicy late on. An accessible Châteauneuf, not that complex. More time = more local. I reckon the Mourvèdre restrains its high degree, is 14.4°. From around 2014-15. 2026-28. 42% Gren, 40% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault, 49% large barrel, 51% 228-litre oak casks, 180,000 b this year. July 2011

2009

mild, three-quarter depth red; sweetly seasoned strawberry, red berry fruit air, still reserved from its bottling. There are rubbed stones and smoke in the air. Supple, fleshy fruit on the palate, has modern appeal, is quite fine, not sure how much local I.D. I would like a bit more rock n`roll, less of a pristine production. It proceeds smoothly, bears red fruits, with nutty late moments. Its juice lasts for most of the way. A correct wine that could be more inspiring. The balance is good. Needs to be value for money to encourage purchase. 47% Gren, 38% Syr, 13% Mourv, 2% Cinsault this year. 2027-29 July 2011 Previously Oct 2010 **** (casks) sound, quite full red robe. Red cherry aroma across the glass, comes with some grace. The palate bears streamlined fruit, but is robust at heart. It builds up its tannins and matter into a chewy, filled finish. This is set to do well – the elements are here, in place, and its good warm finish rounds it off well. Compact, stylish. From 2013. 2022-25 Oct 2010

2008 ()

minor evolution on the red robe; The nose is enclosed, but there is a good herbal top air, has a dusty nature, bears cooked plum, fennel, has wee licorice notes. The palate has an easy looseness, a fine tannin which is fresh – the finish reflects that. Has interesting variety, and more hidden corners than the 2009 and 2010 – it provokes the mind more. Has the taste and texture that pleases Northern European palates – grain and clarity. I give this marks for character. Food with this: grills, daube provençale (beef stew), roast pork, ratatouille – it does not need elaborate cuisine. 13.5°. Only 17 hl/ha yield, 46% Gren, 34% Syr, 14% Mourv, 5% Cinsault, 1% various, 120,000 b this year. 2019-21 July 2011 Previously Nov 2008 **(*) (a sample resembling the final assemblage from 2 year oak, malo completed) full dark red, purple colour; there is an elegant traverse of blackberry fruit in the aroma across the glass – and enough depth for some mystery. The palate gives forward fruit, is nice and sunny, comes with good heart, the length good, too. Tannins are live and evident, lining its sides well. Violet in the flavour, too. Very correct. “There is good acidity, it is a fine wine, with fine tannins,” Christian Voeux. This is 42% Mourvèdre, 29% each Grenache and Syrah – the final blend will be led by 50-55% Grenache. Nov 2008

2007 ()

pretty complete robe; there is a wide wall in the bouquet that has a broody style, a close-knit fabric, led by a sturdy Grenache aroma, red fruit – it is ample, and has sustained, latent depth. There is similar thorough cohesion on the palate, a big heart and core. It is moving into a second stage. The fruit is cherry, full and nicely scented, with a smooth texture and inviting juice. From 2012 it will be rocking. There is very good juice on the final stages. 14.5°. 2025-27. 48% Gren, 29% Syr, 22% Mourv, 0.5% Cinsault, 0.5% various this year. July 2011 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) (casks, close to the final wine) unflashy red with a matt hue; the bouquet bears a floral top note, the aroma comes with a gentle curve, and holds rather plump red fruits within, with seasoning such as chicken stock as well. The palate starts carefully; there is juicy and fleshy fruit in this – it is “modern” in its sleek presentation, and has abundant fruit as the name of its game. There is some extra late muscle, and its tannins are largely absorbed, with the finish showing chocolate in the flavour. It hits the road running, gaining momentum. Beau, sunny wine. From mid-2010. 2021-23 Nov 2008 62% 228-litre casks, 38% large 50 hl barrels this year.

2006

comfortable plum red robe. Earthy, slightly reductive, farmyard droppings air, with a spear of red fruit peeking in behind, a fine raspberry. The palate has a crushed stones nature, a fresh spine through the cooked plum, herbal flavour that culminates in a licorice tang and snap on the finish. It is coming together; has attractive, fine gras richness and the 2006 vintage juice, the juice of the first vattings as it were. I like the scenting in the fruit – this is appealing wine. Good finish of fresh content. “It became reductive from 3 to 4 months ago, this foxy side – our wines often do that at 7 to 8 years old. The 2006s have always had this expressive fruit. Our 2006 is more dense and structured . . maybe we had less rainfall,” Christian Voeux. 14°. 2023-25 July 2011 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) red with some dark plum in the colour; the bouquet shows grilled airs, has a compact cooked plum aroma, is earthy and quite fundamental. The palate starts off on a “less ripe” vintage note – there are cedar, forest influences, with a continuation that ends in cocoa, chocolate and raisin. There are red fruits within, and both grip and meaningful power on the finish, which shows a pebbly licorice nature. I find it like 2004, but with more flesh. “The tannins are forward today – it could revert back to its fruit, since the crop was very ripe in 2006.” Christian Voeux. 53% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 4% Cinsault, 1% diverse this year. 14° From late 2010. 2021-23 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2006 *** stars are just a hunch - way too early for a strong view with 3 interim vats tasted – 1) 50% Cinsault, 37% Grenache, 13% Syrah: mild red robe; easy aired aroma and the palate, too – is fleshy, supple and nicely ripe. 2) 72% Grenache, 28% Syrah: wild red berries aroma that is round and smoky. Rounded palate, holds a nice, easy richness, persists. Sound. 3) 55% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah: has been in new oak 8 days – dark robe; charcoal, “dark” aroma of prune, and ripe fruits. Rich texture, and persists; the oak impact here after only 8 days. Solid end from the Mourvèdre. Looks promising overall, with the respective varieties performing pretty well. Nov 2006 “The 2006 crop was very rich. Between 20 July and 10 August we cut the number of bunches per plant back to only 6-7, with sometimes 13 or 14 originally. Our average yield was 25 hl/ha,” Alain Dugas

2005 ()

red robe with a tickle of advance; plum and also cherry fruit aroma in a well-shaped bouquet that has reserves for the future. The palate is tightly assembled, with good tannins lining it – these are moving well from rigour to smoothness, are fine. They are still evident on the finish. The flavour is red fruits, with a good amount of chewy, vigorous matter, and its wrapping will become elegant given time. From late 2010. 2023-24 Nov 2008 Previously June 2008 ***(*) the top colour is red, the heart shows some black. The nose is marked strongly by blackberries – it is not varied now, although there are some minor herbal airs – it is an open bouquet, clean and modern. The palate is robust vis-à-vis the nose, then it settles and smooths out. It may just be doing its first close down. The red fruit is tight, and bears potential, the length is good. Has a clear, quite solid end in the clean vinification way. It ends on some tar, and is once more robust there. From autumn 2010. 2021-22 “In late 2007, it was a lot more accessible and was drinking on its fruit. Recently it has become more robust,” Christian Voeux, the winemaker. June 2008 Previously Nov 2006 ****(*) (the final assemblage) dark-toned robe; macerated black berries aroma with some top scent, a little floral and airy, is nice and thorough and there is licorice, too. Really well-knit palate, its texture is complete and very thorough. A full wine with lots of potential. All is in balance, with some toasting towards the finish. The fruits are ripe, and of course it is still very locked up, not showy at all. From 2010. 2024-27 Nov 2006 50% Grenache, 31% Syrah, 12% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 2% various this year

2004 ()

mild red with a little depth. Plum and red berry aroma, with wafts of herbal garrigue; there is a little reduction here that appears in small measure on the palate. Easy texture on the palate, has a supple start and an elegant run through. Is a bit locked up, has a gentle flow and the red fruits have a good heart, and glint out. Graceful wine without excess power. Esp 2009 on. 13.5°. 2021-23 Nov 2006

2003 ()

gentle robe; red hedge berry fruits aroma, pebbly, touch of garrigue underneath, quite typical. Rather soft attack, somewhat quiet. Fruit is red, tannins come along and close it down. Not a big show pony. Nose more intriguing than palate. Licorice at end. Slight worry about the tannins and their relative strength. More integrated by 2007-08. 2017-19 47% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 2% various December 2005, CdP

2002 ()

shows ruby-rust at top of robe. Wee game side on nose, red fruits, evolution apparent. Peppery, jam flavour, attractive and scented - persists nicely, is a chapel rather than a cathedral. Length is commendable. Good tooting wine with stews, for example. May dry out on finish in five years. 2010-12 46% Grenache, 29% Syrah, 19% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, 1% various December 2005, CdP

2001 ()

matt red robe, ruby top, legs down the glass. The bouquet is at a great moment, like many 2001s. It mixes a sultry richness with early red fruit, a great combination. It isn`t that typical – see the varietal breakdown, but it is interesting, and compelling, with baked plum at its heart. There is a scented, floral dash before the wine moderates, has bonny juice, wild strawberry (very rare connotation at 7 years, no doubt the Syrah influence from a moderately hot, not excessive vintage) pops up before giving way to more nutty, Christmas-time darker fruits on the end. Shows its freshness on the finish, its length is good, and there is great pleasure in drinking it. “It was a very beau vintage with a lot of freshness in it, and that has continued. The richness is superb. I find it to be a very good example of Châteauneuf evolution in bottle. It will be very good for another 10 years.” Alain Dugas. 2020-22 Nov 2008 Previously Dec 2005 ****(*) pretty dark red robe, good vitality. Really elegant, floral-tinged bouquet, will become leathery, stone fruits there now. Some cooked fruits on start, with the live sinew of the vintage -fresh wine, can eveolve and live very well. Cocoa, toasted style finish. Similar shape to 1981, but with more flesh. Great future ahead, tannins well integrated, and the fruit lasts well. Just emerging from its shell now. Esp 2007 on. 2022-25 48% Grenache, 26% Syrah, 18% Mourvèdre, 6% Cinsault, 2% various December 2005, CdP

1998

stable matt red robe, with a slow move to ruby at the top. The bouquet is still very knit together – here come beef stock, prune-plum, with leathery and violet airs as well. The palate is fresh still, right there in the game, even reserved at 10 years' old. Plum fruits are followed by game, animal, wee fungal touches, then a final menthol flourish. It is wide and runs consistently, is showing very well. I am struck by its freshness. There is late kick in it, a vintage hoofprint. It is in a stable phase now, and is more meaty, gamey than 2001 - a slightly cooler vintage. 2017-19 49% Grenache, 22% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre, 8% Cinsault, 6% various, mainly Picpoul, Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Counoise, Terret Noir. “Its freshness was helped by good ripeness. When we tasted from the vat as it fermented, we knew we had a good vintage,” Alain Dugas. Nov 2008

1995 ()

has a good, dark robe. The nose is a little spirity, potent, has an aroma of dark berry fruits, is not fully ensemble as yet. The palate is wholesome, full, holds pretty clean, pure extract, the length good, the aftertaste clear. Red fruits lie at its heart, and this is one of the more stylish 1995s, the fruit successful, with gutsy matter around it. There is a hint of dryness on the finish. From 2000. 2023-25 Oct 1998

1994

very dark, purple-black robe. The nose has the air of concentrated cooked fruit led by cassis, is clear-cut with some oak lying alongside. The palate doesn't hit at the outset, is restrained. There is a density that grows and develops through the palate, the flavour a mix of dark cherry and blackcurrant. The young oak helps it along. It is deep, but is also capable of elegance. Decent length. Drink best 2001-05. 2014-17 Oct 1996