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The Wines

50-60% Grenache, 15-20% Syrah, 10-15% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault, 13% various led by Counoise, Vaccarèse, from Maucoil (N-W), Combes Masques (N-W), Coste Froide (E), Les Tresquous (N-E) and other sites, destemmed, 4-6 week concrete vat vinification, pumping overs, cap punching, aged 20-80% 1-4 year 229-litre oak casks, 0-20% used 600-litre oak casks, 0-80% concrete vat, some large 38 hl barrels 6-9 months, then vat 2-3 months, fined, filtered, organic wine, 12-39,000 b

2019

(casks) healthy dark red robe; the bouquet leads on an air of grasses, hay, with a blackberry filling below. It’s hardly got going, but the fruit is promising. The palate carries fibre in its texture, sinew, has a leaning towards rigour, chewiness, as if the tannins are running the show for now. There is spiced plum fruit from the Grenache within. This bears a coolness and a parched lands emphasis, and requites time to integrate, and to start to charm more. Rugged Châteauneuf, leave until 2024. 14.5°. 60% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv, 10% Cins. €27.50. 2040-42 Nov 2020

2018 ()

(casks, bottling May 2020) dark red colour; the bouquet shows an air of marc, straight out of the vat, is rather disorderly. There is depth, and refinement is required. It bears a sense of prune, black stone fruits. This is substantial, has a charged content with mean customer tannins brooding darkly on the close. It’s grounded and firm, needs plenty of time. It’s one for the full-on brigade, a haunch of venison in view. 14.5°. 30,000 b. 60% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv, 10% Cins. From 2023. 2041-43 Oct 2019

2017

(casks, bottling April 2018) dark robe, black centre. The nose smoulders with black berry fruit, damson plum, has a trim sweetness – I note the 14.5° that helps that. There are smoky-oak outcrops. The palate has a pine presence from its oak, bears cool fruits, cassis and blueberry, with a fresh spur, spearmint, towards the close, oak there again. The length is OK. It’s still very much on its raising. I find the oak strong for now, not in tune. 14.5°. 30,000 b. 60% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv, 10% Cins. €22. From mid-2022. 2036-38 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(casks) quite a dark red. The nose is quiet, has a low-key blackberry fruit air, a few herbs notions. The palate provides a garrigue style red fruits flavour with interest from the mixed herbs, laurel influences. There is a little oak creaminess in it. This is a genuine, uncluttered Chateauneuf for drinking from 2019. 14.5°. 30,000 b. 60% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv, 10% Cins. €22. 2029-31 Oct 2017

2015 ()

2015 ***(*) dark red robe. The bouquet is inky, full, blood and iron present, a swoop of ripe red berry fruits, liqueur in style. The palate bears charged, rolling content, a wave of dense fruits with a note of power through the late moments. It’s still finding its way, has a cherry stone assertion of flavour, near kirsch, before the finish. It doesn’t pull its punches, is robust, better to drink in autumn/winter than summer. 14.5°. 2031-33 Mar 2018

2014

(casks) sound red robe. The nose has a blackberry and violets, Pez sweets aroma, something of the boudoir about it, it has depth. The palate bears perfumed blackberry fruit with a supple texture, a little coated, towards the finish. The aftertaste is more mineral, and suggests this can be interesting over time - a wine with a degree of openness and subtlety at the same time. From mid 2017. 2027-28  Oct 2015

2013

(casks) medium red robe, pale at the rim. The nose is slightly confected, oak heavily present. There is a generous volume of fruit on the palate, but oak again weighs in. Big and solid wine, but the oak needs to dissipate. 15°. From 2017. 2026-27 JL Oct 2014

2012

(casks, bottling May 2014) bright, healthy red; ripe fruit, black raisin airs with a plummy intensity, a more serene raspberry in behind, with a note of roasting. The palate has a strong feature of notably concentrated juice, with prune and date heartlands. This develops a broad tannic base, sits four-square on the palate. The aftertaste brings in oak cask notes via cocoa and chocolate. This has a Big Surge that is just kept under restraint, is widely spread, has plenty of content and glows a on the aftertaste. A big Châteauneuf with a firm, no concessions, close. 14.5°. 60% Gren, 20% Syr, 10% Mourv, 10% Cins, only 12,000 b this year. €20. From 2016. 2026-28  Nov 2013

2011

red robe. Raspberry jam waves on the nose that is quite sweet and open, gives a hint of leather and thyme – this gives a solid foundation, a sense of warm soils. The palate peppery red fruit is supple and engaging, its smooth texture a pleasure. An unpretentious, sound example of vintage 2011: it ends roundly, the fruit extending well and bringing a spiced gourmandise. Tannins are quietly present. Not that deep, a wine that slides along. Just about **** level. From spring 2014. 14.5°. 2025-26  Dec 2012

2010

comfortable red robe; has a sturdy, sweet-noted nose that carries an air of baked bread, with a light dance of raspberry fruit peeking out for now. A correctly traditional Châteauneuf bouquet here. The palate is led by round Grenache red fruit, but is not especially extended through the palate – the fruit drifts late on. It has set tannins in it that are bright and add a snap to it. From spring 2013. 2020-22. €18 at the cellars, 60% G, 20% Syr, 10% M, 10% Cins this year, bottling in May 2012, 37,000 b. Dec 2011

2009

quite a full, dark red; confident, well-established aroma. Chocolate, light black raisin air, raspberry jam. Juicy, agile start to the palate – a wine that flows well, shows raspberry sweetness towards the finish. There is fine fruit in this, but it just lacks a little brio and fades a bit. From late 2011. 2018-19 Oct 2010

2008 ()

obscure, matt red, not very promising. Slightly burnt, oxidative style red fruit aroma that is narrow. The palate fruit is indeed lacking in freshness – it works on a sugary basis, comes and goes, lacks continuity and depth. Very modest Châteauneuf, lacks horizon. From mid-2010. 2015-16 Nov 2009

2007 ()

full robe. Crunchy blackberry, prune aroma – it fires off salvos of bouquet, is slightly reductive, suggesting Syrah. The oak is a streamlined addition to the palate, with free running Syrah-influenced fruit within, doing well for the wine. Fresher than many 2007s. Oak prevails in the final stages, so leave until mid-2012. 15°. 2020-22 Nov 2009

2005

mid-red robe, Grenache to the fore. Softly presented red fruits bouquet, with a little snap and crackle in them, some tannic wire. The palate starts a bit restricted, then gains some push, ending on a quietly savoury note. This is sound, mid-range Châteauneuf for earlier drinking than many, from mid-2009. Its length is OK, has a herbal aftertaste, and a red fruit tart flavour. 2018-19 June 2008

1998 ()

three-quarter depth red; varied nose – warm, rounded, garden berry jam fruits. Attractive Grenache on the palate – the flavour becomes delicious along it, and the finish flourishes. Has a really nice, sexy feel to it, is a vino sensuale of good, complete charm. It drinks well now, will be more varied and nuanced in 2003-04 onwards. Its tannins are really well wrapped around it. 2012-14 Feb 2000

1995 ()

pretty good colour, red. Quite a round, slightly ordinary nose shows spice and herbs, but lacks Châteauneuf depth. The palate is softly appealing; this needs two to three years more, but does not pretend to dimension. It is rounded, has more flesh than bone. OK wine, for easy drinking rather than serious study and top grade foods. Soft, doesn't leave a lasting impression. 2006-08  Oct 1996