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The Wines

80-82% Grenache, 6-10% Syrah, 5-7% Mourvèdre, 4-5% Cinsault from Les Pradel (N-W), Bois de la Ville (S-W), Les Saummades (E), destemmed, 3 week tronconic oak vat vinification, cap punching, part vat empting/refilling, aged 60% 30-85 hl barrel, 30% 120-125 hl tronconic oak vat, 10% 600-litre oak casks 8-12 months, filtered, has some years risen from 80-90,000 b (early 2010s) to 150,000 b

2018

(large barrel/casks/vat) full red robe; the bouquet sits comfortably in the glass, has a sweet curve to its red fruits, is laced with herbs, laurel and garrigue notions. The palate gives a good roll of Grenache-led plum fruit with a savoury nature, the tannins flexible on the finish. It continues well to the finish, with a little inherent power on the powdered close. This is STGT wine that will give pleasure served in a large glass, its suave texture appealing. 14.5°. 100,000 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 5% Mourv, 5% Cins. €39. From 2022. 2039-41 Oct 2019

2016 ()

(barrel/casks/vat, bottling May 2018) shiny dark red colour. A deeply set spicing lies within the bouquet, with airs of black stone fruits, dates, a huskiness that shrouds it rather. The palate bears closely condensed matter, is thick, but keeps moving. The tannins have a darkness that illuminates the close, giving it a spring in its step. It finishes with purpose. This can become interesting and varied. 14.5°. 90,000 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 5% Mourv, 5% Cins. €35. From 2020. 2033-36 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(barrel/oak vat/casks) has a dark red, full robe. The nose is comely, bears floral airs such as violet that hover above its neat depth of black berry fruit. The palate sequels well from the nose, starting with a bonny generosity of black fruits, and another dab of floral accompaniment. There is a perfumed fruit length. This has quiet inner complexity, and deserves full attention when being drunk, so its nuances can be picked up: cerebral wine here. 15°. From 2019. Decant it. 2029-31 Sept 2016

2014

(barrel, bottling March 2016) sober red robe. Spiced, red berry fruit aroma, a note of wild strawberry. It has an airborne rather than grounded quality. The palate links closely to the nose, with an offer of red fruit jam, sweet spice attached. It becomes grainy towards the finish, but persists well there. Pretty genuine Grenache inspired wine, with an accurate portrayal of Châteauneuf, an STGT, nicely traditional wine. 14.5°. 80% Gren, 8% Syr, 7% Mourv, 5% Cins. 150,000 b. €33. From 2018. 2029-31  Oct 2015 

2013

(barrel) medium+ depth of colour. Has a jammy, confit nose, airs of stewed red fruits. The palate is sweet and supple, and mirrors the nose. The style is ripe to overripe, but with some freshness on the finish to help. There are grainy tannins in behind that carry through to the finish. From 2016. 14.5°. 2024-26 JL Oct 2014

2012

(barrel) dark red; smoke, tar-pine airs hover over a fully fruited nose that has genuine depth. Has a very Grenache, soaked raspberry air with black raisin and cooked and baked notes. The palate is shaping up well, is tasty from the off, and has local inner strength on the second half. It ends on a broad display of black fruit and a small, pesky, flinty note in its tannin. Black raisin and date close it out. A lot going on, has local depth, plenty to look forward to. Unctuous wine. 15°. From 2016  2026-28  Nov 2013  Previously Oct 2013 ***(*) (barrel/oak vat/cask) bright robe, attractively full. There is notable red fruit clarity, Grenache arriba, along with light oak, pepper, a touch of green stems, in a supple bouquet. The fruit will emerge well, has sound depth. A discreet spread of red fruit moves across the palate, builds concentration and power as it goes, ends firmly as its compact tannins are pretty ripe. Safe quality wine that is moving in the right direction. Its length is promising. It has enough in it to go on. Gummy wine that could have more lift. The aftertaste is chewy. 14.5°. 2027-29  Oct 2013

2011 ()

shiny, quite full red colour, legs. The bouquet has a jaunty skip, a cooked fruit, an air of bosky hedge berries. It combines ripeness with a dark grain, has cedar and pine notes, a sweet hover. The attack is pleasing, the pliant texture and oily juice of the fruit a good duo. It rolls suavely along the palate, avoids excess weight. It is showing a lot now in its first flush of fruit. The tannins are supple, but have the depth to hold up the end. The fruit stops a little. Very typical 2011 with its sweet leaning. It can drink now for fun. Sound wine. 15°. 2024-26  Oct 2013  Previously Dec 2012 *** (vat/barrel) fair red. Raspberry, spiced air, vanilla pod here, and a few extras such as flowers. It comes in the 2011 vein, has decent depth. The palate has a bosky-spice inset to its red fruit, with garrigue influences following. A three-quarter weight wine with local character. It continues into gummy, toffee zones. €28 at the cellars – I wouldn’t. 14.5°. 2023-25  Dec 2012

2010

shiny red robe, a belle affair. The nose is a real cup full of mineral edgings, gunflint with peony, floral and cool red fruit under that. This bouquet has great potential, also gives hazelnut and licorice just now. The texture is silky, the fruit sleek with a take-up of herbs on the second half. There is a great tingle of clarity as it ends. Very good – it is a polished and true southern wine. Has a smoky, stimulating freshness with the well marshalled southern depth. From 2015-16, but it drinks now thanks to its clarity and very good balance. For more expression and fun and games – wait. It gives access to its terroir. “It has good tension, is noble, and aromatic,” Didier Couturier. 2033-35 Oct 2013

2009

still a comfortable red colour. Blackberry, blueberry fruit is prominent on the nose, one of good appeal, an open air of mulberry also. The fruit beats the bosky elements hands down. I can also sense muscle, the compact depth of a hot summer inside it, like a spring about to release. The aromas also involve cooked plum, an oily nature, a wee eucalyptus. The palate has a dense, gummy textured content, dates and jam; it is likely to accelerate its spicing as it ages. Tobacco and dark dried fruits on the finish are closely clad in its warm, ripe matter. It is a little dumb, transitional now. A Châteauneuf-du-Pape for large flavoured dishes - venison, for example. It signs off on a close-knit density with stewed plum present, and round tannins with a covering of dust in their texture. From 2015. 14.5°. 2027-28  Oct 2013 Previously Oct 2010 *** (vat/barrel) full, slight matt red; reserved but rather stylish blackberry air – the bouquet offers simple youthful appeal. There is nice clarity in the palate fruit – it is more elegant and frank than many 2009s. It builds in some pebbly tannins, ends compact and pretty clear. Lacks a little late thrust and drive. From late 2012. 2021-23 Oct 2010

2008

mild red robe, some advance. Has an earthy, soil-like first air, a sort of Pinot Noir hum, a fat Pinot with pine trim. The nose mixes mineral, cough medicine aromas with mocha. This is based on free aroma more than depth. The palate isn’t dense, but drinks agreeably, has a rounded stone fruit flavour with some dashes of flint. It lacks real width but is an ideal café-restaurant wine, bistrots etc, one with its own low-key harmony. The fruit tapers a touch. I would buy it in a restaurant. There is a note of blueberry, cool fruit, café au lait, at the end. 14.5°. 2020-21 Oct 2013 Previously Dec 2012 **(*) mottled red with ruby, garnet traces in the robe. Pepper and dust feature on the nose with a notably damp and mature black fruit side – the bouquet certainly is largely ready. The palate starts on overt pepper, typical for a vintage that wasn’t fully ripe, then gives a loose run of black fruit with smoky, tarry edges. It works well on a reduced scale, is a “clever” 2008 – it isn’t thin, nor is it over-ambitious, offering as it does a gentle finesse. Spicy, baked black fruits, Christmas season notes appear towards the finish. Excellent with lamb chops in balsamic, soy, olive oil, garlic bulb sauce. I am surprised at its degree – 14.5°. An instant drinking wine in the here and now. Ends on aromatic prune, sweet and spiced. 2014-15 Dec 2012, East Sussex Previously Dec 2009 *(*) red robe – not full, nor bright. Simple, sweet red fruit air across the glass – a note of toffee, and above all jam. The sweet theme resurfaces on the palate, via a red jam, cherry flavour with the scent of flowers through it. A short-term, Grenache-led wine that lacks real depth but has a slight appeal about it. Light wine – drink soon. To 2015. Dec 2009

2007

attractive robe, a gradually maturing red, legs down the glass. The nose gives brewed, feral notes – a big bucket of southern depth, still obscure in its definition, airs of cooked fruits with North African style spices, Kasbah airs and an implicit sweetness. It heads towards being weighty, alcoholic. The palate works on a smooth, ripe texture and pockets of dark fruit, with grainy outbursts. This isn’t a real unit as yet, is a slow evolver. It suggests the oiliness of the south, rather then freshness, bulk over clear lines. It needs autumn/winter foods, and has links with after dinner wines, lacking zip. It is a bit of a Veiculo Longo. 15°. 2027-28  Oct 2013 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) bright dark red-purple; the bouquet coasts along, offers red stone fruits, some Bovril beef drink or beef stock implicit, herb and hay also – there is depth in this. The palate is a thorough affair, all rolled together – it gives a sense of purpose rather than being static, has a scatter of tannin that adds life. The black fruits are compact, come with good young muscle. Beau – has potential. From late 2010. 2020-21 Nov 2008

2005

handsome, still dark red. Has a “dark” aroma, spice, date, menthol – this has the airs of a drier vintage, cedar and a little game with prune and dare, a metallic touch, possible influence of old large barrels and SO2. After a pretty suave debut, the palate combines gras richness with a spine of direction, a flesh and cut combination. It ends clearly, on a crisp, chalky note, is still young. The fruit is slowly moving into the sunlight. A manly, upright wine that requires precise food matching, and also timing of when to drink it. It will express itself better from 2015. The length is good, but I want more brio on the aftertaste. The palate beats the nose. “Questions perhaps about our bottling then,” Didier Couturier. 2023-24 Oct 2013 Previously Nov 2006 *** quite a dark robe; ample, fruit liqueur aroma – cassis, black berries, is gently wide, live and persistent right now. Impression of raisins indicates very ripe fruit picking. Elegant harmony on palate, there is nice core richness. Black fruits with a gently macerated feel, all the elements are in synchronisation. Broad and round, exudes an easy appeal. Late on flavour resembles maraschino cherries. Safe style of wine, no real fireworks, but does the job, and sound value if not expensive. From 2008. 2017-20 Nov 2006

2004

plum red mixed with black touches on the robe; elegant, typical Châteauneuf nose with spice in the red fruits. Bonny attack, with elegant fruit, good character and stylish content. Yes, the attack is impressive – wide and live. Tasty wine, with red plums and spice here. Good balance, long finish. 2019-21 Oct 2006

2003

still full red; broad, compelling nose – its abundance hits you. It is very deep, combines Indian tea leaves, prune, cowhide, dry leather, grilled and roasted notes. The attack is lively, fluid, with menthol and “dark”, near burnt moments as it travels. It is a curious mix of life and depth, not necessarily an ensemble. The finish sees the flavour recede. It needs an HQ, a centre, and it lacks that. Drink with stews, pheasant casserole. The finale is grunty, with stewed fruits and black raisin. 14.5°. 2024-26 Oct 2013 Previously March 2005 ***(*) sound purple colour. The bouquet is nutty, laced with black fruit, and is pretty ample in its youth, has plenty to give. There is a sense of Syrah, a black jam with some high tone. One hour open brings a more grilled, international orthodoxy. The palate gives warm black fruit, the attack good and nourishing. It tastes well now – the cherry fruit is clear, and it is broad, while the finish has vanilla entwined. Tannins glimmer, then are absorbed. It shows much more sophistication and depth than in recent vintages here, and it ends with oak more prominent than fruit. Day 2: blackberry, oak, more international; but it can regain Châteauneuf character in middle age, around 2009-2010, for instance. 2018-21  Easter Day 27 March 2005, East Sussex

2001 ()

still good dark red heart to the robe; has a smooth, lateral aroma – black jam with some sweet herbs, spice, rich plum jam. The palate also has a sweet front to its mild black fruits, is at a sage stage of drinking now. It ends roundly, with just a very final note of pebbly tannin in the texture. Has attractive body, and its length is OK, too. 14.5°. 2016-17 Nov 2008 Previously July 2005 *** soft, discreet nose with some violet present, but not that prolonged. The palate holds clean fruit and there is decent stuffing in this. Is reaching a calm moment as it melds together. Agreeable without delivering fireworks. 2013-14 July 2005

2000 ()

the robe is still a pretty full red; blackberry fruit, inky, appealing aroma that has a pleasing sweet centre, with cooked plum there, very Grenache inspired. There are light red flower notes, blueberry and mineral also. The palate links well to the nose, bears shapely and tasty fruit, is very drinkable. It is flourishing now, parades charm. Very good now – it is still fresh and the scented red fruit has life. Underestimated quality, worth the wait. It can be decanted since it is a bit closed. The summit is close, best in the next four to five years. 14.5°. 2021-23  Oct 2013