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The Wines

75-80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5-6% Mourvèdre, 4-5% various – mainly Cinsault, with Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Terret Noir & Picpoul Noir, mainly from sandy & clay soils across Montolivet (N-E), Bois-Dauphin (N), Pied-de-Baud (N-W), Les Gallimardes (S-E), La Crau (E), Les Serres (S-E), Cansaud (S-E), Les Parrans (S), Les Marines (S-W), Coste Froide (E), Chemin de Sorgues (S-E), Palestor (N), Les Cabanes (S-E), 40-70% destemmed, 30 day vinification, pumping overs, part vat emptying/refilling, aged 70-75% large barrel, 20% steel, concrete vats, 10% 228-litre & 600-litre oak casks 18 months, unfined, sometimes filtered (USA wine never filtered), 35-50,000 b

2017 ()

(large barrel/casks, bottling March 2019) dark red; has a gently floral air above its lightly spiced, cooked plum fruit aroma, comes with a definite Grenache imprint. The palate bears enjoyable gras richness with a slight development of power towards the finish, which contrasts with the smooth tones of the attack. The flavour leans towards kirsch late on, after a plum fruit, spiced debut. The tannins insert grain on the close, so there’s work to do for fusion and more integration. 15.5°. 30,000 b. €26. From 2022. 2038-40 Oct 2018

2016 ()

healthy red robe; the bouquet breathes discreet intensity, oily garrigue airs, coffee, cooked damson plums. The palate is rich, gently rolling from the start, carries menthol, a basket of Provençal goodies, spicing. It goes gradually along, is very well orchestrated, bears lovely Grenache heart and texture, is plump and enjoyable, takes on firm, ripe tannins on the finish. “There is super acidity, the pH quite low, great balance, with power but also delicacy; the 30%-40% stems help to give menthol. It’s like 1990, very agreeable to drink now, with a lot of matter, not none of it aggressive. It’s one of the top four years of my career – 1978, 1990, 2010, 2016,” Thiérry Sabon. 16°. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 6% Mourv, 4% various. Bottled Dec 2018. 2052-55 Oct 2019

2015

(large barrel/cask) decent red robe. The nose gives a soft air of blackberry with a stewed aspect to it, a smoke and prune alliance also, and hints of dried herbs such as thyme. This runs with expressive, up-tempo raspberry fruit which refreshes the palate, and leaves room for a second glass. Its freshness is a success, bringing a vibrancy. There is a menthol-mocha finish. Interesting, genuine. 15°. 45,000 b. From mid-2018. 2036-38 Sept 2016

2014

(large barrel/vat/casks, bottling March 2016) quite a full red robe. The nose is stimulating thanks to garrigue herbs, rosemary and thyme, with a neat note of raspberry, cooked red fruits. This is stylish, and has some Châteauneuf glow from within. It offers a Burgundian expansion on the agenda as it ages. It is STGT wine, one that speaks of the garrigue, cooked plums, nice fat Grenache at its heart. The finish is lucid. This will indeed be a real gradual gainer over time. It is is beau, like the Châteauneufs of my youth, seductive wine. From 2018-19. 2028-30  Oct 2015

2013 ()

(large barrel/vat/casks) rather pale robe, limpid at the rim. Has a simple, jammy nose, even a touch sweaty. This is quite short and dry on the palate, carries robust, grainy tannins that are in the middle of the raising process. Retaste further down the line. 14.5°. 75% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv, 5%, 35,000 b. Harvested 27 September to 20 October. From 2016. 2024-25 JL Oct 2014

2012

(vat/barrel/casks, bottling March 2014) red with light purple traces; meat, lamb stock, fat Victoria plum fruit airs, a bonny little spice scenting – the bouquet is still low profile today, but has subtle possibilities, can give an orb of attractive plump fruit. There is an elegant sweep of red fruit along the palate, with sweet central thrust, quite high octane. It proceeds with assured flow, gives a tasty and full ride. This extols the typical Châteauneuf-du-Pape liquid, joli Grenache. Marks for finesse and potential charm to coem through over time; there is a smoky undertow of supple tannin that shapes well. From late 2015. 15°. 2026-28  Nov 2013

2011

(barrel) mild red robe. Treacle-honey first aromas with red liqueur fruit, strawberry behind. The palate has a modest debut; the red fruit is light, simple. This lacks horizon, is plain, tame wine. It needs more stuffing. There are light dust tannins. From late 2013. 15°. 2021-22  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(barrel) mild red robe. Red jelly, sunny air of sweet redcurrant and red cherry simplicity, a touch of flowers. The palate is similar, and is advancing already with a take-up of fine tannins as it goes. It ends with restraint. Not a big hitter, but it has some well-organized quality in its range. Pretty and authentic wine. If cheap, it is good value (tasted blind). Costs €18 at the domaine, fair. From 2013. 2031-33 Dec 2011

2009

(barrel) red with slight purple hints; licorice, baked stones aromas in with red cherry fruit airs that are lying low – the nose is a bit on the taut side. The palate develops its Grenache character as it goes, moving on to a fresh close, a good surround of juicy fruit and fine, menthol-related tannin. There is a wee bit of singe or burn on the aftertaste. It is a shade dry late on, note, and I wonder if that shows the effect of some of the remaining old large barrels. From mid-2012. 2028-30 Oct 2010

2008

(barrel) light red robe; Airy, breezy red fruits aroma with a gentle sweetness in behind – a pretty simple and straightforward, escapist bouquet. As expected from the nose, the palate offers light red fruit, has a trim of herbs, brioche baked bread, a sweet underlay. Not enough depth. This sample is all but ready now, so some blending nearer bottling had better be good. 2015-17 Dec 2009

2007 ()

(barrel) purple/mauve robe with dark red in it. Has a jaunty, upright red fruits aroma – raspberry liqueur in a low profile. The palate has a juiced, red fruits start, then it runs along steadily in a compact fashion. This will sing in three to four years' time – it is not a flashy do, more a steady one. Bonny and unpretentious. The length is quite good, and there is a gathering of late tannins and herbs in the flavour. From mid-2010. 2019-21 Nov 2008

2006

(assemblage example) raspberry hue; pretty, red fruits aroma with smoky outcrops and quite a thorough core: goes sideways and there is depth as well. Starts with a pointed cherry flavour, then slips along fairly smoothly after the attack. Has a little late reserve, tightening. Pretty good length. Upon review after two hours, there is a touch of burn through it, as if the wine has not coalesced. Comes in a quiet style, is not a showy wine. From mid-2009, since the tannins have some life in them. Only 60% destemmed this year. I would like to retaste post-bottling. 2019-21 Nov 2007

2005

well set red robe with dark, near black traces. The nose is quite closed – there is smoky, streamlined fruit here, it is going through a “dark” phase, with maybe a little black cherry and some violet in it. The palate has a dark start, with some bite and snap from its fresh year and its tannins. There are good live tannins – this is a wine with purpose. Air and some warmth softens it, but it still edges along with a spine of tannin, rather than strides out. Still upright – this needs time. Is more tightly bound than I remember previously – is this a later bottling? Has crackling late tannin. 15° on the label, note. From 2009-10. 2021-24 Jan 2008 Previously April 2007 ** red plum in the typical Grenache tone; warm, simmered red fruits with some mint extract/mentholet as well. Bristling red fruit on palate, a here and now wine. The tannins grow as it goes, and the finish needs to settle, is piercing, and not very clear. Jammy style on palate. Alcohol on the finish a danger for the future. 2013-16 April 2007, London. Disappointing vis-à-vis the last tasting, but doesn’t seem to be a top performer this year. Previously Nov 2006 Chât-du-Pape *** quite full red robe, with a matt tone. Robust style of bouquet – laden fruit, mint, background meat – varied. Brewed, black fruit gum flavour, the palate has an earthy aspect. Prune sweetness and scented tea go hand in hand. Could be crisper, is rounded on the finale, but not clear-cut. Solid citizen sort of wine, nicely fundamental. From 2008. 2019-21 Nov 2006

2004 ()

mild red colour; has a red fruit paste aroma, with some animal and flowers present. Is a mixed bag on the palate, is now a wine in transition. Starts more mineral and peppery than it ends, dips in mid-palate, then comes back with some richness, red fruit jam and spice. The tannins need 18 months, drink now from 2009 on. 2019-21 Oct 2007, London Previously Oct 2006 *** a plum, Grenache red robe; plum, prune floral aromas, are nicely done, carry easy appeal. Elegant style of wine – the fruit is clear and the wine carries some pepper, spice and herbs of the garrigue. A little end tar and kick. Approachable, bonny wine. 2016-19 Oct 2006 Previously ***(*) at CdPape, December 2005, due for bottling March 2006 (cask, the assembled wine) gamey, quite full bouquet, peppery, with assured, good, quiet potential. Likeable attack, nice and direct fruit. Herbal, garrigue and licorice finale, with a good tannic thread emerging later on. From 2009. 2023-25 Dec 2005

2003

evolving red colour with ruby present. Has a very caramel, toffee aroma – hangs around in that zone – with some red fruit, small red berries present. The palate has a rather nutted start, with some richness at half way – it continues OK. Today this is fairly monochrome, a wine of no great nuance. There is some hope through the air enriching it, wakening it, and more fruit appears on the nose as it breathes. A finely structured wine that softens as well with the air. Decant at this stage. This could tick along to 2015-17. June 2008, at Châteauneuf. Previously Oct 2007 ***(*) ruby evolution in the red robe; the bouquet reflects the hot year, led by ground coffee, a bit of raisin and smoke, cough syrup with its little sweetness: the underlay is violet and black jam. The palate runs more on mineral, robust, quite chunky lines – the fruit lies underneath toffee and caramel influences, with some animla present. The tannins are evident on the finish, with the richness and fruit sidelined by then. OK to drink now, with rich foods, and autumn or winter days. 2018-22 Oct 2007, London Previously Dec 2005 *** some game, red fruit, white pepper present on bouquet. Soft, simpatico palate, well woven, and contains good sinew. Not an overtly big wine - gentle, reserved, not expressive as yet. Esp 2008 on. 2022-25 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah/Mourvèdre CdPape December 2005 "The key was not to work with plots whose soils suffered from the drought; we obtained a freshness that I value" Thiérry Sabon

2002

ruby, matt colour, some red in the robe. Plum fruit, floral nose – it is charming and open, lasts quite well, has a meaty undertone. The palate has a  comfortable, open, aromatic start. It proceeds well, shows a touch of advance, cocoa. The finish is chewy, not very weighted. “We didn’t destem what crop we kept to vinify this year,” Thiérry Sabon. 2010-11 Dec 2006

2001 ()

red robe, some ruby; sweet, attractive run of red fruits on the nose, which is still at an early, measured stage; it is smoky behind the fruit which gives great delight at this first moment of advance. The palate`s Grenache reaches out well, coming with red fruit laced with a cultivated mushroom taste. Bonny tannins line the sides, possess good life, while a tarry energy comes through on the finish – the large barrel aspect there. Honest, STGT wine that is close to where it came from. The length is good. For a maturing Châteauneuf, this is also a w.o.w. wine. 14.5°. 2020-22 Nov 2008 Previously Dec 2006 **** some advance on the robe – this is a bottling from 2005, later. The nose is expressive, shows some sous bois, damp woods, red meat airs, along with stone fruits, wild strawberries, is well varied. This drinks well now, bears scent red fruits, a little pepper. It is fresh towards the finish, shows good clarity and length. Has likeable richness. The robe has turned, but the nose and above all the palate are still fresh. A wine with character. “The signature of 2001 is good balance with good freshness,” Thiérry Sabon. 2021-23  Dec 2006  Previously Oct 2005 ***(*) subdued robe, some ruby already at top. Brewed fruits, notably a prune aroma, underlying warmth, a wind vintage with tar, and tight, coffee elements. Palate shows a little hung meat flavour, very much the Grenache of grass roots character. Local feel, coming along well with time. STGT wine. Red fruits present, with a fleeting punch at the end. Power is latent. 2021-23 Copenhagen, October 2005

2000 ()

pretty red with hints of ruby – the robe is evolving, and not that intense. Has a red fruit, spiced jam aroma, which is typical of the Grenache. There is a layer of more evolved notes such as beef stock, sweet tea and caramel: the bouquet is varied, and shows well and interestingly. The palate comes with a soft presentation, its mild red fruit gaining some life from half way, after which it perks up and straightens, bringing some tannin and leather. This drinks well now, although it is at a crossroads between the fruit of youth and the more complex, diverse, bosky notes of its second stage. The length is sound. Maybe from spring 2009 for more tinkle of clarity. A finely weighted, gentle, aromatic wine. Tasted on a muggy day, lowish pressure with rain forecast in CdPape, 22°C. 2014-17 June 2008

1999

ruby-red colour; plum, floral aroma with a note of barbecue wood, prune and menthol – pretty good ensemble, plenty to appreciate nuance by nuance. The palate is quite rich, expressive, with a meaty angle. It is still round at the finish. It is clear-cut, an attribute that runs through it. Menthol comes along on the finish. It is persistent, and vigorous as it ends. Bonny wine that is based on its freshness. “It was austere, closed at first, then it went on to the aromas of an older wine very quickly,” Jean-Claude Sabon. The Syrah was destemmed this year. 2018-20  Dec 2006

1998

the red on the robe shows signs of lightening. Has a very circular, gourmand nose – red fruits that are elegant, pure and sweet, with a little peony flower as well. Lurking there is also a minor air of high tone or vegetal. There is immediate grip on the palate, which holds tight and clean red fruit; has live, measure tannins. Provides easy, clear drinking, without robust depth. A pretty, scented wine based around elegance, one that goes down well. I suppose I would like, say, 20% more richness. The length is good – indeed it is fresh as a daisy on the finale. 14°. 2018-20 Jan 2008, Copenhagen Previously April 1999 **** (barrel for the Saint Marc Fair in April 1999) solid bouquet, good depth, power, is warm but not demanding, it is a bit hidden now. Nicely rich palate, good length. I can feel the alcohol in it – 14.5°. At least a 20 year wine, though this is not the final wine. April 1999 35 hl/ha this year

1997 ()

three-quarter colour red; sappy, dark fruits aroma, cooked black and red fruits. The palate offers an interesting mix of flavours, is rounded but has reserves as well. Its fat is well supported, and it may deceive people with its latent fullness. Very delicious. 2012-14 April 1999 30 hl/ha this year

1996 ()

less depth of colour than the 1997; fruit skins, plum fruit sweetness on the nose – it is a touch light. The attack skips a beat, is becoming withdrawn. There are some dry tones on the finish. Its manner is upright, restrained. A wine that is stiff, and needs time to attract. 2009-12 . “We had some storms in July and August, some botrytis came along. Those who waited have done well, with the fine late season, and Mistral blowing for two weeks from the end of September to 10 October. We finished picking on 12 October,” Jean-Claude Sabon. April 1999

1995

quite dark robe, a little advance. Hints of stewed plum and spice, along with laurel and hung meat on the nose. The attack is peppery – it gets out and goes, is very much on a rounded trail, a full one, too. Plenty of length and warm tannins – this is silky, and its tannins are well entered. 2016-19 April 1999 Previously Oct 1996 *** (final assemblage, bottling May 1997) sound red colour; the nose is not yet pronounced, has some dark fruit which moves on to a softer plum fruit as it airs. The palate has a dark flavour, decent depth – it is a slow burn wine, with good, clean chewiness on the end. Quiet richness here. 14°. 2012-14. It will receive several bottlings – a question of not having the space to do it all at once. Oct 1996

1994 ()

beguiling, restrained nose at first - bears light spice, with plum fruit entwined with it, and is rounded in air. Has a herbal, composed start to the palate – this is a pretty wine of good integrity. The Grenache is on top, is a little roasted with maybe a bit more flesh to emerge. Is quietly chunky and square, from an upright vintage. There is relative finesse here, and the power to go with it. I find it still restrained. 2016-18 Oct 2003, Sussex Previously April 1999 ***(*) pretty red-ruby; the quite profound nose offers red fruits, a little secondary tone – it is a bouquet where quite a firm note develops across it. The palate is also compact; its tannins are withdrawn, but there is middle palate matter. It is solid, square even, but the matter is quite good. Good, firm length. From 2001 or so. 2012-15 April 1999

1993 ()

bottled April 1996, with raising ranging from 18 months to three or four years in large barrel, several bottlings. Medium red robe. The nose is in the waiting room – shows some stewed fruits, but has a good underlay, a sound and firm base. The palate has medium-plus weight, good mid-palate depth and a nice stretch of tannins – these tannins are upright, noticeable, work quite well, while there is some matter on the finish. It persists pretty well overall. There is a pocket of sweetness on the palate, which is not dry-toned. 2012-15 Oct 1996

1992

red robe is a bit light, shows some advance. The nose is moving towards game, animal airs, truffle – earthy rather than fruit-filled. The palate offers nicely expressed red fruits that follow through quite well. A wine that works on its roundness rather than its depth. The length is decent. Not a long liver, either. “Good restaurant wine,” Jean-Claude Sabon. Best until 2002, can live until 2008 or so. Oct 1996

1991

rather pretty, brilliant robe, plum with very little ruby, legs. The nose shows quiet red fruit aromas with mineral notes and some game entering the equation, also black olives. The palate is small scale, lacks a true centre, is fair. The length is decent, but it runs out of road at the end, where there are dry notes. Limited wine this year. To 2001. Oct 1996

1987 ()

the robe is a mix of pale red and ruby. Some cedar and cigar are the first aroma impressions, plus an underlying touch of blackberry or fig jam. The fruit turns more securely black fruits with air, presented in a sappy, plush way, with floral lacing. On the palate, it shows as a dry-toned wine, with cooked plum, quince and some spice. Tight at first, it then softens with air, and is a good wine that moves through different phases as it breathes. Tastes rather like a fattish Nebbiolo, via its 1987 vintage acidity and its location. As the southern power comes through, it stamps its impression on the palate and enrichens it. Is a heavy-textured wine, and is at a good stage now in its noble maturity. 2009-12 Feb 2003

1985 ()

lovely, soaked, mature fruits nose, with a truffle, damp woods second half. Very Grenache flavour - coffee and a mineral tendency, a wine for game dishes. Cough syrup effect in taste, is silky, but the flavours are on the advance - gets more fungal and ends tightly. "The palate is more evolved than usual on this bottle" Thiérry Sabon, CdPape, December 2005

1980 ()

serene ruby robe, a jolie do it is. The bouquet is in full evolution, just a bit detached: there are airs of roasted coffee beans, a hint of spirit, deep Christmas brandy cake. It evokes the south well. The palate gives a texture of pleasure, a smooth, refined display, the flavour on plum with a note of flowers, rose petal late on. The finish is en rondeur. This is absolutely stable, from a trick year, a success thus. It’s a perfumed wine with the coolness of the year and a fine acidity showing through, almost crystalline. The aftertaste sees a build in gras, if you please! Intricate and absorbing wine. 2024-25 Oct 2016 Previously Aug 2013 *** fine, mature red, pale rim to the robe. The nose mixes an aroma of red jam with an earthy, fungal note, good old farmyard. The palate debut is marked by spice; this is thinning wine with its acidity a little brittle; it ends with an attractive little spot of raspberry, red berry fruit, a little nugget of old Grenache. There are both floral and cedar influences. Tame, mild, mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is tiring but isn’t a goner, so a modest vintage – 1980 – shows both good winemaking and noble terroir. 14°. 2017-18 Aug 2013, East Sussex Previously April 1999 ****(*) pretty ruby, good red at its middle still; has a lovely old Châteauneuf nose – a bit of tea, mineral, jam warmth and sous-bois or damp woods all side by side. The palate is very soft – there is a lovely curl of a smile, a feathery touch and nice warm length. Very drinkable, a true southern wine. To 2005 or a bit further, I'd say. April 1999

1978 ()

lovely pure ruby colour, some soft red at its core. Has a warm, rather toasted bouquet – cedar, soft aromas of ripeness, gentle warmth, prune, cooked plums. The palate issues southern oiliness, is initially on the drier level of matters – woods, taut spices, sandalwood. This is robust, has inner fuel, and is potent towards the finish. Within there is a most pleasing, very tender softness. This will continue in good shape for a good amount of years to come, is really genuine, of its place. 2021-24 I took this bottle to Norway and drank it with my friend the importer Christopher Moestue at Restaurant Aqua, Oslo 27 April 2000

1966

the top robe is tiled, but the robe is still thick. The nose is also still well weighted, gives ginger, spice, orange marmalade, cocoa airs, and hands out lots of changes every minute. The fig flavour on the palate reminds me of Barolo, and there is sweet richness, sweet spicing. The finish embraces pot pourri dried, scented flowers and coffee. Both freshness and relative delicacy feature on the close. This is still stable, and has aged extremely well. 2022-24  Oct 2015