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The Wines

from La Crau, 60% 1905 Grenache (La Crau, E, sandy, so fine tannins, planted by great grandfather Edmond, a tailor at Châteauneuf-du-Pape), 20% Syrah (1970s, La Crau (E) & Bois de la Vieille (S-W), 10% Cinsault (1984s, La Crau, E), 10% Vaccarèse (1940s, St Jean, S-E), destemmed, vat-emptying, part refilling, cap punching on Syrah, 35-38 day vinification, aged 60% concrete vat (Grenache), 40% new-1 year 228-litre oak casks (Syrah), used 228-litre oak casks (Cinsault/Vaccarèse) 12-15 months, unfined, unfiltered, first year 2003, 6,000 b

2017

dark red; the nose has silken depth, mulberry-blackberry in good harmony. It sequels well into the palate, which is suave and rolling. This is a most savoury affair, with a little pinpoint of detail on the close, droplets of fruit there. It’s well together, shows good restraint. There is a bit of late glow from within. Bottled two weeks ago. 16°. “It’s a wine of matter, gourmandise, can be drunk on its own,” Vincent Maurel. From 2022. 2046-48 May 2019

2016

full red robe. The nose carries a graceful density, cherry fruit, raspberry, a well tuned ripeness, has a sweet coil of appeal, comes with spice touches, cooked plum fruit. The palate is bountiful, is well toned and well textured, bears real Châteauneuf-du-Pape de la terre, grounded fullness, and length. Plum fruit with spicing is central, with some powder tannin clench towards the finish. There is good intensity of fruit late on. It’s making its way slowly, gives lots of savoury appeal. “It’s very difficult to go beyond this,” Vincent Maurel. 16°. From 2022-23. 2054-57 May 2019

2015

(vat/casks) full, bright robe. The bouquet has savoury qualities, is expressive, based on mixed herbs including rosemary, and neat raspberry-mulberry fruit. It’s well rounded. The palate gives a liberal run of black berry fruits, hands out an inkling of a stylish wine in the making. The finish is assertive and grainy, with a marked gummy element of power as well. It has good heart, and will develop well, the length assured. 15.5°. Leave until 2020. 2037-39 Sept 2016

2014 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2012 ()

(vat, casks) good dark red; reduction shows on the nose which has a broad, even fat aroma, supple black fruit at its heart. It will become expressive and generous in a large glass around 2018-19. The palate offers a tasty broad berry fruit with a sweet piquancy and appealing garrigue herbs inlay. It ends on fine liqueur fruiting, well. Harmony to come here. Has a loganberry, bonny fruit quality that lasts. Genuine. From 2016. 2035-37  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(vat, casks) dark red. Smoky, oak, rather gamey air – a brooding nose that shows mulled blackcurrant and extends on a wave of licorice. The palate is blackcurrant-flavoured, with matter that is supple. Pretty juicy tannins squeeze into its late stages, are chocolate styled, have a black raisin note. It is still on the cellar over the vineyard. The fruit is not fully on the go, and suggests more display in two years or a little more. It is a sweet wine with an oaked, charry finale, the oak not excessive. From 2015. 16°. 2029-31  Dec 2012

2010

(vat, casks, bottling June 2012) sombre, rather dark robe. Plum-prune first air – the bouquet has an oily nature from fruits being mulled over time, liqueur is showing. There are also pine and bosky influences. The palate has a grounded, Grenache-led plum fatness, a concentrated ball of flavour, while the tannins bring a menthol, maybe pine angle. It ends fully, comprehensively, with coated black fruits. The tannins are strong but shapely. Weighty wine, with a lot on offer, but it does move along, albeit steadily rather than being fluid. From 2016. 2034-37 Dec 2011

2009 ()

dark-tinted red; high notes on the nose, slight meatiness, with reduction present, a bit torrid. Robust, forceful palate with prominent acidity: not yet settled. Has a wiry infill, not in the gourmand vein. Oak on the finish apparent. 14.5°. From 2014. Certainly needs time if it is to improve, and may be under the shadow of its bottling. 2031-33 Sept 2011 Previously March 2011 **** (for bottling 2 May, 2011, 57 days' time) dark robe; inky, deep nose, resembles melted black chocolate. The palate is full, with fruit bomb aspects – has a weighty, soaked late stage. The flavour resembles black fruit pastilles with some scent, a floral angle. The product of letting grapes get extremely ripe. It breathes some power. From 2014+. Not everyone`s cup of tea stylistically. 2028-30 March 2011

2008

(casks) quite full robe; smoky, three-quarter depth nose – it is careful for now, shows black fruit, roast pork, ground coffee. A little gras richness greets the drinker – it is running within limits, not excessive, is soft. Low-key oaking on the finish, and slightly green tannins on the finish. A gradual improver here – drink from 2012. 2024-26 Nov 2009

2007 ()

mottled, dark matt robe. Coffee, brewed aroma that reaches across the glass, is not nuanced, rumbles along in a belt and braces way. This is a firm wine, something of the groundhog about it, and I notice a bit of Brett as well in the later stages. It rumbles along, is not precise at this juncture. Rather rustic, needs decanting, and probably another 2 years in bottle. Does not tally with pre-bottle. From late 2011. 2024-26 Nov 2009 Previously March 2009 ***** (pre-bottle) purple, dark red. Has a mild, oily bouquet – this has a sympa, good grip. There are herbal, briar notes, it is wide and there is variety to come. The palate holds sparky black fruit, has pretty acidity, and delivers a leather/licorice impact late on. The fruit grain is live and good, also the persistence that runs into satisfying late chewiness. A stylish wine with pretty fruit. “This is one of our best years, better than 2005, with more matter around it, rather like 1990. 2005 was more massive,” Vincent Maurel. 2029-31 March 2009

2006 No Rating

(vat/cask) both samples tried blind in Châteauneuf, but not at the domaine, were oxidative and lacked lift: the first was better – mulled, blackberry, cassis fruits that are ripe and have a meaty side to them – the air is sweet and a touch stewed. The palate fruit is ripe, not fresh and lacks a little shade or nuance. Lacks clarity and grain. This is a droopy wine in this state. Needs to be re-tasted when in bottle. Jan 2008

2005

(pre-bottle blend) tender bouquet with some soaked, macerated fruit sensation – black fruits with earthiness. Sweet appeal on the attack, this is smooth, has an elegant texture and flows well. The flavour is well woven in – black fruits, olives. Harmonious wine, gracious and bonny. A notch of end oak. Expressive esp around 2009. 2027-29 “I think our déléstages – when we part empty and refill the vats or rack and return – helps it to gain a smooth texture,” V.Maurel Nov 2006

2004 ()

full plum robe, some brightness. Chocolate, spice, black raisin waves come across the nose, with cedar, coffee beans airs. The palate starts on spiced prune, has a steely intensity, which is notable after the mid-point. It gives moments of richness, is “dark n’charry”, its oak raising still showing, and therefore overdone in the first place. 14.5°. 2025-27 Oct 2013 Previously Nov 2006 **** full, almost inky nature to the bouquet – stone fruits with chocolate borders. Black fruits, olives, herbal flavour with a run of licorice and a little late minerality. Finishes nice and clean-cut. Finding its way now. From 2009. 2022-25 Nov 2006

2003

meaty, nicely robust nose with a raspberry topping – this is at a very beau moment. The palate is also showing well – it is nicely, openly rich, has a good black berry flavour with a feel that is rich, not overdone. Tannins are still vigorous. “It has come back well since this summer – it is more integrated and more rounded,” Pascal Maurel. From 2008 for softer tannins. 2024-27  Nov 2006