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The Wines

from La Crau, 60% 1905 Grenache on the red clay part of it, 40% Mourvèdre (1984), destemmed, vat-emptying, part refilling, cap punching on Syrah, 35-38 day vinification, aged 60% vat (Grenache), 40% 1-3 year 228-litre oak casks (Mourvèdre) 12-15 months, unfined, unfiltered, first year 2003, “it demands patience – 6 to 8 years”, 6,000 b

2017 ()

live, quite full red colour; the nose bears the vintage sweetness, is very much on a liqueur fruit path, has a billow of aroma waiting to get out. The palate has a coated texture, is musky wine, on a large scale, though not heated. The second half holds firm Mourvèdre-derived features which guide it. There are soaked moments here, the strength of warm lands, accentuated muscle. It’s sipping rather than free drinking wine. It needs time, so wait until 2024, and it can rise in rating perhaps to work through the butty, assertive tannins at the end. Bottled only two weeks ago. 16°. 2046-48 May 2019


full red; there is slight reduction-animal influence on the nose, damson plums with an intense linger, marked garrigue-herbs’ notes. This is spinal, with eau de vie hums through it, the power not yet into its main frame. It’s manly, thorough wine with feet firmly planted, has an exuberance in its delivery, with good reach and touches of freshness on the close. It’s interesting, that aided by the Mourvèdre. There is a lot here, without excess. The length is smooth, very definite. Decant it. 16°. From 2023. 2052-54 May 2019


(vat/casks) shiny dark red robe. The nose is brewed, has a thick aroma led by an oxtail-like darkness, with some dense prune fruit beyond. The palate is more free than the nose, is lined with savoury black-fruited content, then some keen, butty tannins and their note of tar. It’s a solid, grounded Châteauneuf, with its darkness indicating game dishes, for example. It finishes in a compact, tight-knit way, the length solid. From mid-2019, and wait for it to only gradually open. Decanting a good move. 15.5°. 2032-35 Sept 2016 

2014 No Rating


2012 ()

(vat, casks) sober dark red; bacon, roast meat first air, soaked plums, some earthiness, dark soil. The bouquet is stiff, rather chunky. The palate gives direct Grenache plum fruit with spice but a raw tannic angle, so it is dry as it ends, which is a concern. There is a line of subdued black fruit and content through it. Plenty of unfinished business here – its raising has been pushy so far and it needs to absorb that – that is a question to answer. It won’t shine a light of pleasure in the near future. From 2018. 2031-33 Nov 2013


(vat, casks) fairly dark red. Oily, prune, violet aromas come with a light touch air of tea, and oaking. The palate has a ripe, mature fruit taste: it is raspberry fruit soaked, with a supple mid-depth tannin on the finish. A round Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with some darkness in its fruit, a gain of tar at the end, and smoke from its oak. The oak gets in the way – it is suddenly out on its own at the end. It would be better with less oak. 16°. From spring 2015, say. 2029-31  Dec 2012


(vat, casks, bottling June 2012) dark, rather matt hue to the robe. The nose is plump – shows mulled plum fruit, a fat Grenache layering of aroma, some airs of sweet tea with that. Has an oaked, coated palate – it does not offer precise definition, and is more a pot of stone fruits with oak and charcoal through them. It sets out to be weighty, sustained, imposing. Its matter is nearly heavy. I find it close to being “too much”. There are bracing tannins on the second stage of the palate. It is in the vogue of hefty Châteauneuf rather than fine touch Châteauneuf, and is probably close to 16°. Ends on charcoal. From 2016-17. 2036-38 Dec 2011

2009 ()

(for bottling 2 May, 2011, 57 days` time) full robe. Mint tints – cassis and cassis leaf in the nose that is broad and stable. The palate shows this to be a pastille sucrosity wine, one with a smooth texture, roundness. It proceeds like the Duchess – in stately fashion. The length is good, the aftertaste is duly coated. From 2014, but best period will be around 2018 onwards when more variety will have started to show. 2030-32 March 2011


(casks) full robe; soaked fruits of blackberry and plum, smoky blackcurrant jam fill the nose. The palate is infused with oak and charcoal; there is some juice in its black fruit, its depth is reasonable, not great, but it gains towards the finish, also taking on a mingle of oak and tannin. Leave until mid-2012. 2024-27 Nov 2009


quite dark robe. Blackberry, seasoned fruit aroma – a wine entering its shell, also a bit yeasty now. But it creeps along slowly, the blackberry fruit in it secure. Prune, black fruit palate – the fruit is firm, and not showing cut today. OK length – this needs to be left until mid-2011. The style is mature rather than crisp. 2026-29 Nov 2009 Previously March 2009 ****(*) (pre-bottle) full, dark robe; the aroma is enclosed, tight and waiting for something to evolve. The palate has a tight, licorice flavour with a decisive thrust of blackberry fruits, then a smoky, nice tar ending. The Mourvèdre brings more muscle and more direction than is found on La Combe. A reserved wine, with clear, streamlined fruit and good length. I prefer the more typical La Combe stylistically. From 2011-12. 2026-28 March 2009


(vat/cask) matt style, dark red robe; the nose is a wee bit limited – it is oily, rather potent, the red fruit angles across, and lacks freshness. There is a sweet, ripe tone to the fruit – it is wide and savoury, the fruit mulled in style, and oak surfaces late on. Not together now. The aftertaste is dry and oaked – this is uneven, and the fruit lacks freshness. Try after bottling. From 2010. 2025-27 Jan 2008

2005 ()

(pre-bottle blend) quite full robe; broad and deep potential on the bouquet with black fruit present – even if it’s reticent today. Supple, savoury texture – a generous and quite funky wine in the making. Well-packed – there is a mix of smoky black fruit and oak towards the finish. Chocolate aftertaste. Esp 2010 on. 2029-32 “I find it full of flesh and elegant as well,” V.Maurel Nov 2006


bright, dark and healthy robe. There is a fragrant, rose petal top air, a stewed prune aroma below, mocha also: it is a nicely deep bouquet. The palate picks up faithfully from the nose – there scented, floral notes in a smoothly textured, blackberry jam setting. This has enjoyable freshness and delineation of its fruit and tannins. There is still some toffee-oak on the end. 14.5°. 2023-25  Oct 2013 Previously Nov 2006 **** upright, but full shape to bouquet, some potency and oaking here. Berry fruit kick-off to palate, with from half way a marked dark fruit-tar-licorice-prune punch of flavour. Chewy, vigorous aftertaste. Esp 2010 on. 2024-27 Nov 2006 Previously Oct 2006, London **** darkish plum colour; mint-herbal mix on bouquet with a solid core – plenty here. Oily, arresting southern flavour, has a kick in it but is well modelled. Tar-coffee finale. Has character – there is a good mix of punch and silk in its texture. 2024-26 Nov 2006

2003 ()

quite a full red; mineral, leather areas in the bouquet with rose-hip and a toasted aspect, sun roasted. The palate is intense, tight, not showing a lot. The tannins and its oaking require leaving for three years; for now they dry it.  The chocolate flavour in mid-palate represents cellar and extreme vintage together. As a punchy wine, its future turns on how the tannins will develop and integrate. The aftertaste summons herbs from the garrigue. Certainly has local aspects nudging into the Big Vintage play. From 2010. 2029-31  Nov 2006