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The Wines

65-70% Grenache, 10-15% Syrah, 10-15% Mourvèdre, 5-6% various notably Counoise, Cinsault, (1910-1960s), 85-100% whole bunch fermentation 20 days, Syrah & Grenache together, then Grenache on its own, then Grenache & Mourvèdre, part vat emptying/refilling at 1040 specific gravity, a few pumping overs, aged used 30-50 hl barrel 18-22 months, unfined, unfiltered, organic wine, 28-45,000 b

2017

(large barrel, bottling Sept 2019) dark red robe. Has a brewed up nose, with a beefy depth, breadth. The fruit is ripe, prolonged. The palate is full, almost charged, with robust content that is wide and sustained. This comes straight from the hot plains of the south. The finish involves herbs, mint, cordite tang. Big, long wine here. Decant it, allow time: from mid-2021. 14°. 30,000 b. 2041-43 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(barrel, bottling Oct 2018) deep red robe. The bouquet assembles cherry fruit with a sleek richness around it. It sits in the glass, doesn’t come forward. This is southern wine, with compact content and slightly dry juice emerging after half way. It ends on some thick tannins, the aftertaste gummy, on a cooked plum flavour, a note of dryness. Suited to stews, country dishes. 15°. 40,000 b. €20. From 2021. 2032-35 Oct 2017

2015

(barrel) sound red robe. Mulled plums, red stone fruits, lead the nose; there is a perfumato, sultry nature to it, some mint, a touch of animal. The palate is based on plump Grenache fruit, with obvious spicing. The finish is a little dry, still raw. The mid-palate holds a plump content, so wait until spring 2019 for more fusion. It’s a trifle downbeat for now. 2029-30 Sept 2016

2014

(barrel, bottling Sept 2016) quite a full red, jolie robe. Has a softly but well fruited nose, with a mulberry fruit depth, a firm push as it starts. The palate is a trifle on a heady styling, notes of kirsch in its make-up. It centres on plum fruit with a brisk line of engrained tannin, the finish solid. It needs time to be coaxed out and to soften. 13.8°. 70% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv, 10% various. 28,000 b. €19. From 2018. 2027-29 GB £180 12/b in bond or £20.46 Justerini & Brooks www.justerinis.com Oct 2015

2012

(barrel, bottling Sept 2014) healthy, full red; has a true, varied nose, mixes flowers such as peony and cherry fruit, plenty of thyme herbs. The palate has an authentic heart of red berry fruit, a handsome nature, grips well near the end, shows good, firm intent there. A classic, traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a wee vegetal note as it signs off – that is from its whole bunch fermentation. Has very good STGT potential, a smoky, lip-smack exit. It persists with likeable, fresh charge. From 2017. “The balance is good; we actually destemmed 15% of the crop this year,” Jean-Paul Versino. 36,000 b, low crop, this year. 2028-30  Nov 2013

2011

(barrel) plum red; grilled, coated aroma with vegetal traces apparent which are putting-off. Also coca and pepper. The ripeness and integrity of the fruit are not assured here – the wine edges along, has some fluid spots along the palate. But its structure and balance are questionable. It also ends suddenly. Raw goods. From 2015? Better to try after bottling, could be better. 14°. 2023-24  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(barrel) shiny, quite full red. Very much still on its raising on the nose – lees and raisin in the air, with raspberry and a depth such as meat stock that feature in the second rank. There is a clear-cut tone to the fruit. The palate starts on spice, with red berries and vanilla pod. For now the lees distract from its tasting. It ends on consistent matter, a notable pepper presence as it finishes. It reflects the vintage correctly – is breezy, peppery wine. From late 2013 – a slow developer here. €19 at the cellars. 2027-29 Dec 2011

2009 ()

(barrel) red plum colour; grilled first air, a big front-up with an inlay of currently obscure raspberry fruit. The nose is powerful, and hums away on that power. The Grenache leads the palate, has thyme and herbs attached, offers strong, virile bounty, and this power moves into the clear as it develops – perhaps too strong for some drinkers. Is like an arid zone wine, a bit Spartan, the fruit lightening as it ends. Has a herbal aftertaste. Patience needed. From 2014. 2022-24 Oct 2010

2008 ()

fair red robe; this has a really broad, open and attractive nose, gives bundles of expressive Grenache, plum fruit, with licorice, exceptional pepper, some smoke and appealing herbs and garrigue notes. The palate fruit is smoky, shows pepper, tobacco, ash touches, the finale fresh. A Good Operator. It ends on capsicum, green pepper. Marks for open, drinkable virtues. “It was always very aromatic. I am sure it will keep well – it has acidity and content,” Jean-Paul Versino. Total w.o.w. wine for the restaurant trade. 14°. 2021-22 Dec 2011 Previously Dec 2009 **(*) (barrel) three-quarter depth red. Blackberry, seasoned aroma, has a bit of the garrigue in it, baked stones, a murmur of heat – it is more weighty than most 2008s. The palate blackberry fruits are lightly grilled, show their elevage or raising for now. Has an assertive style, but there is poise in the fruit. It ends on pepper and spice, weight as well. Agreeable around 2012 through to 2015 notably. 2018-19 Dec 2009

2007 ()

rather thorough plum robe – there is density in it. The bouquet has a gleam in it, a suffused power and depth – it has barely shifted so far, has a solid meatiness, shows pepper also. The palate is aromatic, its top note one of pepper and flint, with spices, plum fruits, incipient power. A really Big Operator, one that will evolve very slowly; close-knit tannins are right inside it, lie buried deep within. The length is secure. It doesn’t work on charm: it is sturdy and compact. Decant this, and w ait until 2017. 14°. 2036-39  Dec 2011  Previously Nov 2008 *** (barrel) full red robe; nutty, black fruits aroma with a smoky tang about it, also sizzled bacon – it is full and steady. Ripe Grenache fruit leads the palate – it comes with a mobile nature, moves along, reaches out. It is entwined with a thread of tannin, and ends on a violet, herbal, licorice theme, and persist well. Bonny drinking to come, notably around 2012-15, and this is faithful to its place, too – not always a feature of 2007. STGT leaning. 2019-20 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 2 vats tasted 1st is 80% G, 10% S, 10% M, made in a new modern way by J-P for 50 hl of the 450 hl, “I have clients who ask for a more modern style of wine”, destemmed, 3 cap punchings, 28 day fermentation, more extraction, from Cabrières, last crop picked: dark, purple, violet robe, more in it than the Trad vinification. Crunchy, grilled aromas; plenty of crisp appeal on palate, is full and imposing, above all with its attack running the show, *** wine. The Trad, 65 G, 15 S, 15 M, 5 Cinsault etc: reserved, “inky” nose with understated red fruits. Good, clear grain in the palate, holds tender red fruits with good acidity and a nice, lithe feel, ends with a small spot of richness, a low-key oiliness, ***(*) wine. The Modern wine depends on its first wave, its attack to do the job. Peppery, prune, black fruits prevail on the Modern, which will receive a little oak in 2007. The Trad expresses the Grenache more than the Modern, even though it is only 65% against 80%. They are both 15°, with by analysis a little more tannin in the Modern wine. They are from 2 different planets. Nov 2007

2006

(3 of the 5 large barrels, the assemblage) bright, pretty purple-tinted robe; also has a very bright nose, with smoky, clean red fruits and interesting depth, very clean altogether. There is a good, typical aroma in the making. Berry fruit with an easy movement starts the palate; it runs along securely and tidily until a late outcrop of biscuity tannins. Is a little restricted in width, is not a big hitter but beau, a wine of some charm, a good drinking do. “There is balance, it is not the most dense or powerful year but is very good,” J-P Versino. Esp 2009 on. 2021-23 Nov 2007

2005 ()

dark raspberry colour with some purple present. Peppery first impression on the nose, red stone fruits, baked plum and pepper-tannic traces. Tightly bound palate, which is also quite peppery but the inside is rich. Still very much in the character of the vintage – smoulders away. No doubt the whole bunches played a role in defining its shape this year, especially its outer coating, which is more evident than its inner coating. Very live, peppery end, laced with some bright red fruits A classic keeping wine. From 2010. Bottled July 2007. 2025-27 “It is like 1998 for similar density,” J-P Versino. Nov 2007 Previously Nov 2006, London **** bright, full robe; nose is full and broad, with a well-set elegance, there is a clear fruit here. Easy harmony on the palate, the texture is soft, the tannins ripe, the length good. Persists well. A good combo of elements produce an appealing symphony. A Pleasure Wine of wide appeal. 14.3° Esp 2010 on. 2022-24 Nov 2006, London Previously June 2006 ***(*) (barrel) bright, good dark red colour; harmonious bouquet – pretty, flowing ripe plum jam fruit, very primary just now, but well skewed towards elegance. Facile, rounded, already open palate with tannin behind that is a little pebbly. Approachable jam flavour with some cut – nice and seductive. Ways to go before it gains variety, so wait till 2009/10 or savour the classy fruit now. I like the good Grenache character on the attack, then comes good support from the Mourvèdre and the Syrah – all three link well this year, a good sign for quality and longevity. 2023-26

2004 ()

sound red, with a matt tone entering its red plum colour. Pretty and elegant nose that shows a little raisin and wild red berry fruits, a touch of gibier or game. The palate incorporates red fruits that are live and have a peppery backdrop. Has a clear finish with a little late dart of licorice and black coffee, suggesting Mourvèdre. Lots of pure fruit, bonny clarity late on. 2019-21 “Has the best acidity of the last 7-8 years, and is a little Burgundian this year” J-P Versino. 65% Gren this year, down from 80% in 2003. 14°. Nov/Dec 2007, tasted twice. Previously October 2006 *(*) raspberry, clear-cut fruit aroma with coffee-tar surrounds and some mentholé (menthol-mint). Nicely presented flavour, soft and approachable. Tame for a Châteauneuf, though. The fruit is scented plum, length is OK. Shows its hand already. 2013-14 October 2006 Previously June 2006 ** (vat) mild red robe; red jam aroma, refined, comes with herbal tones and has some scope. Jam taste, has a gummy flavour and is quite wide but restrained. Not out and about yet. The finish shows some life, with pepper present. Relatively a delicate wine, although 14.2°. “The cool July and August with the end August rain and fine September meant the wines had more acidity and less tannin than normal,” J-P Versino.

2003 ()

plum red with a little advance already; well scented, open nose with roasted airs, raisin and prune, mature fruiting. There is a pebbly sense as well like the aroma of a hot day in the galet stones. The palate presents baked fruit – this is a wine with bite, one that snaps on to the palate, holds dark fruits, has a scented tea aftertaste. Risk of dryness on the palate, but it reflects the vintage, indeed is an authentic, STGT wine, one that is understated more than overdone. Especially 2008 onwards. “Talking about the tannins this year, in 1994, for example, we had hard tannins, but that has integrated well, and I think this will integrate as well,” Jean-Paul Versino. 80% Grenache this year. Bottled Sept 2006. 2018-20  June 2006

2001 ()

(large barrel) the nose is expressive, attractive, open – mixes red fruits and flowers such as rose. The palate offers nice clear-cut fruit, has a bonny richness, ends compactly. Its tannins are malleable, agreeable. Made without effort, is a natural wine. Esp from 2006-07. 2016-18  Feb 2003

2000

mid-red. Discreetly stewed, red fruits jam aroma with a touch of spice. The palate is sympa, rounded, offers black fruits with a sheen or polish to them. Tannins grow on the finish, are accomplished. This has sun in its veins, is correct and clean. Could have a little more depth. From 2005. 2015-17  Feb 2003

1998 ()

(magnum) the robe is still a full red. This is a great survivor of the often overdone 1998 vintage – it is young, still deep, nuanced, has mysterious pockets. There is a hum of brewed berry fruit on the nose, a touch of flint and mineral, an inner floral strength. The palate also has the finesse and cut, clarity of proper, traditional Châteauneuf. The length is strong. Jaunty, muscled, true, it is very interesting, and excellent with venison casserole. Has beautiful mixed impulses. 13.5°. 2027-28  on this showing  Nov 2013  Previously a Dec 2007 magnum - vastly corked. Previously Feb 2007 *** (magnum) pale red/ruby colour; bouquet shows chocolate, prune, damson – is elegant, with a mineral top and is still youthful. The palate comes out bouncing, with nerve and a young, spritely, quite punchy nature. Has advanced to the start of a second phase, as this vintage often shows, and will be softer and more singing by 2009 – a bottle size wine might be more on the move than this magnum. Shows true character and typicité. Towards the finish, a chocolate-raisin flavour emerges. The Tradition here is never a real big hitter, but extols a measured and ripe, mature Grenache appeal. 13.5° 2019-21 Feb 2007 Previously Feb 2000 *** quite dark; upright, dark-fruited nose, is tight, reflects non-Grenache varieties, has a little dry air to it, a woody notion. Has a dark, tight flavour, is a bit austere. Its prune, black fruits and tannins combine firmly, and it needs patience. Is genuinely made, has decent structure. Length is decent. From 2004-06. 2019-21 Feb 2000

1995 ()

very dark, purple robe. Has the air of dark berry fruit jam, fair depth, a bosky touch – is a shade plain. The attack is fleshy, pretty full, shows a lot of licorice towards the end. This is well sustained along the palate, very much delivers black fruits, a vintage intensity. The tannins close on a dry note for now, another vintage signal. From 2000-01. 2011-14 Oct 1996

1994

magnum: dark red, matt tone, a touch of ruby – the robe shows some advance. The nose is burnt, spiced, on the dry aromas, pine, wax; there’s a small hint of black fruit jam. It softens markedly after half an hour, and decanting. This is real southern wine, holds a lot of almost fiery, funky, spiced flavour with a tarry edge on the aftertaste. It comes with a three-quarter depth, shows fair ripeness, nut not overt flesh, which is in keeping with the vintage. There are some hidden corners. Good to drink in autumn with game, stews. It develops an oily feel towards the finish, comes with genuine, local feel, shows well now. Air tightens it up again after two hours; it carries definite interest. 2013-16 Dec 2000, East Sussex Previously Oct 1996 ***(*) quite a dark cherry colour; the nose is full of cooked black fruits, with pepper present, is firm and broad. The palate gives dark, cooked jam fruits, with very noticeable tannins on the second half onwards. There is enough body to handle them, although for now the finish is quite hot, rasps. In need of patience to sort out its second half and its obvious tannins. 13.5°. 2012-16 Oct 1996

1991

ruby robe; scented tea, prune aroma with a touch of mineral. This above all is a most attractive wine – round, soft, has a gracious softness with an appealing, lovely silky texture. It is still right in the game. The length is good, shows a bit of pepper and menthol. Has the genuine variety of mature Châteauneuf. “The harvest got off to a good start with good quality Syrah; the second picking of the Grenache was only so-so, the third and last gave us good Grenache and Mourvèdre. As a result, we only bottled half the usual, and the blend changed to 50% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre and 25% Syrah. It isn’t changing much – it was like this three years ago. Its summit was probably around 2001—2 for me. You can drink this veal, young lamb, chicken or soft game such as pheasant,” Jean-Paul Versino. 2013-15  June 2006