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The Wines

65% Grenache (oldest 1910-12), 22-25% Mourvèdre (1960s), 5-6% Syrah, 5% various, (1920s vines) from Les Blaquières (E, 40%), La Nerthe (S-E, 30%), Pied de Baud (N-W, 30%), soils are 80% galet stones, 20% sand/compacted sand, whole bunch concrete vat fermentation, Syrah & Grenache together, then Grenache on its own, then Grenache & Mourvèdre, part vat emptying/refilling at 1040 specific gravity, a few pumping overs, aged 2-6 year 228-litre oak casks 18 months, unfined, unfiltered, first wine 1995, organic wine, 2,400-6,000 b

2017 ()

(casks, bottling Sept 2019) pretty full, dark red robe. The nose is stewed, not yet into the clear, has a sweet Grenache, strawberry succulence, some darkness. The palate runs on open red berry fruit, with a pick-up of chewy tannin as it finishes, something of a surprise there, a demanding moment. This is grounded from the dry vintage, and the style of fruit is that secured from small grapes, thick skins, and not a lot of juice in them. 14.5°. 2,400 b. €39. From 2022. 2039-41 Oct 2018

2016

(casks, bottling Oct 2018) pretty full red robe. The bouquet gives a raspberry fruit intensity, a sweet top note, cooked plums, black olive paste and rosemary also. The palate connects closely to the nose, runs with Grenache-led gras and content until the mid-point, when a firmer note from the Mourvèdre enters, with chalky aspects. The finale is spiced, in the Mourvèdre vein, and the aftertaste compact, sealed, a touch dry. This will be interesting, and has handled the vintage conditions well, aided by the age and the root depth of the vines. 15.2°. 5,000 b. €36. From 2021. 2040-43 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(casks) dark red robe. The nose has an accentuated air of crushed, mulled black berries and cherries, with a damp inlay. The palate offers floral perfume around its well-juiced fruit content, picks up some tar, slightly demanding, dry tannic thrust as it closes. The gras continues pretty well. The finish needs time. It can be a dark, lithe Châteauneuf in time. From 2020. 2035-38 Sept 2016

2014 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED – wine all went into the Tradition red

2013 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED – wine all went into the Tradition red

2012

(casks) healthy dark red; the nose has a peppery presence, a blackberry jam inlay, pine and garrigue herbs also present and bouncing well. The palate texture is nicely oily, which is one of its main ace cards; it is more sealed up than the classic 2012, has a smooth run of berry fruit with some meaty and prune intensity, shows tobacco on the aftertaste. I like its coated density. The Mourvèdre stamps the finish – prune and licorice show there. From 2018. 4,500 b. 2033-35  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(casks) dark red. Grapey, black raisin air, oriental spices present, baked undernotes. This goes for a mature style, will be varied. The palate presents an oaked theme, with a crisp menthol top to its black fruit, its prune and scented filling. It gathers on a swirling, peppery finish. Raw goods now. The aftertaste is searching – tannins explode there. There is a lot in the glass, and it lengthens well. A bosky style Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is a true child of terroir, STGT wine. From 2016. 14°. 2032-34  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(casks) dark red, black tints. The nose is reserved but potentially excessive – there are light tarry notes, red fruit here. Rather supple debut to the palate, with a juicy, gummy middle before a more grainy finish with crisp tannins. It lengthens well for now, freshly. Oak impinges on the aftertaste. Improvement possible. From 2015. 2036-39 Dec 2011

2009 ()

(casks) nicely full red; plenty of life in the bouquet, which has a herbal, plum air – good and promising vigour, not too sweet, well-directed, with some grilled airs as well. The palate is very pure – there is a good strike of fruit through this – it rolls along well. Has tidy tannins, and builds well. It is just a bit clipped and narrow as it ends, but can move into shape there. From 2013. 2031-34 Oct 2010

2008 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED – wine all went into the Tradition red

2007 ()

firm, dense robe centred on purple-red. The bouquet is out and open, running – it shows a floral-aromatic tone, has more class than the 2007 Tradition – the violet top hovers above a profound content. The palate is robust as it kicks off, shows a near Volatile Acidity element. It drives forward in unfettered fashion, has greater opulence and sweetness than the Tradition, and is also more flexible, layered. It is deep, and is more close to sipping than free drinking in style. 14°. 2030-33  Dec 2011  Previously Nov 2008 ***** (casks) dark red; has a sultry, reductive aroma it is wide and squeezy, has a good, ripe heart. The palate holds a supple, but intrinsically deep gathering of black fruits, or cherries. It lengthens via some evident tannins, bringing licorice to the aftertaste. This will offer great drinking, with complexity present. It just about keeps its power under wraps. The aftertaste is herbal, garrigue in style. A wine of abundant promise. 2028-30 Nov 2008

2006 ()

(assemblage from 5 of the 20 casks 3-7 yrs old) black cherry robe, darker than the Tradition; woven, black fruits aroma with a lingering violet, floral air, has some mystery. Black cherries flavour with a marked tannic thread from half way. Shows griottes (soaked cherries), black fruits, then licorice. The Mourvèdre dominates. There is good quality tannin. This is pretty rich, and combines vigour and vivacity. Good length and a clear finish. Its richness is well established, and runs right through it. Esp 2010 on. 2028-31 Nov 2007

2005

bright, quite dark raspberry colour; raisin, biscuit nose with a sense of liqueur of blackberry. Other floaters are dry stones, thyme and lightly smoked meat. Strange to say, but is still mostly hidden as a bouquet. The palate has an immediate rich tone, comes with a lot of wrapping, and moves with a quiet surge, ending with a lot of dancing black fruits such as prune. More evident richness that is also deeper-seated than the Tradition 2005. Pretty wine, good balance and length here. Esp 2010-11 on. 2028-31 Nov 2007 Previously Nov 2006, London ****(*) sound red robe; reduced smell on the bouquet, but there is an engaging core of sound fruit - good potential, since there is plenty here. Soft texture on the start, gains some tannic weight at the end. Well structured, still very primary. From 2010 2025-27 Dec 2006 Previously ***** Nov 2006, London dark red; solid bouquet, in a very primary state, shows some cherry, has a profound but very elegant shape. Subdued start to palate, then a broad and silken middle until more kick from ripe, peppery tannins at the end. Oak inserts are apparent on the finish. Classy wine in the making. From 2011. 2027-29 Previously June 2006 ****(*) (cask) bright, pretty robe; nose is dumb but there is balance and plenty of potential, there are reserves to come. There is a sense of pretty core fruit, and plenty for the future. Really harmonious palate, with well-cut fruit and great purity. Bonny content and balance here. Good flow – the wine darts out then settles through the palate. Tannins need leaving until 2010. 14.8° 2027-30 “This has evolved very regularly, unlike the 2004 with its ups and downs. The aromas haven’t changed much and it’s evolving very slowly – it’s like a calm person.” Jean-Paul Versino

2004

matt hue, sound red robe; the nose is soft and well settled, comes with quiet authority and a little floral air: it is earthy and nicely broad. On the palate, it is really reaching a singing moment – that will come around late 2009 – as it moves from youth to maturity. Has a wholesome, smooth texture, then the slight sinew of the year late on. There is till oak on the finish, which invests a dry tone there. From late 2009. 2025-28 June 2008 Previously March 2007 ***(*)complete, dark plum robe. Wide, prominent bouquet – well-ripened grapes and full enough to show a meaty underpinning. Proceeds with a good rhythm. There is a prune-raisin aroma that comes from Central Casting in my view. Vive La Formule of Prestige Wines! Stone fruit taste, plum with some floral tones, certainly carries alcohol. Mixes elegance and power, ends with final heat. Has a texture that is lissom, partly prompted by the alcohol. The palate reflects more sense of place than the bouquet – good Grenache here. Is smooth and flowing, but is too polished for me. If you have noble old vines, I’d like the grower to reach for the skies. I find this too ‘play safe’ to have real, outstanding character. Good length. To 2023-26 March 2007, Copenhagen Previously June 2006 *** bright, dark red; varied aromas – honey, some baked fruit, prune, nut – likely to be leathery in time and damp, woods, forest floor in style – not an obvious fruit vintage. Sound, filled content on the palate, with restraint, in the vintage style. Well-cut black fruits, licorice here: fruit isn’t overt or showy, but is interesting. Tannins fresh on finish. Persists with a near mineral feel. 2010 on. 2024-27  June 2006

2003 ()

matt red, some top ruby; the first aroma resembles coffee, but there is a sauve interior to the bouquet, an air of black cherries with tapenade of black olives. For now, the nose is a bit hidden, reserved. The palate texture is also suave – this is more shapely than the Tradition 2003, its length sound. It doesn’t stand out, but is still young, and there is a nice integration of its elements. The finish with sandalwood in it is clear, and good for the vintage. This is stylish and full, the style the winner – it isn’t a chunky wine, but is very well-knit. “As this is from old vines, their deep roots helped this year to access greater humidity; we also worked the soil,” Jean-Paul Versino. 2023-236  June 2006 Previously Sept 2004 ****(*) (casks) sound red; meaty, geared-up nose, compact for now but plenty to come out over time. Robust palate, with tight fruit, and less of a flourish than the Tradition 2003 wines. It is chunky, filled, with tannins melded in. Animal thrust in what resembles stewed Grenache comes along on the finish. From 2009. Is going to take its time. 2025-27 Sept 2004

2001 ()

(5 year oak cask) close-knit, well-weighted nose that shows licorice and toasted fruits. Has a good, lissom attack; this has good content, builds gradually through the palate. Has a nice, classic structure, is a good, clean wine, agreeable chewiness on the finish. Charming elegance; a wine that will evolve well, holds latent content, and will emerge with a more imposing presence after ten years. From 2007-08 onwards. 2027-30  Feb 2003

2000

good red robe; nice density in a full nose, plenty of ripe fruit. This is round, warm wine, backed by polished tannins, is nice and wide. Big, but well modelled wine, is long. Nice juice in it, indeed it is longer than the classic 2000. From 2006 on. 2023-25  Feb 2003

1997 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED