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The Wines

70-85% Grenache, 7-12% Mourvèdre, 5-15% Syrah, 3% Cinsault from over 20 plots with most emphasis on South, destemmed, 4 week vinification, wild yeasts, 2 early pumping overs, then one or two more, aged 0-90% concrete vat (reducing), 0-10% steel vat, 10-35% 50 hl oak vinification and raising barrel, 30-45% large barrel 12 months, then 6 months concrete vat for all the wine, unfined, filtered, organic, biodynamic wine, 10-30,000 b

2018 ()

(blended today, the only wine, since not enough for Vieilles Vignes) dark red; has a good, full nose, prominent and inviting, on liqueur density, holds well, is thorough. The palate is gourmand, free wheel rolling, bears savoury gras, hits a sweet spot, will please. There are herbes de Provence, garrigue notes. The texture is very suave and it’s broad across the palate, will be an instant hit with drinkers. It’s open and rolling, likely to show with a flourish, is succulent and tasty. The fact that it’s bright and bouncy, gives high pleasure means it’s a rare example of a Marcoux that can be drunk young – include that on your agenda, a wine giving its über charm as a young’un. 2017 is more complex, but what price pleasure? “We had half a crop this year. The pH is near 3.8, with 2017 3.65, so that has better acidity,” Sophie Armenier. 15°. 10% steel, 90% large oak barrel this year. 70-75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10-12% Mourvèdre, 3% Cinsault, so 10% less Grenache and 10% more Syrah this year. To be bottled 2 April 2020. From 2021. 2041-43 May 2019

2017

dark red; sizzled bacon, blackcurrant, cassis de Dijon airs feature with low-key intensity on the bouquet. The palate presents smoothly textured matter, juicy moments running into nicely seasoned tannins – more so than many 2017s – they are ripe and even fleshy, nice munch in them. Oil in the texture and variety in the flavour both work well. There is a thread of cool through it, and savoury, beef stock moments towards the finish. It gathers good prompts en route, carries good potential. “It was quite a late harvest for a hot year – we harvested the first Grenache on 14 September, and ended on 27 September. There was coulure this year, so our yield was just 14 hl/ha. We were saved by the old vines, the Vieilles Vignes with their later flowering, so we avoided coulure on them on Charbonnières. I like the vintage a lot,” Sophie Armenier. From 2022. 2041-43 May 2019

2016 ()

full, dark red robe; The bouquet has real weight, is sturdy, well filled, shows prune, a smatter of salt, pockets of detail in its size and scale, mineral-cold tea notes, licorice. The palate is wide, sustained, goes long, and reaches far. Plum fruit with sweetness well inside flows well, across and down, reaching a good crescendo on the QT, gaining emphasis from within. There are very good rocky zip notes in it, no excess saturation. This is the composed, not excess South. The Vieilles Vignes is always a more elegant do than the Tradition, but the price isn’t at all the same! 15.5°. From 2021-22 2048-50 May 2019 Previously Oct 2017 **** (vat/barrel, bottling April 2018) deep, dark red colour. Has a beefy, brewed bouquet that offers a big filling of black fruits, mulberries, crushed blackberries in near liqueur form. The palate is packed with cherry and raspberry fruits and a surge of tannin that rolls out on the second half. This is fundamental, large Châteauneuf, with breadth and length. It’s on the cusp of being a sipping rather than a free drinking wine. The aftertaste shows the powdery fineness of its tannins. I would wait until 2023-24 to get into this, so it can loosen. 15.5°. 20,000 b. 85% Gren, 10% Mourv, 5% Syr. €41. 2044-47 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(vat) dark red; the nose is an attractive mix of sturdy, dark red fruits and a floral, musky shimmer. There is a small sense of liqueur. The palate sets off immediately on a graceful wave of red cherry fruits, which have a nourishing quality. They continue deep into the finish, where there are classy tannins waiting. As for the Côtes du Rhône 2015, the tannin quality here is high, and well above average. It’s long and sustained, authentic, STGT Châteauneuf. From late 2019. 2030-33 Sept 2016 GB £335 12 b in bond H2Vin GB www.h2vin.co.uk info@h2vin.co.uk +44(0)203 478 7376

2014 ()

(vat) red robe. The nose breathes a measured, nicely lifted air of raspberry, with a soft floral drift. It has a calmness that is appealing. The palate fruit is fluid, red-berried, with light snappy tannins and their low-key dustiness. An elegant wine which is lucid and will be shapely. It is a touch turned-in for now, and if left can gain more flesh, a degree of fat. From 2018. 2027-29 £320 12 b in bond H2Vin GB www.h2vin.co.uk Oct 2015

2013 ()

(vat) quite a decent red robe. Has an air of stewed fruits, plums presented with a rather appealing sweetness. There are very typical minor notes of garrigue, herbs and dustiness as well: this bouquet captures Châteauneuf-du-Pape well – the roundness and the grace. This is forward wine, already pretty open, marked by a precise definition of fruit – there are some soaked red cherries at its heart, and finely cut tannin. I give it marks for that precision, which implies a stylish wine in the making. Has a cool texture, pebbly finish that is interesting. STGT wine. From 2017. No Vieilles Vignes this year: here one finds the bonus for that. 2024-26  GB £150/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com £300 12b i/b H2Vin www.H2Vin.co.uk orders@H2Vin.co.uk Nov 2014

2012 ()

(vat, bottling March 2014) dark robe. Sweet-tinted black cherry air, a liqueur aspect, ripe fruiting, a sunny roundness. It is a bit vegetal and also broad and meaty. The palate presents brewed berry fruits with well-inserted tannins and enough strength for some gasp on the aftertaste. Broad, coated wine with tar and spark, a smokiness as it finishes. It will develop into a full bottle of Châteauneuf, quite potent strength present. It needs 2+ years to tame its more grainy edges, and reduce the vegetal side. From mid-2016. 15°. 21,000 b this year. £290 12 b in bond H2Vin GB www.h2vin.co.uk 2027-29 Nov 2013

2011 ()

comfortable red robe, deep enough. The nose is moving into a combination of herbs and Victoria plum fruits. It shows garrigue influences, with kirsch and prune, is STGT. The palate shows a flourish on the attack, a well-layered red stone fruit, offers much Grenache. The non-Grenache elements bring darkness, structure to its sides. It hums with power (note that the label says 15.5 so is nearer 16°), and ends tightly after the early flourish. Notes of licorice hover. From spring 2014. 2024-26  Oct 2013  Previously Dec 2012 **** good, quite dark red. This has a wide bouquet that involves red meat, oxtail, red fruits and sappy, black fruits as well: an ample start. The palate revolves around blackberry fruit with a smoky, tar take-up towards the finish, where there are cool moments. This has sound quality juice, tasty raspberry, with a chisel of powder tannin at the end and a brief show of Grenache plum fruit . Good, orderly, promising wine, all as one. From late 2014. 15°. 2026-28  Dec 2012

2010

full red with a dark core. Floral, rose-hip, graceful bouquet which shows mulled raspberry and blackberry fruit, black raisin and also licorice, smoke and herbs: it is all together, an ensemble. The palate starts well, is attractive right away. The fruit is ripe, its acidity fine and well integrated, adding a lightness of touch to the wine. It has good “dark” but elegant qualities – this drinks well now, which is testament to its balance. It reminds me of a sensual Rodin sculpture. From 2016. 2030-32  Sept 2012  Previously Dec 2011 **** (barrel/vat) dark robe; raisin-beefcake air that holds an intrinsic aroma of red cherry griottes or soaked cherries in alcohol, with garrigue, herbal attachments. The palate gives forward-pushing Grenache, all entered into a compact, full ball of flavour. It ends on vintage 2010 pebble tannins, with wide content still present. A wine of much heart and centre. The end shows its undoubted 15° to 15.5°, a hint of eau de vie lies in its nutty, still being raised backdrop. From 2014. 2027-29 Dec 2011

2009 ()

(to be bottled next week) full red, dark tints. Sunny, red fruit such as mulberry jam or jelly style aroma, is welcoming. Gourmand, fat and fleshy attack, from half way there is a gradual tightening of its tannins and shape. Good length. Easy to drink enjoyably from 2013. A clean fruit, natural style wine; the cold winter has served it well. 2021-23 March 2011 Previously Oct 2010 *** (barrel) fair plum red robe; cautious, red liqueur fruit aroma, acetate also – it is a bit “high” on the nose, a bit short on class and clarity. Has a Grenache-led palate, with juicy moments in it: delivers a steady flavour, and is wide towards the finish. It is a bit charged with alcohol, a workmanlike wine that lacks a real core engine of quality. The finish is clear, but it does not grab me. From late 2012 or more. 2022-23 Oct 2010

2008 ()

quite a full red with mauve tints. Morello cherry first nose – light soaked cherries, also bacon fat – a sweet and supple first impression. There is a sweet theme, fruit pastilles, along the palate. Its tannins are fine, it widens a little in the final stages. Blackberry flavour backed by nutty notes. I suspect a slow developer here, can improve and will sing around 2014. From 2011. 2019-20. Just 10,000 b this year. Dec 2009

2007 ()

(barrel) full red. Has a well-balanced, harmonious nose, but one that is reticent today – there are wafts of caramel and spice. It is solid in nature – herbs and baked plains are evoked. The red fruits on the palate come with a sunny bounce – the style is open and friendly, the juice abundant. This is real tasty drinking – really beau – the fruit is fragrant. It ends consecutively, en rondeur, with some tannins there. Bonny drinking to come – w.o.w. wine. From summer 2010 – enjoy! 2020-22 Nov 2008

2006

quite a full robe; there are traces of black jam in a reserved, but quietly ticking over nose. There is a nice biscuity after air - this bouquet suggests a sunny, pretty wine. The palate has a sound core of red fruit - cherry, raspberry - that comes with a gradual, refined gain in tannin as it goes. This has a very pretty sequence through the palate - it is nice and faithful to its place, bang on STGT, is not forced in any way. Very pure wine. 2018-20 March 2009 Previously Nov 2007 ***(*) quite a dark robe, red mixed with some black; black tone fruits, with a biscuity, light raisin accompaniment. The black fruit is pretty pure, has a little pepper, is savoury and refined. The palate black fruits have a juicy heart and extend well, move along. The late presence of pretty ripe tannin means the wine is well structured, and can evolve well. From 2009. Is a wine of charm and soft appeal. Balance is sound, has a little oak to lose. 2019-22 Nov 2007

2005

(example of the final assemblage) smoky, bacon and red fruit aroma that is quite broad and engaging. The palate has a robust fabric with a tight texture. Has live red fruits, and good acidity. The fruits are alert and expressive, redcurrant in nature, with good width and a chewy end, shows tannins there. Good length, a beau vin with good core matter. There is a touch of red jam within. From mid-2009. 2023-25 Nov 2006 “It is like 1999 with its acidity,” Catherine Armenier

2004 ()

red plum with a light top on the robe. The bouquet has a roasted, peppery nature, with some mulled berry fruit, and traces of alcohol hovering: it is a bit stiff, shows raisin and dark chocolate, and may be more supple in two years. On the palate shows itself as pretty typical Châteauneuf, led by a Grenache plum flavour, and has a little silken phase, so it ends round and elegantly. There is some blackberry in the flavour, and some rather grippy tannin. Is not deep, and can be drunk early, and ends with those nutty tannins: it is a little gaunt now, and I find it lacks flesh. For most variety, drink this around 2011. It is certainly a wine surrounded by some doubt – see earlier notes and debate about it below. 2016-17 Sept 2007 Previously Nov 2006 *** something must have been wrong on previous tasting of this, when it was a deeply unimpressive offering. Largely full red robe; easy charm on the nose, led by strawberry, has a floral, summery tone and is soft now. May become more profound with time. Scented red fruit start to the palate, with an appealing clear tone. Is a little upright – the fruit travels in waves – ondulations – is interesting. From 2008. 2017-20 Nov 2006, at the domaine. “This was easy to work with and has always been open, like the 2000; we picked like in the old days, around 18 September,” Catherine Armenier. Previously Oct 2006, London (*) light red; inconsequential aroma – a little red fruit but is very plain, sweet Grenache. Simple, facile red fruit on palate – a one trick show. Short finish. Lacks character and depth. Drinkable, but must be cheap (tasted blind in London). 2010-11 Oct 2006 Now I know its ID – this is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul – the Vieilles Vignes cuvée rules the roost here, and the regular cuvée has to get along under its own, sometimes weakened, regime.

2003

gentle plum red colour, still an ensemble. The first aroma is baked, comes with tight-knit, reserved fruit, but an attractive floral air hovers, offering promise, a caress of Grenache fruit. As it ages, it is ready to become spiced and dried. After being open 1 hour, black raisin, darker airs such as date and Christmas cake come through. The palate also starts on this rather drawn together style – the wine is on a parched level, its texture tightly stretched, more a mask than a face – the vintage stamp. There is a glimmer of red fruit late on, and eventually a rounded, still firm finish. This is still very much a 2003, hardly out of its baked wrapping. It glows on the aftertaste, and requires robust food. A wine that is hard to shift as it ages – so decant if you want it looser, but of course that makes the dried nature of the vintage come through. Or leave until late 2011. 2019-21 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2006 *** a touch of top ruby on the robe; the nose carries baked fruit, a mix of Bakewell tart, herbs, rose, cold China tea. The palate fruit is led by red berries close to being jam, have a tight weave, and are dense but not heavy. Holds a scented aftertaste. There is a full fabric in this wine. Is a bit dry at the finish, and needs another 15 months to integrate there. The end is the issue this year. 2016-18 Harvested 28 August. Nov 2006 “This was a very tricky year, but very interesting to work with, what with the heat and the volatile acidity. I learnt a lot,” Catherine Armenier. Previously September 2005 *** red with good core in the colour. Very stylish nose, measured red fruits, herbs and some spice. Pretty, appealing fruit on palate, is broad and sustained. Fruit is what persists clearly, not extraction. Elegant, orderly wine, well handled. Length good. Silken alongside many 2003s, in the Les Cailloux of André Brunel vein. 2015-16 September 2005, London

2001

black berry, Syrah influence on the nose – raspberry fruit gum notes, and overall an elegant do. Black fruit with a fresh tickle runs along the palate in a long, persistent path. Very bonny oiliness of texture. Can drink now, but more varied and open from 2007 on. 2013-15 March 2005

2000

decent red heart to the robe, which is lightening at the top. Has a big red berry fruit aroma with a smoky upper air, an assured ripe roundness below – has a typical Châteauneuf-du-Pape richness in it, dusty stones, thyme, smoked bacon. The palate is rocking along well now – lots of pulsating fruit – berries – and a little tar. There is inherent finesse in its texture that is smoothly oily, beau. Really fine, delightful, very bonny bounty in the glass – a singing wine that is supremely drinkable. It retains good, crisp tannin that supports the finish well. It can live on well, but its vigour is appealing now. Sophie`s comment in 2002 about balance in the 2000 applies, certainly. 14.5°. 2021-23 Jan 2010 Previously Nov 2002 *** open, aromatic, quite ripe nose, with earthy touches in it. A pretty raspberry-strawberry duo greets the drinker on the palate – straight off the bat. Sound, and agreeable. Suave, quite streamlined, red berry flavour is very appealing. 2012-14 or so. “I find 2000 more balanced than 1998 – less exaggerated,” Sophie Armenier. Nov 2002, Paris

1999 ()

(vat, approx idea of the final wine) quite dark robe; peppery nose, raw young Grenache. The palate is nicely judged in weight, not that big, has a suave texture. Good frame around it, holds interesting, quite assertive tannins that are pretty well integrated. Fair amount of matter in this. “We have the reputation of soft tannins, but not here,” Sophie Armenier. 2014-16 Feb 2000

1998 ()

(pre-assemblage) good, dark robe; soft, olive paste aromas that shelter its power. Good, deep palate that rocks around with noticeable middle and end tannins. Plenty wine here, a genuine extract in it. A bit tough on the finish for now. 15°. From 2004, say. 2016-19 Feb 2000

1996 ()

fair colour, bits of dark red, normal for Marcoux. The bouquet is quite succulent, has airs of red berry garden fruit, strawberry, with notes of damp leaves and plum also. The palate has a sweet, rather beguiling attack; this has no rough edges, plays the card of roundness, has a silky texture. It gains some weight, shows a little tannin at the end. This expresses good Grenache well overall, can show more in two to three years. Can show well over 10 to 12 years, though not sure how relevant that judgment is, given the very rounded style. The top of the label proclaims vignes en agriculture biodynamique – this is wine made from biodynamically worked vineyards. 2009-11 Nov 1999

1994 ()

quite dark, matt toned robe, not arresting. Dark, pretty intense aromas line the bouquet – a lot of stewed fruit, with some sweetness, overcooked fruits in style. The palate is quite fleshy, has an accessible texture on the attack. The shape is rounded, with fair matter to hold it up. The style sought by the maker here is deliberately full. The finish is made up of quite chewy tannins. OK, not more. 13.5°. 2004-07 Oct 1996