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The Wines

32-33% each Grenache (1890s), Syrah, Mourvèdre (1910s), plus Cinsault, Muscardin, Counoise, Vaccarèse, Terret Noir from La Bigote, Les Bosquets, Pignan sud (N-E), 80% destemmed, 25-35 day vinification at up to 30°C, daily pumping overs & part vat emptying/refillings, cap punchings, aged 50% steel vat, 25% new 228-litre oak casks, 25% 600-litre oak casks 18 months (into mid-2010s aged 100% new oak casks 18 months, until late 2000s was 50% new oak casks, 50% large barrels 12-18 months), 2-4,000 b

2017

(steel vat/casks, bottling April 2019) dark red robe; the bouquet reveals reduction, a “high” element in its stewed red fruits, markedly sweet plums, some red meat. It has old vine Grenache depth, sureness. The palate is thoroughly and well filled with rich, still compact, sealed content, has extended length, is solid all through. There are good hints of iodine, mineral as it ends, which help the desire for another glass. This is nice and complete, and the vintage conditions have been well handled. Decanting essential. 16°. 2,300 b. 34% Mourv, 33% Gren, 33% Syr. From mid-2021. 2040-43 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(casks) dark red, full robe, legs visible. Has an air of soaked fruits, a sappy nature, along with some lamb stock, licorice. It’s a full, weighty start. The palate is similar – resting on copious waves of fruit with a hint of North Africa about them – dates, black raisins, with late spicing and firmness from the Mourvèdre. I find this on the cusp of being too much – one sip, and Goodnight, Vienna pour moi. 15.8°. 4,000 b. €36. From 2021. 2036-39 Oct 2017

2013

(casks) deep purple colour. Coffee-mocha aroma, the oak evident, but also rich, ripe fruit behind. This is imposing on the palate. The coffee-caramel oak effect is still very present, but there’s a depth and volume of fruit as well. Opulent and seductive in a modern and full-on way. Tannins are present, but refined. 14.5°. From 2018. 2027-29 JL Oct 2014

2011

red robe, legs. Big resin-pine surge on the nose and a mandarin zest in its smoky, leather black fruit. The nose is broad and lingering. The palate is wide, has a luxury coating, a texture of suave fruit. Its oak is obvious, dominates the game. Prune and blackberry fruit lie at its centre. Robust wine that sets out to be obvious. You have to be modernist to like this. The aftertaste is heated. From mid-2016 or 2017. 15°. 2029-31  Dec 2012

2007

quite dark red, matt tone; has a charcoal, singed aroma – here come raw meat, lusty black fruit, cold tea – this is a Big Presence in the glass. The palate has a beef stock, charged nature – it is very overtly full, a wine that pushes right on down the line. Is a high octane, sipping affair, not a fun drink. The aftertaste is prune, and coats the palate. I only want a glass before I tire of this. It will be saluted by those who like cathedrals, not chapels. It is long and insistent. From 2011. 2028-30 Nov 2008

2006 ()

dark plum colour; has a ripe, raisin aroma with traces of chocolate in the air – the bouquet is reserved now. Has a potent attack – this is a foot down wine that moves with vigour, and is quite demanding. It is heated towards the finish, is a sipping not a drinking wine. Its oak is not yet integrated and it is powerful. Big, feisty and overtly oaked, especially on the finish – you have to like this style. From spring 2010. 14.5°. 2022-24. June 2008