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The Wines

55-65% Grenache, (1900-1998 range), 15% Syrah (1980), 15-25% Mourvèdre (1940s), 5% Cinsault (1982), av age 50 yrs for all, from Palestor (N), Cabrières (N-W), Bois Lauzon (N-E), Mont-Redon (N-W), 10% hand, 90% machine harvested, whole bunch fermentation, natural yeasts only, daily pumping overs, cap punching at end of fermentation, 20-25 day concrete vat vinification, 0-50% steel vat raised (Grenache, vat % rising in mid-2010s), 50-100% large 50 hl barrel raised (1 yr, 8-10 yrs old in 2007) 12 months, unfined, unfiltered, organic wine, 18-30,000 b

2018

(large barrel/steel vat, bottling Apr 2020) dark robe, depth at its centre. The bouquet is wide, rather impenetrable for now, on cassis, black cherry liqueur, has style, can evolve well. The palate picks up well from the nose, gives a good stream of black fruit with pep in the delivery, and upbeat tannins that add interest to the extended finish. It’s well made, well balanced Châteauneuf, with touches of salt clarity along its path. 14.5°. 18,000 b. 55% Gren, 25% Mourv, 15% Syr, 5% Cins. From 2023. 2043-45 Oct 2019

2017

(large barrel/vat, bottling Apr 2019) sturdy dark red robe. Boiled beef and carrots in the glass! The nose is broad, has this 2017 signature, with grilling, black raisin, cocoa airs. The palate carries a savoury charge, is lined with solid content that keeps moving, has a smoky nature as it closes. There’s a good level of depth to hold the interest, and this is genuine Châteauneuf with  nice length, a touch of detail on the close. 14.5°. 18,000 b. 55% Gren, 20% Syr, 20% Mourv, 5% Cins. From 2021. 2041-43 Oct 2018

2016

(vat/barrel, bottling March 2018) deep, intense dark red. The nose is on reduction, presents therefore a “high” fruit air, a mass of jam-style fruits both red and black berry, also black olives and grilling. It has a firm inner sweetness. The palate is grilled, moves with sturdy, thick content and tannins. It’s a ground force wine, a bit obvious, will accompany game, stews etc. I would wait until it’s around six years’ old to allow it to loosen and vary further. From 2022, thus. 14.5°. 20,000 b. €24. 2038-40 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(concrete vat/casks) shiny dark plum red robe. The nose is scaled, filled with crushed black berry, “high” fruits that are accompanied by a note of iodine. This is full wine that parades the depth of Châteauneuf. There is ample juicing and a surge of ripe tannins towards the finish. It holds lurking power, strength, but the freshness of the vintage, with an ash, cendré tone near the end, draws it back from excess, so helping its drinkability. 14.5°. 20,000 b. From 2019. 2033-35 Sept 2016

2014

(vat/barrel, bottling Apr 2016) dark red. This has a brooding, quite deeply fruited aroma - loganberries spring to mind -  with reduction, so it needs air. The palate spreads broadly and runs well, the tannins smooth, like the texture. It is well juiced. This has promise, and enough weight to be a true Châteauneuf. Fine, powdered tannins close it. 14°. 18,000 b only. €23. From 2018. 2026-28  Oct 2015 

2012 ()

(bottling March 2014) pretty, full red robe. Smoky, mineral of rocks air outside its plump black cherry centre – the nose has a round, melted butter complement. The palate is a rather savoury affair, bundles its black cherry fruit with some smoky intent, ending clearly, still running. There is good cut here. Solid quality without the extra élan. From mid-2015. 2028-30  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(bottling March 2013) dark red; the nose mixes blackberry and game, has a sweet centre and laurel-Marmite/Vegamite yeast stock notes, a local air. The palate is ripely fruited, hence the black fruit is sweet-toned. It proceeds quietly, holds mild tannins, is a middle of the road 2011 wine. It is not far off ready for young drinking, in a bistrot, CHR Café-Hotel-Restaurant style. From 2014. €20 at the cellars. 2023-26  Dec 2012

2010

(casks) rather full robe; black jam air in an easy appeal nose of some weight, one that has a compact ripeness about it. There is a likeable air to this – it is all en jeunesse, on its innocent youth, shows some floral airs as well. The palate resembles the nose – it carries sturdy, filled black fruit flavours with tannins inset – they are a little firm, and will incorporate. It moves along, is broad, has some sweetness, and a late leather-like grip. Good balance, good and spiced length. A wine of good, solid character. From late 2013. €19 at the cellars. 2031-33 Dec 2011

2009

a tempting, quite dark red robe. Has a nutty raisin-brioche bread air, drops of red meat with that. Broad, fleshy start to the palate, with a thorough mid to late palate; the matter is rich, but quietens down before the finish. A static, volume style of Châteauneuf, sweet style for now. It will be more live from 2014 as it loosens and takes on more grip, which will benefit it. 14.5°. 2029-31 Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ***** thorough dark red; smoky bacon aroma along with raspberry fruit, baked plains: this is a broad bouquet with depth to it, and a local air. Good quality fruit is the big feature on the palate – grand juice here, along with live tannins. Can get together well, persists very well. The fruit is stylish, and there is for now a touch of late dryness that will absorb. From 2013. 2027-29 Oct 2010

2008

quite dark core to the robe. Cassis liqueur, rather pure black fruit and black pepper on the nose. Suave travelling black fruit along the palate – has attractive and nice, steady continuity. Unfussy fruit, its length is OK, has a few rather crackly tannins. Fine touch wine that is just a wee bit stretched. 2018-19 Nov 2009

2006

the red colour is still sound. The bouquet has a really bonny Grenache red fruit centre, an air of redcurrant jelly, along with herbs and cut hay. An attractive roll of red berry fruit runs across the palate, which is flinty, comes with animal, grounded notes. This is authentic, has a fabric of the soil, isn’t a polished up wine. 70% Gren, 20% Mourv, 10% Syr. 14°. 2025-27  Dec 2012 Previously March 2009 ** bright, quite dark red robe; the bouquet has a smoky, nutty outer air – there is a deep core of smoky red fruits. The palate is tight, with a slight dry grain of tannin through it; it is a sinewed wine after half way. The finale is pebbly, with a pocket of late richness. A wine of local qualities, but there is an issue with its large barrel raising that brings dry notes. These wines can sort themselves, and I hope this will be one. From 2011. 2024-26 March 2009 Previously Nov 2007 *** (assemblage from vat) quite a full raspberry red robe; Toasted outer aroma, with firm red fruit interior, the fruit is well-established, the bouquet solid enough. Attractive red fruit kicks off the palate, with some oak lining from the 2 barrels that were new in 2006. Holds good core fruit at its heart. Leave until late 2009. To be bottled March 2008. 2022-24 Nov 2007

2005

quite a dark red; Has a good, aromatic nose, with a nice, squeezy jam aroma, and a good, supple heart: a little coffee and tar are mixed in. Very true palate, delivers red fruits with a round, quite rich tendency, comes in the style of an open, sunny wine. Mourvèdre marks the finish, via licorice and a straighter, more direct purpose there. Good, true local wine, STGT. The finish is clean and a touch peppered. “It was quite closed and austere in its youth,” Cyril Chastan. 14°. 2021-23 Nov 2007

2004

still has a decent dark robe. The bouquet is rounded – quietly expressive of maturing Grenache with little bits of black olive, thyme. The fruit is dark, and there is a cedary presence. This is genuine Châteauneuf: its starts on a comfortable roundness, then takes on more tannin, spice. It finishes dryly, but food would take care of that. There is a small late gras richness. It is a bit demanding on the sides of the mouth. 13.5°. To 2022-23  Oct 2013 Previously Nov 2007 **** raspberry, plum robe; red fruits lie in the bouquet, with a little darkness, the black tone added by the Mourvèdre and Syrah: the pretty jam aroma comes in the house style. This sort of jam aroma is traditional, as in being reserved and not excessively souped up. The palate has a supple start, marked by a red berry flavour with a thread of white pepper and sweet spice from the tannins. The shape is quite rounded, especially for the year. No sense of excess here. It is clear on the finish, where there is peppery black jam with some floral and tar tones late on. This drinks well now, is right on the button – supple and still fresh. STGT wine. 2021-23 13.5°. Nov 2007 Previously Oct 2006 **** thorough robe; full, well-knit pretty hearty aroma – with gamey undertones. Tar and good, typical herbal garrigue here – the herbal influence set to emerge fully after 5-6 years. Cleanly defined fruit on palate, lasts well, has the sinew of the vintage. Nicely balanced, with stylish length. Touch of end tar, maybe from the non-Grenache elements. Traditional style of Châteauneuf. 2019-22 Oct 2006

2003 ()

red with a little ruby in the robe; the nose has a different air to the other vintages – is more game and animal, but has some gentle black fruit underneath, and also ground coffee. The palate is a tight-knit affair, showing black fruits with a pierce of pepper and tar in them. There is then a more settled finish that does not omit some kick in it, and a tarry, licorice aftertaste. Authentic wine, and authentic to the vintage. Is a little dry near the end. 13.5°. 2020-23 “We did not have the same extreme high heat effect as others in 2003: we did not drop leaves, and our soils are also able to handle drought. That is why we have a quite balanced wine this year,” Claude Chastan. Nov 2007  Previously Oct 2005 **** mild red, plum colour. The nose is pretty opulent, has a stewed red berry jam air, a light tickle of spice behind. This presents nicely mature Grenache, is a profound bouquet with a topping that leads on violet and rose, but also has a leathery angle. There is an impact of spiced, virile fruit on the palate, with again, a true, high relief Grenache style. There is plenty of spicy lining, with tannins kicking it along towards the finish. It is broad, but has a pebbly, dry direction within, the stamp of the year’s tannins. Air tightens it, declares black fruit jam and licorice and more overt bite. Plenty of character, as if the heat of the warm stones is pushing it along. The aftertaste smooths itself out with opening, becomes more toffee-like. It drinks with interest now, is an STGT wine. 2019-21  Oct 2005, East Sussex

2001 ()

gentle red robe, attractive maturity. Peppery, dusty top air, pretty floral notes. This is a peppery, fine grain wine, Grenache-forward in style. Tight, rugged, finishes firmly. 2020-22.  Nov 2009

2000

dark at core robe, some orange at the top – it is bright. Has a brewed, filled aroma – it is weighty and pretty dense, maybe Oxford marmalade here, with prune and rose-hip. The palate gets off to a good, savoury and authentic start – nice and full. It flows well, with a classic mix of soaked cherries or griottes, leather, sweet spice, Christmas cake that are delivered with a smooth texture. Good typicité in this – with a little oak residue on the finish. 2020-22. Much better than last bottle tried. Jan 2008 Previously Nov 2007 *** ruby hue; openly spiced nose, shows grainy Grenache with some mocha hints, comes in an upright vein. A little pepper tops the palate, and within the matter is a little light, tender. This is edging towards a dry stage. Needs game or stews and to be drunk before 2010 for the most sure result. It tightens on the finish, its richness is delicate. 13°. “It was always en finesse,” Claude Chastan. Nov 2007

1999 ()

tiled top to the robe; has an animal, bare breasted bouquet that shows damp woods evolution, beef stew and mineral. Advancing Grenache on the palate, a wine with a big, sappy full-on nature, that is followed by an austere side. Does not gain as it breathes – indeed it is drying. The flavour is a little like chocolate. Drink this soon on this showing. Nov 2006

1995

pretty robe that is a classic red with some black at its centre – is still full. The nose is charming – has plenty of richness, but is still rather reserved – blackberry is the main fruit. On the palate comes the vintage stamp – it is a grainy style of wine – upright in the vintage shape. There is black jam in the flavour and some pepper: a wine with clean limbs and tannic restraint along its sides. The tannins risk a bit of dryness. Best with lamb, although Claude Chastan would eat a grilled rib of beef with it. There you go. “At first, it was like 1990 and 2000 – a well balanced wine with a fast evolution, then it became stable and has remained like that since late 1997. By contrast, 1989 and 1994 are more severe and tighter.” 2019-21 Nov 2006