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The Wines

65% Grenache, 15-20% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 3% Clairette, 2% Cinsault & Counoise (all on La Crau, av age of all vines 64 yrs in 2015), mostly destemmed except for the 10-20% old Grenache, part wood, part steel vat vinification over 30 days, daily pumping overs, some cap punching, vat raised 12 months, then aged 60 hl barrel 10-12 months, unfined, unfiltered, released 2 years after harvest, 200,000 b

2019

(large barrel) healthy dark red robe; the bouquet carries weight, sunshine, has a plunge of sultry, perfumed red stone fruits, with spiced sides, a near black raisin presence. It’s a full, generous start. The palate is rich on the attack, unfurls a wave of thick, concentrated content, is broad all through, with pedigree tannins and a note of silk in the texture. It finishes with a lip chomping density, has picked up notes of pine en route, local colour, menthol, smoke. This is beautifully rich and persistent, for now punchy, assertive, even rigorous. Here we have an STGT Châteauneuf from a vintage that is speaking very clearly of its sense of place. It has a long way to go, so take much time with it. From 2025 at least, decant it. 2049-52 Nov 2020

2018 ()

(large barrel) full, bright red; the nose is on a good curve of appeal, precise raspberry fruit, soaked red cherries or griottes, along with hints of herbs, laurel. The palate is firm, deep on the attack, then takes on a silken ease, is streamlined with a gradual take-up of tannin and inner strength. It’s partly a Burgundian approach, has Pinot associations there is good purity of fruit. The finish is on power for now. It’s a serious business on the concentrated finish. Take your time - from 2023. 2045-48 Oct 2019

2017

dark red; the bouquet is well loaded with dark cherry fruits that carry the strength of the vintage, have a pastille style nature. There are touches of juniper, thyme and laurel, a bundle of local prompts, as well. The palate sets off with a rolling run of fat, filled content, has a generous heart, hands out its red fruits and content liberally. “You sense that the grapes were very ripe”, Daniel Brunier - I agree. It gathers the chink of freshness of its origins, deep roots playing their role big time above all in this hot and dry vintage. The aftertaste has rock n’roll, energy, is striking. 50% loss of harvest. Bottled July 2019. From 2023. 2045-47 Oct 2019 Previously Oct 2018 ****(*) (large barrel, bottling July 2019) plum, bright red robe. The bouquet holds well, with spice and pebbly, stony outcrops, pumice stone, liqueur raspberry fruit, cumin, a wee note of baking. The palate spreads widely, takes its time, has La Crau depth and insistence, is grounded wine of real tenacity, with challenging tannins from deep down in the soil. This is back on form, its richness tight knit, sustained. The second half will take time to meld and soften out. There’s good inner strength here. 15°. Loss of 50% harvest. From 2023. 2044-47 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(large barrel) the red robe is quite dark, legs visible. The raspberry fruit aroma is very clear, ripely fruited with some husky, baked notes, black raisin, brandy cake, cherry stone. It is imposing. The palate gives strength, muscle, tight packing with tannins that are baked. It is a ground force wine, holds thick juice, shows the vintage more than the Piedlong 2016. It is concentrated and thorough, a wine of strength, many resources, feet on the ground. It will take much time, will be very long-lived via its close-knit, really dense content. After the full mass of the attack, prune fruit squeezes out only towards the finish. There is a note of cocoa towards the finish. Decanting advised. From 2024. 2044-48 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(large barrel) clear, medium red robe. The nose is closely sealed with potential variety in the offing; for now there is a mix of nutshells, raspberry, ripe garden berries, red meat droplets, laurel. The palate is tightly drawn together, but has a good central run of wavy red fruits, plums, prominent tannins wrapped tight around. This has good inner heart, and bustling, tarred tannins with menthol ping on the close, a good, dusted rockiness. Take your time with this. It is long, is still naked. There is a gunflint exit. It will fuse gradually. From 2020 at least. 2042-45 Sept 2016 GB Justerini & Brooks £400 12 b or £420 6 mags or £420 24 ½ bots all i/b www.justerinis.com/rhone2015

2014

red robe with a wee lightness at the top. Has a baked cherry aroma, comes with warm lands influence, musky flowers and a rose petal delicacy, hints of white pepper that linger. It has stealthy breadth. The palate gives a coil of red berry-cherry fruit, has some toffee present. It’s well juiced, continues quietly, has a clear finish. It is rather arm’s length Châteauneuf in a laissez-faire style, doesn’t chase scale, thank goodness. The late juice is pretty compressed, and that is its most southern moment, along with the late glow. 14.5°. 40% whole bunch. 100hl oak vat raised for one year, then 60 hl large barrel for second year. Bottled July 2016. From late 2018. 2033-35 Sept 2016 Previously Oct 2015 ****(*) (large barrel, bottling June 2016) fine red robe. The nose is nicely reserved, holds gracious red berry fruit at its centre, has bright wings, a rocky sidecar. It is a subtle affair, and there are hints of flowers, pressed flowers, violets. The palate gives a close link to the nose, a belle liaison. This runs with an aromatic outer and a steel-inspired inner, shows its place in a more punchy finale. It is nice and natural, an intriguing wine, with the late grain crunch of the galet stones well delivered. Its content is secure, poised. The finish is varied and stimulating, has red jam and baking. Pretty complex wine. From 2019-20, for example, no hurry. 2033-36 GB £175/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015

2013 ()

modest red robe with a pale rim to it. The bouquet is loose – there is an air of red berry, a herbs note such as thyme, just a hint of sweetness, with some licorice and aniseed. The palate expresses garrigue herbs, lacks a little depth; it has style, but skates along rather, and finishes freshly. A new wave Châteauneuf, as if it wants to be more Nordic than southern. There are fine tannins on the finish. It is unmade as it stands, and the lack of body is a concern. If you want elegance, it is here, but Châteauneuf depth is rather absent. From 2018. 2035-38  Feb 2015 Previously Oct 2014 ***(*) (large barrel) light to medium colour. Has a fairly reticent plum and red fruit expression on the nose. There seems to be more going on on the palate, which is juicy and sweetly fruited. Its tannins are firm all the way through with a grainy note on the finish. There’s a tidy structure here, which should permit ageing. From 2017. 2027-29 JL GB £174/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com  Oct 2014

2012 ()

(large barrel, bottling July 2014) red robe, rather full; has a ripe red cherry fruit air, liqueur moments, a baked undernote, also gives a rosemary aroma, with pine tree, menthol notes. The debut on the palate is nicely rolling, well-juiced, comes with flexible, ripe tannins that add firmness overall. The finish is slightly salty; there is a healthy level of charge at its heart. It whizzes around the palate, mixing up fruit and herbs, licorice and coffee, tannin and acidity. There is a lot in the glass here – it is a good, active, STGT wine that has scope and gives a prolonged image of the south. From 2019. 2036-39  Nov 2013

2011

plum colour; stewed fruits air, a gummy style on the nose, red jam coating along with iris, cedar, dabs of a cigar box, licorice and smoke. The palate is grainy, spiced, challenging: the finish is fired up, the tannins imposing. It attacks on spiced plum fruit, grips tightly all the way and has a plentiful garrigue presence. This needs time and will never be a singing wine – this vintage here is rocky, chiselled, and for now it is demanding. It is a bit disorganised and I would put it to one side. From 2018. 14.5°. Bottled end July 2013. 2033-36  Nov 2013 Previously Dec 2012 **** red robe; strawberry, red berry aroma with licorice, garrigue ripples – this is a sunny, wavy bouquet. Has an open book attack that bears red berry mulled fruits, is very Grenache expressive, Garnacha of its origins, is round until half way, when grip and strong tannins kick in. The finish is authentic, has a bitter, tangy, orange zest zap. It will keep edging forward over time. Its finale is chunky, quite high octane now. From 2017. Is over 15°. 2032-34. Bottling July 2013.  Dec 2012

2010

decent red robe, has life in it. There is early damp woods, sous bois, on the nose, prune, cold Lapsang Souchong tea. The palate comes with nice drive, a fresh tinkle, a feast of menthol, iron filings also, with a most inviting sweetness and stylish black fruit, pepper. It's going great guns, has a fresh spine, gains as it goes, holds dark, bosky elements. There's coffee, menthol, on the exit. 14.5°. 2045-47 Oct 2019 Previously Dec 2012 ****** bottled July 2012: sound, quite bright red. The front nose is roasted, grilled, with red fruit, a deep damson plum within, and a hum of warm lands. It is laden with thyme-garrigue airs. The palate is closing down; it is close-knit, its red berry fruit strong, purposeful and prolonged. There is a good contribution from the tannins that play a real central role, provide a chiselled definition and a salty clarity at the end. I would compare this to 1978 - it has taken on grandeur and dimension. It is very long. Wait and tuck it away. There is lots on the aftertaste. “It mixes austerity and freshness. It is the year I prefer since I started to work on the domaine in 1981,” Daniel Brunier. 14.5°. 2044-47 Dec 2012 Previously Nov 2011 ***** (bottling in June 2012) full red robe; the nose offers floral-violet and peony airs but is not especially open (rain is announced in two days time, and it is gradually changing from sustained high pressure); there are light date and prune airs underneath its early redcurrant. The palate has a squeezy, refined start, with clear tannins, and a crispness just outside its gras foundation. Wears more of a cloak than many young Vieux Télégraphes, is more ensemble at this stage. The richness is free and accessible, and its very clear tannins add snap. It reminds me to some extent of 1985. From 2015. Around 15°. 2039-42 Nov 2011

2009

fine red robe, quite bright. Biscuity, unresolved bouquet, a jam red fruit paste presence, nutty notes – there is black raisin here, plum fruit, the semblance of rose. The palate is muted; the flavour resembles a nutty red jam, with flexing muscle sides, has an intrinsic power that is camouflaged. It is not showing fantastically well, is not a clear story yet. It has the baking of 2009 in it. The finish shows more core and grouping of matter, red fruit richness – encouraging. Air allows more gras and juice through. This is very subdued. 14.5°. Leave a long time - from 2014-15. Bottled July 2011. 2034-37 Nov 2011 Previously Sept 2011 * 2 bottles tasted blind in London: bottle 1: unpromising robe – ochre, garnet tints already. Low-key, dull sort of nose. Bottle 2 to see if things can improve: modest robe, a pale off-red; Light red jam air, a little smoky. Also red jam on the palate, no finesse, ends on dry, a shade scorched, notes. Has a red jam, cherry, nutty flavour, is short. Plain wine. Not sure about it. 14.5°. Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 **** the assembled wine: sombre dark red; ripened up red fruits and berries aroma – Grenache features on the top aroma, has potential. Red fruit, herbal debut to the palate, which develops a fine line of supple fruit, ends well on a fresh note. Good quality Grenache here, a bit of fire in it, especially on the late moments. From mid-2012. 2033-36 Oct 2010 Previously June 2010 ***** (important note: this is not the finished assemblage – “this will be done in August 2010, there are still decisions to take,” D.Brunier.) full red colour; bountiful bouquet – baked plains, garrigue, reflected sun, herb, lavender, plum red fruits, Zan licorice, “violet” D.B. The first impression of the palate is its width – there are real shoulders here, a wine that has a firm, moving towards bitter, cocoa second half – it really digs in. Obviously a big year, one with deep pockets of flavour, and very solid. It will yield only gradually. It tightens right up at the end, and is demanding there for now. From 2015? 2036-38. June 2010

2008

middling red robe, light at the top; cedar and strawberry jam aroma with yeast and brioche notes, also plum and black raisin. It has an attractive floral air as well. It will be spicing up quite soon, will develop Christmas time connotations. The palate is supple, and is drinkable – for now the tannins shape its finish, then restrain and narrow it after a plump start. It is just moving into shape. Gentle Châteauneuf-du-Pape. From autumn 2013. Could have a little more body on this showing, may gain that from 2014. 14.5°. 2021-22  Sept 2012  Previously June 2010 ***(*) bottled 2 weeks ago: three-quarter depth red, light top, good centre. Mulled red fruits airs, streamlined jam – the bouquet is unforced, persists well. It reflects a Provençal walk in summer. There is a fine delivery of red fruit on the palate – a generous herbal presence through it – rosemary, thyme, the dust. In big vintages, these notions are suppressed by the generosity of the density of the wine and the fruit itself. It ends clearly, with mineral notes. The fruit is fine. Very pure and beckoning. Good, herbal, thyme and licorice mixes on the palate, and good clarity. 14.5°. 2022-25 “It is aerien – airborne – without anything heavy, and is classic, noble,” Daniel Brunier. June 2010 Previously Dec 2009 ***(*) mottled red. Sweet first air – cherry fruit that is rounded, has a mild-depth Grenache fruit, black berry jelly aroma along with floral airs, as if smiling quietly. Typical Grenache plum fruit flavour here, has a fine texture around it. There are a few moments of late tannin. The length is OK. The fruit is harmonious, persistent. A fine wine whose tannins need leaving for 18 to 24 months – this is less open than many 2008s. Quite wide towards the finish. From late 2011. 2019-21 Dec 2009

2007 ()

the robe shows some advance past a full red. Game, reduction show in a broad bouquet, one with capacity and red meat depth. It shows the concentration of the year in its red fruit. The attack is elegant, provides a liberal offer of stylish red fruit, with joli clarity. This is developing well. Its freshness has been well achieved, and it serves a rocky tang as it finishes. This is very enjoyable, is a superior 2007 in the freedom stakes, nothing overdone. 14.5°. 2032-35  Nov 2015 Previously June 2010 ***** this is great. Red colour. The nose is reticent, ticks over, is rounded, and nicely complete. No prime fruit sensation. Has a wavy attack, is very ensemble and surprisingly delicate, handling its depth very well. Tasty and notably long. It has a superior cohesion, is ahead of most 2007s in that department. The finish is rich. Not flashy, quietly keeping a low profile. 14.5°. 2030-32 June 2010, at Restaurant Chaudron in Tournon Previously June 2010 ***** red robe, good heart in it. The red berry aroma is starting to close and draw in on itself – it is wide, though, and herbal. There is a firm frontage to the palate, with really attractive, even lovely red fruit lying inside, but now sidling out of sight. The fruit at its centre is excellent. It ends freshly and with matter that closes it well, a good sign-off. The length is good. Plenty to play for here, but not for a while, ne touchez pas this wine for a good while, maybe even until 2014 or so. 2031-33 “It is just starting to close now, having been very open,” Daniel Brunier. June 2010 Previously Nov 2008 ***** (barrel, final assemblage) bright, dark red; has a full nose – ripe cherry, soaked red cherries, some beeswax and nuts – the aroma is all as one. There is a minor surge of red fruit, raspberry liqueur – it is gourmand, delivered with a willing sweetness and runs on freely until a gate of tannin marked “No Entry”. It therefore finishes on that pebbly, toffee note. The nose will be a beauty as it ages, while the palate fruit runs widely. A wine of more structure than most 2007s, fresh and balanced. To be bottled July 2009. 2029-32. “Because of its balance, I just prefer 2007 to 2005, while its freshness stands out. I would compare it to 1998 and 2005. Even 1991 – it is so fresh that it has aged unbelievably well,” Daniel Brunier. Nov 2008

2006

sound, full robe; mulberry, raspberry, red cherry aroma that is oily and persistent, shows spice, and has a good, open nature. There is welcoming fruit on the palate, with a gain in complexity; this is now in a very good phase, offering the local STGT virtues. Very beau – this drinks beautifully now – gives real enjoyment. “It is getting its Provençal nature, and 2 years ago was more simple,” Daniel Brunier. 2020-22 June 2010 Previously Nov 2007 **** (barrel) has a full red, raspberry robe; the nose shows some grilled, pistachio airs with a core of red fruit; there is also some smokiness ans even hay, cut grass. The palate is more expressive, with good bounce in it – it is open and filled with red berries, red plums. The tannins are evident, and draw the wine together at the finish: they provide some late firmness in the texture, and mean the wine should probably be left until around 2012, although the fruit may be OK to appreciate right after bottling. This is a fat style of vintage, an ample singer in the making, that will give plenty of pleasure. Especially around 2013-14 onwards will it chirp away merrily. To be bottled June/July 2008. 2024-26 Nov 2007

2005

dark, notably dark red robe, a lovely colour. Solid, impenetrable nose – a wall of black fruit, soaked black cherries, cocoa, especially dates. The palate is similar – this is really closed now, has droves of black fruit with a lining of firmly founded tannins. The length is good – it is a wine that runs solidly to the line, delivers a full, intense finish. Very deep. From 2014. 2030-34. “There is enormous difference between the 2005 and 2006 – in 15 years, around 2025, the 2005 will be right there, and the 2006 will be a little old man,” Daniel Brunier. June 2010 Previously March 2007 ****** (barrel) sustained red robe; bouquet is full, broad and has a good, solid heart of black jam fruit, a hint of mint with some heat, baked stones circling it. Savoury attack, round and tasty. Progresses well along the palate with this touch of sweetness all through. Some licorice at the end, where there is a clear, warm texture and a few herbal afternotes. Pleasingly fresh aftertaste. Poised wine with high potential. Accessible early due to its great balance. Esp from 2009, the palate is lovely, is at least 15°, but all as one. 2029-32 due for bottling July 2007 “2005 has never been a closed year, it’s been open like this all along.” Frédéric Brunier March 2007 Previously Nov 2006 ****(*) fair red with a matt tone; reticent bouquet with a hint of red fruits, is softly herbal with a little white pepper, has some sweet promise. Supple, benign start to palate, shows red fruits. Gains weight as it goes – has a chewy, dense end and plenty of muscle on the finish. Interesting, has character and is elegant alongside the power. Expect long life – persists well. From 2009. STGT wine here. 2020-23 Previously Oct 2006 ***** (barrel) clear red colour; reserved bouquet – smoky, cleanly struck, with a marked stones-garrigue aroma. Chunky nature to the palate – it reveals its power and density gradually. Wide, quite firm finale. There is good acidity within the wine, and a herbal aftertaste. A keeping wine, very much so. Esp 2010 on. 2025-28 Oct 2006

2004

just makes the 4 stars: matt red robe; the nose is a bit square, low-key, shows black fruits, pebbly leather airs, and after air and warmth on comes the old French favourite, their Zan licorice. It is heading for some mineral, damp leaf, also raspberry aromas, and reflects its vintage with those damp notes. The palate has a tight weave, good core richness, with kick at the end, a last minute offer from its Mourvèdre. There is sinew in its outer casing, red fruits within. Quite a punchy wine – its tannins mean it should be left until 2011. 2025-27 Jan 2008 Previously March 2007 ***(*) big, nearly heavy bouquet of ripe, stewed fruits, some plum and laurel. Round shape to the palate, a steady not a fast mover, there is ripe fruit with a bit of a paunch here. Rather weighty and changing to a second phase now, so it could regain some cut in a while. Scented red fruit on the finish, where there are tapenade and olive elements. Leave now until 2009-10 2023-25 March 2007 Previously Oct 2006, London **** red/black combination in the robe; bouquet is on the leather, drier elements, with some plateau garrigue and herbs present. A well-shaped wine, its texture starts out round and runs towards a more tannic, pebbly feel. Holds a good core, especially for the year. Length is good, and ends with a refined touch. Stone fruits apparent in the mid-palate. Esp 2009 on. 2020-23 Previously March 2005 **** a suggested rating of 4 stars from an assembled example: compact bouquet - fundamental, downhome aromas, ripe ones, pretty well defined. Beautiful fruit, is clear cut and merges into tannins that need 3 years or so. Pretty full, wide wine, with richness. Alcohol well buried within it. Maybe to 2020-22. Maybe **** March 2005

2003 ()

a bit of matt in the red robe, pretty sound depth. Marked herbal print on the nose, that has a sweet tone – fruit pastilles, red fruit jam. Round, scented jam flavour with depth. The aftertaste is also aromatic and sweet, has a sound cut, and is very good given the vintage context. Tannins come through late on; they are a bit pebbly, but have largely sorted themselves, and may be helped by today’s high pressure atmosphere. The texture is elegant most of the way, and there is some fig taste on the finish. 2021-23 March 2007 “We destemmed more than usual to help to avoid dry tannins,” F.Brunier Previously Feb 2006, Stockholm ***(*) mid depth red; brewed and broad bouquet, with a tingle of sweet red fruit, a generous affair, with stewed, baked stones and herbs, furniture wax features. Big, full palate, has a nutty aspect within its fruit of almonf and marzipan. Solid shape, but not in full harmony. Is slowly yielding and integrating. The final tannic couch is solid. Raisin elements late on, very vintage 2003. The texture is suave and oily. 2019-22 Previously Sept 2005 *** honest red, the Grenache middle depth. Brewed red/black berry jam bouquet, sustains with a hung game/meat persistence, some grace on the finish from a floral side. Nothing clear cut, this comes from the Rockers with their Motorbikes rather than the Mods with their Scooters. Baked red fruits on palate, with some volume. The palate has more early on rather than later, though the finish settles with a little red jam and heat pulling it through. Genuine composition, works on power rather than flesh. Has settled since last tasted, notably on the finish. Esp 2007/08 on. 2018-20 September 2005, London Previously March 2005 (pre-bottle) *** some wild black fruits in bouquet, has a leathery, stiff aspect, touch of funky in it. Attack shows black fruit, a little richness, then tannins come along, are fairly demanding. Tight black fruit flavour the main stamp here, prune in the aftertaste. Maybe 2008/09 on. 2016-18. I need to retaste. March 2005, due to be bottled summer 2005

2001 ()

red plum robe that is starting to evolve. The nose is subdued – black cherry aroma that has fresh top air – it is solid, a garrigue nature, herbs and brioche bread in it. The palate relatively offers more obvious fruit – the red fruit indicating Grenache at the helm, but followed by the arrival of secondary, non-Grenache varieties that add weight and width and also seal it up. Has a good, fresh balance, and is waiting to stride out. It will be another 2 years before it is really going. The fruit becomes more evident after 2 hours open, so decant this if drinking these days. 2025-28 “It is calm, a bit closed but very Vieux Télégraphe – it is profound,” Daniel Brunier. Nov 2008 Previously March 2007 ***** bright, pretty robe – some advance on the top rim. Scented, floral hints on the bouquet, which is at a pretty, serene stage, with ripe, but measured appeal. Pepped up by some garrigue herbs and a little meatiness. There is growing complexity on the palate, that carries plenty of variety, with a very good, cool and balanced appeal. Naturally fresh and stylish wine. Its red fruits are well defined, and the tannins still young and live. This is good – it holds southern richness, without any excess – “we like to pick at the start of maturity, not later,” Frédéric Brunier. There was a smaller yield this year. I find less relative influence from the Grenache, and more prominent roles played by the Syrah and Mourvèdre this year. The Grenache is less ripe than in 2003. A wine for friends and chat and fun and refined cooking. 2027-30 March 2007 Previously Sept 2005 ****(*) red with a ruby top line. Wholesome, broad, appealing bouquet - scented, sustained, good cut in the black fruit with a truffled underlay. Lots of variety to come. Round, harmonious start, raspberry, dark fruit declaration, supple finish, a good southern child. Mid-palate is elegant, then warmth gains. Evolving with great elan. The flavour laced with herbs, grass roots elements. Tannins are ripe, hold it well. Stylish wine. Good with birds - pheasant, grouse, partridge. 2022-24 September 2005, London Previously March 2005, Bédarrides ***(*) leathery, chocolate aroma, with compact black fruit, wee floral tone. Berried flavour also thyme, three-quarter weight wine, a bit closed. Extends quite well along the palate. Still restrained, needs leaving till 2007. Clear, black fruit/prune finale, with leathery, mineral feel. Was more flamboyant last time I tasted it. 2022-24 March 2005, after rainfall in Bédarrides

2000 ()

matting plum colour robe; feral, animal airs on the nose, but there is a rich underlay. As it ages, it is picking up coffee, prune aromas along with the young, red fruits notes. Stylish, rounded attack before a close-down on the palate, and it even empties. Revert in 2009. The finish has some tannin still evident, also toffee, chocolate, baked cake on the aftertaste, that render it mildly rich. This vintage is out of step with its neighbour vintages. “2000 was a ripe vintage, we had more crop than 2001 (35 hl/ha versus 28 hl/ha) and it was a warmer year than 2001, too,” Fréderic Brunier. 2021-23 March 2007 Previously Sept 2005 ***(*) still quite a full red colour. A little dumb on bouquet, hides its true possibilities. Core is broad and promises well, contains compact red fruit, with herb/laurel, pebbly stones also. Fundamental wine, with an earthy, local feel. Sustains well on the palate, some acidity to keep it going. Has the brewed vintage character. Its breadth is good. Hearty food best for this - casseroles, venison, reindeer. STGT wine. 2017-19 September 2005, London

1999 ()

still holds a full robe. High tone, acetate on the nose as the first hit, then black berries, beef daube, pine scents. The palate has an upright shape, is a little straight – could have more comfortable flesh and matter. The palate has a theme of acidity through its black fruit tinged with mint. A little late raisin on a varied, clean finale. “1999 showed an unusual Vieux Télégraphe animal side early on, and this has come and gone during its life. It is rare for our wines to show that animal nature,” Frédéric Brunier. 2020-22 March 2007

1998

the robe is fuller than the 2001 – it is a black plum with a wee top lightness. The bouquet is weighty and benefits from the air – it is soaked, with plum and a thorough, filling cold China tea air to it. The red fruit within is bright, and there is something of the Christmas cake in it. This is a serious wine on the palate – it is really full, a Big Operator that comes with a lot of scale, width, it is here, it is there – indeed it assaults the senses. Has a great texture, all en roundeur, and it is very long on the finale. Is not yet there for its complete harmony, even after 10 years: a big wine, the interest now is its character and very live nature. “It is just beginning to integrate and find some balance. There is more tannin and balance, more going on than with the 1990, “ Daniel Brunier. 2030-32 Nov 2008 Previously March 2007 ****** plum robe; great, broad appeal on a classy bouquet – a little game, beef stock, prune and chocolate-raisin, fruit and nut. Great, suave appeal on the palate – holds its flavour really well, flourishes round, elegant southern appeal. Is an STGT wine – is very faithful to its place. The length is striking, and the clarity good. There is a sprinkle of herbs on the aftertaste. Grand Vin – shows the richness that Châteauneuf-du-Pape possesses, which the rest of the South of France never achieves so thoroughly and comfortably. Around the 14.7°mark. “We harvested lots of grapes this year – 35 hl/ha. This was a bit blocked a year ago, and is now starting to come along,” Frédéric Brunier. 2028-31 March 2007

1997

mid-red. Warm, sappy, jam bouquet laced with a little violet. Good and pretty full on the palate – not as long as it could be, but there is sound content. The attack is good and fat, with lots of jam and velvet in the texture. Can get longer. Esp around 2004 on. To be bottled in 3 months, July 1999. 2011-14 April 1999

1996 ()

tiny advance in a not very deep colour – red, nothing more intense. The nose veers towards dark fruit jam, raspberry style. The palate works on easy pleasure, with the attack showing discreet flesh, then a drier second half. Not very structured. Hint of spice on the finish. Try around 2001-02, with some secondary qualities on show. 2009-11 “The perfect maturity for this will be around 2004-2006,” Daniel Brunier. April 1999

1995 ()

there is a ruby emphasis on the robe. Has a cedary aroma backed by plum fruit, spice and licorice, mixed herbes de Provence. The palate is overtly spiced, with some of the tension of the vintage still present. It is eminently fresh, has a spearmint sign-off, the length OK. The shape is upright, the wine has grip, is knuckled in style. Lamb will be a good companion. A secure mid-palate gras richness develops as it breathes. This is still playing a bit hard to get. 14°. 2027-29  Easter Day, Apr 2015 Previously Sept 2009 ***** nice, pretty red plum colour; the bouquet has a dusty top note at first, but the whole air is really secure and sealed – it is a wide bouquet offering a prairie panorama of fruit and possibilities. For now, it gradually reveals licorice, chocolate powder used in icing cakes, raisin and caramel, farmyard – it opens with air, but is not yet freely out and about. The palate runs “on the steel”, is not yet off the bridle. It is still a big wine, one with definite punch, really good potential. It went for a snooze about five years ago, and was rather grating, its tannins edgy, but it is now moving into impressive shape. The richness is deep-seated, comes with a fine grain, the finish is still reserved, but clear-cut, and summons a brioche bread, nutty side. It is rather upright, as a 1995 should be. The length is lovely – this keeps going very well. A handsome wine that can still improve. 14°. 2023-26 Sept 2009, Hertfordshire

1992 ()

Served in magnum: ruby tones in robe; coffee, menthol nose, with smoked bacon and herbs. Harmonious, very together wine, with good spring still in its step. Persists with fresh red fruits, its length is good. Low scale, but very pretty wine. 2013-15 “A small year, but it has held up very well,” Daniel Brunier. March 2007

1989 ()

still red at the core of the robe, garnet ruby above – the colour has held up well. Brewed, live bouquet, with cold tea tones and animal touches. A little softness comes from some herbs. Prune flavours, red fruits, with what I term rich, Railway Cake taste – raisins and soaking in brown sugars, maybe the odd dram of whisky mixed in its preparation. Some late herbs and licorice. Must be drunk with game – it is a southern wine with a touch of Porto, and a soaked fruit, touch of sweetness late effect, along with some chocolate. Still holds some of its early potent tannins. 2020-21. 70% Grenache in these years. “It was so dry – it was the driest year we had known. There was under 400mm (16 inches) of rain in the year, but the rainfalls were well spread. This was a wine that was very slow to come round – there were more stems included than these days,” Frédéric Brunier. March 2007 Previously April 1999 ***** pretty robe, with some turn at the top, and a good ruby/red core. The bouquet is still young, with ripe fruits such as damsons and mixed fruits. Is firm in tone, upright, which is no surprise given the dry year, and the air brings out a little alcohol. The palate is still young, too. Has a tannic edge at the start, but the matter runs deep, and mixes tannins and firm black fruit flavours. Length is good, tight. Still needs time. I would like the tannins to calm down – I reckon they can. A military rather than an oil and essence wine, with just some slight give in its nature now. Quite a lot of after heat. 2014-16 April 1999  Previously July 1991 **** good, dark colour – plum, cherry hues. This has a ripe, sensuous fruit aromas, is rather deep. This has a fleshy style, is more modern than some in its style. The attack is discreet, and it’s near the finish that the wine takes off, showing chewy tannins there, a vintage trait this year. 14°. Will need some time to absorb its tannins. 2008-11 July 1991

1988 ()

ruby overall in the robe with a few red hints. Nose starts with a little cough mixture, syrup with violet, floral appeal and a down home underpinning, maybe some Brett, too. Open palate – there is a nice fabric here, is a wine that runs with good clarity, is elegant. Bouquet garni, rose-floral impression on the second half, and there is also some mineral content, some energy. Delivers what it is – no hidden secrets, a sensual wine. Winding down a little in its life. 2017-18 March 2007 Previously Nov 2004 California **** hint of ruby in the red colour; has a good, varied bouquet – mint and herbs present as it has aged. The palate has some “dark” tones, and is still tight; has some chocolate in the flavour, and is going through a rather tough, mean phase now. Prune, quince and black fruits are present, before a tarry finish. Revert in 2006 on this showing. 2016-19 Nov 2004

1985 ()

attractive, evolving red with marked ruby present in the robe, which is clear. Was brought out of the Vieux Télégraphe cellars two hours ago for dinner. The nose presents a really attractive floral, peony and spice aura – it is captivating and open, is a joy. There is a lovely aromatic herbs presence, a strong garrigue showing. A touch of fungal influence and also farmyard are also here - “it is becoming Pinote,” Daniel Brunier, reflecting on how noble Châteauneuf can show Pinot Noir leanings as it ages. The palate red fruit is fine, but comes with a pinched note after the debut, is toning down on the palate, but still spreads with a winning breadth. Fine, pebbly tannins are present. There is an accurate little point of red fruit on the finish. This bottle is a little more tired than I might have expected if guided by the last bottle 30 months ago, but there you go. It is still a winner. 2020-21  Dec 2012 Previously June 2010 ***** mild, garnet robe, orange at the top, light ruby in the middle. Attractive aroma that gives immediate pleasure from its floral, cigar box mix; comes with a following trail of “high” red fruit from its age – this is harmonious, and very 1985 in style – offers a lovely feast of mature Châteauneuf aromas such as cinnamon, plum. Silken, Beau Vin on the palate; its texture is rounded, but there are still low-key tannins on the final stages, bringing extra depth. There is genuine harmony here, the old wine attributes of variety and mystery are delivered with a kid glove hand. The aftertaste resembles fennel seed, licorice, brewed coffee (maybe Kenya, is fine). Shows slightly old bones, but retains its balance and tuning. A feather in the cap of the excellent vintage, whose prime quality in both Northern and Southern Rhône was its balance. 2017-20 June 2010 Previously March 2007 ****(*) ruby robe; sweet tea, fungal aroma, with a good, still present strike of rounded, lissom black fruit that I remember from its youth. Rich, southern sweet appeal on the palate – notably round in shape and homogenous, remarkably so for its age. Finishes nice and clearly. The Sunny Vintage of all time – has a bit of Pinot here, the Pinoté effect. Very faithful to its year. Savoury and delicious wine, lovely to drink on its own. 2017-19 “It was open very quickly – everyone loved it – and its setback never came. It just kept going,” Frédéric Brunier March 2007

1983 No Rating

No Rating: fragile ruby colour; eau de vie, mirabelle aroma, soaked cherry griottes. Has been open 3 to 4 hours, but isn`t dried out. The palate comes with a bitter, aperitif drink dryness, bitters. But it isn`t gone yet. Taste of Railway Cake, Dundee Cake, soaked raisin, then it finishes drily. No Rating for this on today’s showing. March 2007 Previously Jan 1985 *** quite a bright red with depth and lustre in the robe. The nose shows cassis, blackcurrant fruit, licorice, is still quite closed and dark. The palate has a lighter style than has been anticipated after the nose; in come the crushed cassis fruits, an attractive presence with the emphasis on fruit and mid-term drinking. The crop was small this year due to coulure. “It isn’t the Grand Vintage,” Henri Brunier. “It was difficult to get the degree this year; rain came just before the harvest as well as on one or two days during it. The problem was that, although it wasn’t a rainy year, it rai9ned at the bad moments. It was very difficult to obtain colour extraction initially,” Daniel Brunier. 13.8°. The 1983 has already been bottled and is in its cartons, ready for despatch to England – the Bruniers are really getting on with it. This was a late bottling, and received 8 months in oak; most of the wine was raised in oak for six months, starting in March after the harvest, with bottling in November. After the malolactic fermentation it is filtered in order to have a stabilised wine before its ageing in wood. 1995-1997  Jan 1985

1982 ()

pale ruby; broad shape to the bouquet – some coffee and round aromas, with an earthy underlay, stale shoes, not an everyday do. Sweetly laid-out attack – has a slightly spirity taste. There is a floral charm in this – has mixed elements of sweetness and acidity, and finishes with a round, ageing appeal. There is some late clarity in it, and a mocha-caramel aftertaste. Interesting wine that is about to embark on its last lap. 2014-15 March 2007 Previously July 1995 ***(*) bright, dark ruby, attractive robe, still life in it, the ruby mostly at the top. The bouquet is warm, on prune fruit, but also an indication of coffee beans, advance. The warmth overrides a hint of mineral. With air, it toughens up, and moves almost to raw meat. The palate is very rounded, comes with lovely finesse, has really matured nicely, a very good example of a mature wine from a warm vintage, with that fleshy content. It has reached a gentle stage, but carries what I find is a "hot", rather burnt side that comes towards the finish. The initial cooked jam feel to the wine has led to that, I feel. 2002-05 July 1995 Previously Jan 1985 ***(*) quite a bright red robe, a British Post Office red. Like the 1983, this has a cooked fruits nose, some alcohol present. The palate holds jam-style, dense fruit, a closely packed black berry, cassis with a wee touch of bitterness. This is certainly one of the better 1982s, but its fruit is not as clear and fresh as one would like. 14.5°. 1997-1999 Jan 1985

1981 ()

ruby red robe, orange in it; the nose is funky, lightly sweet raspberry present. Air clarifies it, reveals cloves notably, white pepper. The palate is floral, tender, carries orange-citrus notes, still holds the vintage acidity, the flavour into orange marmalade.. It’s old, refined, interesting. 13.9°. It has another few years. Oct 2019 Previously June 2009 ***** this is a great Vieux Télégraphe. Red robe, ruby inflexion. There is a sweet air that expresses Grenache, has a beautiful width, real range in the aroma. It was opened for 1 hour, then decanted; there is a click of dry bounty on the end of the nose. Once decanted, it becomes more Pinoté - a supreme red fruits air – while there is the release of a tiny fungal air as well. This nose is fantastic – always growing and expanding, moving on to honey, raisin notes, always full. Its fruit aroma is a rather thrilling red berry or raspberry – this is a seductive nose. On the palate the wine gives a meaty, red fruits combination – it is wholesome and absolutely as one, all together. It ends on a crinkly, pebbly dash with a long licorice and varied spice aftertaste. Very good balance, lovely today – a wine of beautiful richness. 2019-21 June 2009 Previously March 2007 ***** ruby, but still clear and bright robe; there is a sweet curl of appeal on the nose – still fresh, bearing raspberry, cooked plums, cake, is a bit strict. The palate has reached a rich, mature stage, with tannins that are ripe, but still have good presence at the end – their print lies there. Delicate redcurrants, and some raisin, show up on the finish – certainly it is rare to have fresh red fruits on the end of such an old wine. 2019-21 “This was my second vinification. 1980 had a lot of mint and chocolate in its taste, and 1981 followed with a little of that almost diluted After Eight chocolate effect – I still find some of that in the wine,” Frédéric Brunier. March 2007 Previously Jan 1985 ***** medium depth red and black robe with shine in it. The nose is wide, large, pretty gamey – hung game. The palate is big, ample and still promising, with appealing garden fruits such as cherries and red berries in the background. It is long, runs on well, and its tannins give a hit on the finish, are noticeable still. Fine wine, very elegant, very good. 2003-05 Jan 1985 

1978

red plum robe, still right there. The top is ruby, the interior a deep red.  Smoky, leather, pine and bosky airs at first; Daniel Brunier selected it from the Vieux Télégraphe cellars two hours ago for dinner, and we feel it will benefit from decanting, so off we go. The bouquet now is enormously wide, with a deep, lingering black fruit presence. Quelle jeunesse – what youth – here. This is extraordinary, Grand Vin. At the end old Grenache on La Crau speaks its strong message, reveals its true drumbeat, what makes it tick. It is a complete meal in its own right, and after 2 hours the finish is crunchy. It provides freshness and stimulation. Daniel Brunier: “it is a vintage of Anthology – nothing was done; no destemming, only a light crush, fermented in a closed foudre (large barrel). So no intervention here, just the heart of the maker, made in innocence. We had the capacity for 300,000 bottles then, and in 1978 made 10,000 of them, the rest of the wine sold to Paul Jaboulet Aîné, Chapoutier and Barton & Guestier. My father Henri was a man of the vineyard rather than the cellar and kept back one large barrel for his own bottling of the 10,000 bottles. The dry demands of the tannins are the defect that make its quality. Without that, it would be dead. With that, it is analytically not correct.” I have drunk this several before, including at venues such as the restaurant Beaugravière in Mondragon when it was about 10 years old; for home, I bought two cases at the time. They have been a complex joy over the years. Grand Vin, indeed. 13.9° - did someone say that Châteauneuf-du-Pape needs to have 15° to be truly ripe, and therefore balanced, and therefore long-lived?? 2024-26  Dec 2012  Previously July 1991 ***** served blind at Les Domaines Wine Bar, state of the art, in Avignon by patron Christophe Tassan. Has a great, dark colour, lots of prune darkness. The robe is still profound, has a touch of ruby at the top, good lustre. The nose bears very dark, intense fruit, is attractive, has authority. It opens really agreeably as it breathes, provides the classic Châteauneuf complexity and offers airs of cedar and prune. The palate flavours are firm and round; this is a wine of good structure, a real framework for the future, is intense wine with excellent, dark fruits present. It continues a long way, is extremely persistent. After 90 minutes, the nose properly opens, and displays a splendid set of garrigue, local mixed scents and herbs. Tasted and drunk with great pleasure after the 1981 Rayas red – I am keeping good company here! 2009-2012  July 1991