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The Wines

40-45% Clairette (1946-1987), 30% Grenache blanc (1981-1982), 15-20% Roussanne (1940s, late 1980s), 10-15% Bourboulenc (late 1980s), sprinkle of Picpoul, all on La Crau, fermented, raised 33% 30 hl barrels (5 yr rotation), 33% new-10 year 550-litre, 33% new-5 year 228-litre casks 8-9 months (until 2006-07 was 50-60% oak, 40-50% vat 8-11 months), lees stirring until January, bottled Sept, malo often half completed, 15-20,000 b

2019 ()

bright, fine yellow robe; the bouquet is lying in wait, not yet delivering its bounty, is innately rich and nicely oily, speaks of the garrigue, gorse flowers, lemon notes, infused herbal tea such as camomile. The palate bears accomplished richness, has a savoury fullness, and rolls along with good sureness and consistency. It’s an STGT Châteauneuf blanc, has the depth of its place, with local nuances within – its Clairette-Grenache blanc foundation the two pillars of its authenticity. The richness lasts, with a peach-floral, fennel note on the second half. Its balance will allow a fruitful longevity. There is some creamy oak present. If you drink it now, you will only be lightly tapping at its door, so wait! 13.5°. From 2024. 2039-41 Nov 2020

2018 ()

clear yellow robe; the nose is reserved, has oiliness of its place, a good foundation, with gorse, juniper notes, cooked lemon. It has scope, breadth. The palate is discreetly muscular, with a solid second half and close. It is in the line of good, table-friendly VT blancs of recent years. The aftertaste is on honey, apricot. This comes in a good traditional style with clean, clear features. It’s STGT wine, lots of garrigue in it. From 2023. 2036-38 Oct 2019

2017

yellow robe; the nose is spicy, shows grilling, camomile tea, has spark, dried stones in the air. The palate gives dried fruits, pineapple, comes with good mid-palate heart, extends on well-textured glycerol, offers bursts of aniseed and quince flavours as it goes. It still has to open up its finish, extends nice and straight. Serve this in a large glass, and wait until late 2019 for it to be more expressive. It can vary and develop well. The length and the grip are both good, as is its weight. Decant it. 13.5°. Bottled late July 2018. 2037-39 Oct 2018

2016

its yellow robe shines with health, shows legs. The nose reveals aniseed de Marseille, greengage plum, tilleul (linden), pear, mandarin, brioche baked bread, is elegant and convincing, comes with an oily depth. There is a lot here, and there are hidden pockets to develop over time. The attack is very good, gets right away into its rich stride, shows impressive length. It has fine grip and very measured generosity, is a winner, and more complex than the Roquète 2016 blanc. It ends on mineral, infused tea with quince jam/paste notes that indicate freshness. This is nourishing, truly local wine, a very good white Rhône if you want The Real Thing. It is complex, en finesse. 13.5°. Bottled end July 2017. 2036-38 Oct 2017

2015 ()

there is glow in its yellow robe. Has a copious, broad and southern ripeness, real warm lands depth on the nose. Flan-butter, some orange peel, white raisin feature. The palate starts out dumb, bears gras and fat in good measure, a little dried fruits surge towards the finish. It offers wavy rolls of aniseed, tilleul (linden), with Mirabelle plum – all sudiste or southern influences. It builds a varied picture. There are light lemon notes on the aftertaste. It has velvet, is round, then gives aniseed and salt; it’s long and fresh, has very good profile and structure, is rich and unctuous. It’s genuine Mediterranean wine, which is long, really persistent. “It’s my best white Télégraphe that I have known. We aren’t releasing it until January 2017 so it can amplify. Drink it with gazpacho, tomato and basil, scallops, asparagus, Bouillabaisse, garlic dishes,” Daniel Brunier. Decant it. 14.5°. Malo 50% completed. Bottled late July 2016. From 2018. 2036-39 Sept 2016 GB Justerini & Brooks £430 12 b i/b www.justerinis.com/rhone2015

2014 ()

quite a sturdy yellow robe. The bouquet is full, replete – there is a bundle of prompts including dried fruits, ginger, honey, white tobacco, flowers such as acacia, aniseed. It is a complex nose. The palate bears a bonny white fruited gras, and prolongs well. This will be great to drink with sauced dishes, will be a real good companion since it is a good, traditional white Rhône – pieds and paquets (pigs trotters with morille wild mushroom dishes, southern dishes. This gets me going, works on several levels of the mind and the palate and la table. It will go well over at least twenty years. STGT wine with good grip on the finish. Decant it. Bottled July 2015. 13.5°. 2033-37  Oct 2015

2013

yellow robe with an underlying rich aspect. This has a charming, nicely full bouquet: there are sirs of citrus and mandarin, cooked lemon, vanilla, quince fruit, lightly roasted hazelnuts – it is varied, and combines steady depth with freshness. The palate starts freshly, and picks up well from the nose. There is an elegant richness at its heart, with a sturdy, consistent length, and a salted rign-off, dried fruits there. This has very good style and breeze; there is a lovely dentelle, lifted quality in with the suave gras richness, a winning combination. It has delightful acidity, really keeps up well. Has great style, will live well. 13.5°. 2031-33 GB £175/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Feb 2015 Previously Oct 2014 **** pale yellow, green tints. There is a touch of vanilla oak on the nose but a good stone fruit aroma behind. The palate is round, full and harmonious. Oak present but integrated. Peach and mineral notes show in the flavour. The oak needs a bit of time to fully integrate. This has ageing potential. From 2015. 2024-27 JL Oct 2014

2012 ()

pale yellow, lemon colour. Good promise in a refined bouquet that bears an intricate thread of fruit and acidity, is a bit dumb. The attack is a little burnt, gives a bitter sensation that carries through to the end .  . has oak char in it. Recently bottled, I reckon (tasted blind). Quince and lime feature with hazelnut on the finish. Not yet ensemble, and the palate doesn’t really lengthen yet. It is long, so that is encouraging. From mid-2014. 14°. 2023-25  Oct 2013  Previously Dec 2012 ****(*) Roussanne (228-litre cask, sugars finished, malo not done, 15% of the wine) ***(*) pale yellow. Fine oaking aroma, with white plum fruit, cooked banana airs. The palate is buttery, floral, with a tasty all the way flavour.  Has fine glycerol content, and a nicely clear finale, salty notes à la Roussanne there. Clairette & Grenache blanc (550-litre cask, sugars finished, malo not done, 75% of the wine) **** pale robe, legs. Fragrant pear aroma, that shows fat, is spiced. There is a bonny foundation here for the final wine, a real central axis. The gras is secure, and the length good, steady. The wine could be a little more dense than the 2011. Has a snap of fennel on the finish. 2030-32  Dec 2012

2011 ()

pale yellow. This has a toast, lime, spiced air, stem ginger, pepper and lemon, beeswax present – a good variety. The palate has a graceful gras richness, cooked pear, also peach flavours in mid-palate. Towards the finish it is marked by light honey and vanilla, with the finale a firm, slightly tannic affair, its feet on the ground. This is nicely profound, and likely to live well. Decant this. From spring 2014. 13.5°. 2027-30  Dec 2012

2010

mild yellow robe. This has a complex, varied bouquet that comes with pockets of mystery. There are notable airs of beeswax, toast and cooked pear. There is plenty here to stimulate. Hazelnut and dried apricot lead the flavour, with lift along the palate, a good line of freshness. The flavour is deep, and a red wine like finale comes along – firm, sustained, rather solid. A very good wine for food, capable of evolution and entertainment to both palate and mind. From 2017-18 fireworks will start here. 13.5°.. 2028-31  Sept 2012  Previously Nov 2011 ****(*) bright pale yellow robe; saline air here, hazelnut and spice notes – the bouquet isn`t yet rounded and really open. The palate is guarded, has a stylish richness on its debut; the flavour reflects peach, white jam, comes with a delicate touch. Is 13.8°, which is fine. Good balance – this ends cleanly, clearly. Good, loose juice on the finale, gras there too. “It is rich but not softly flat,” Frédéric Brunier. Very good. Decant early on. 2023-25 Nov 2011

2009

attractive robe that is lustrous, a nice, full yellow, has some green glints. This has a big, STGT bouquet, orange blossom-dry orange skin, with iodine, white fruits, super expression, grilled bread at first, citrus nudges, infused herbal tea. It's very persistent, a giant classic. It is immediately engaging - you sit up and pay attention. The palate has a sturdy start, a wall of flavour, white fruits closely woven with a second half that travels with excellent freshness and late grip, a formal finish. This is a supreme example of long-lived Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc, with the heart of a sun vintage, but its coat based on extreme length and freshness. You could be sitting beside the Port of Cassis having a bouillabaisse. There is nuttiness and grip, a slight petrol effect. This is brilliant, super dooper wine, and its balance given the hot vintage is ace. Drunk with Louis Barruol of Château de Saint Cosme at Gigondas: "it is as if it is two years' old, is Meursault-esque," L.B. 13.5 . 2031-33 Aug 2017 Previously June 2010 **** pale yellow; broad, pear, smoky aroma, oak still present, honeycomb, brioche bread and greengage – a lot of variety and intrigue in this bouquet. Fine fruit with good ample body around it, has reserves. Kicks off on a moving run, gains fullness. I find the style now lighter than previously. Interesting wine, especially from mid-2011. 13.5°. 15,000 b this year June 2010

2008

pale, flinty colour – pale for a V.T. blanc. Hazelnut, apricot, dried fruits aroma which is prominent, has a certain rigour. White fruits, fennel, aniseed flavours with graceful clarity. This is less weighty than usual here – it is an airborne wine. Ends on some sweetness, a white jam effect. It can deliver more if you wait. From 2014-15 for more variety and complexity. 13.5°. The malo was completed this year. 2024-28 18,000 b this year June 2010

2007 ()

steady, modest yellow, legs down the glass. Honeycomb and apricot aroma with a trace of vanilla – the nose is rich at its centre, also peppery. The palate starts off with an apricot, dried fruits taste; this has good, beefy shoulders but an underlying finesse. The length is sympa, the finish fresh. There is good linkage between fruit and power – this is very beau. The flavours are white fruits such as peach, a jam tone to them. 13.8°. 2019-21 Nov 2008

2006 ()

this year Clairette/Bourboulenc in vat, Grenache blanc casks, Roussanne barrel: quite a pale yellow, but lots of legs run down the glass. There is a little apricot on the nose, with a combo of hazelnut and oak, with some butter in behind. The palate has rich, not overdone start, with white stone fruits such as peach present. This needs time: has a late honey, hazelnut tingle, the almond of the Calissons d’Aix sweets. There is plenty of matter – this can live well and become interesting. “I find light aniseed on the nose, and a mix of honey and grilled almonds on the palate,” Frédéric Brunier. To 2022-24 Nov 2007

2005 ()

some yellow in the robe; almond aroma with an oak hint, buttery flecks also. Chewy, dense start to palate with sinew and bone tightening it late on, a good mineral clarity. Live and full appeal here. I like its late definition. 2021-24 March 2007 Previously Nov 2006, London *** nose has floral notes, infused with white fruits such as apricot, and a little pear. The palate is at an interesting stage of development – is a little locked away, with bone in it and good, decisive roundness at the end. The length is good, has rather a red wine structure. Esp 2008 on. 2017-20 Nov 2006

2004 ()

honeycomb, beguiling bouquet, mixes in aniseed and can spread and vary. Wholesome attack, combines fullness and elegance. Broad and true to the finish, some attractive heat there. Great to drink on the up, early, till about autumn 2006. Then return around 2008. Flattens a bit at the end, the effect of the ripe fruit. Well constructed, has a good frame, with some tannic edging that gives a mild chewiness. Ideal with lobster and full-flavoured haute cuisine, also great with black truffles. 2016-19 September 2005, London Previously March 2005 *** mild, nicely refined nose with sound content of white fruits, impression of roundness. Classic red wine sequence on palate - discreet fruit start, greater richness and a touch of oak in mid-palate, then an elegant finale. Fresh length. Promising. Esp 2006-08 on. 2019-21 March 2005

2003

apricot, dried fruits, fennel, full aroma, some potency. Rich, moelleux feel on palate, white fruits, flan. One trick show at this stage, needs time to emerge and vary. Chewy, almost tannic finish, likeable local feel. Esp 2007-08 on. 2018-20 March 2005

2002 ()

light honey, hazelnut aroma, is understated. Dried fruits palate, with a mineral, tangy, iodine ending. Esp 2007 on. 2015-17

2001

quite a charged, but currently dumb bouquet, but has potential – likely to show honey and mixed dried fruit aromas later on. Very well-moulded fruits on the palate, runs well with good texture and length. Quite potent. Esp from 2007 now that it is quietening down. Is fresher than 1990, but moves along those big lines. 2017-20 July 2003

1999 ()

(pre-bottle) restrained, but quite deep nose – lime, flowers, some richness. Chewy, quite long on the palate – shows off the south in a good, wholesome way. Like a lot of 1999 whites, it is rich straight away on the palate – it gets up and goes. Quite a big wine this year. 2012-14 40% oak, 60% vat, 20% of the oak new, rest 1-4 years, to be bottled May 2000. March 2000

1998 ()

light yellow; springy bouquet – greengage, honey, some ripeness. Decent structure on the palate – is a little upright now. Slightly underripe fruit such as peaches on the palate, finishes cleanly, with some vanilla. Quite rich overall. Can show well in early middle age, around 2003-04 – will broaden as it goes. 2009-12 March 2000

1993

first of all, note that this was a vintage of severe rain and flooding at harvest time in the Northern Rhône, and bad rain in the South. Degree only 13.5°on the label – the “only” refers to compared with these days, the 13.5° refers to a good result given the conditions – indicating that southern Rhône whites frequently perform well in “off” vintages. Note: mild yellow robe with some maturity, but young at 17 years. Hazelnut front aroma, damp wool also, the classic aged white Rhône – but the bouquet, like the robe, is still young, and trails a salty late air. Has a near Marsanne bitter tang. The palate is fine, a great example of a more acid year that evolves beautifully over time. It has a persistent, well-shaped flavour of dried fruits that tickles the palate. The texture is pliant and gentle. It is not like a Southern white – it is more refined and elegant than that. You can detect the vintage acidity, the relative struggle with the crop, via its firm, touch bitter nature – and it is that which prevails over its Southern instincts and origins. Has a beautifully fresh aftertaste. A lovely companion for the best fish dishes. 2020-24 May 2010 NOTE 1993 was the year when the Bruniers planted more white vines on untilled land that was stronger in limestone and sand than their previous sites, planted when the white was a sideshow. This was made from 40% Clairette, some of it planted in the 1930s, supported by 30% Grenache blanc, and 15% each Roussanne (fermented in 3-4 year oak) and Bourboulenc. They had also raised the temperature of fermentation to around 20°C, up from 16-18°C that had been the “get fresh” fashion of the late 1980s. In other words, they were starting to take white wine more seriously, and to allow it to express its local origins, rather than feel they had an out of fashion, oxidative product put in the shade by the zippy Sauvignon wines of the New World.

1992

yellow, gentle gold elements in the robe. Honey-orange appeal on the nose, with some tang – white fruits, quince and also a Riesling effect and even damp wool that old white Rhônes can show. The fruit is peachy, with a little orange marmalade. Good flow, and then some exotic fruit late on. The texture is rich, the wine broad and very safe and sound. Honey on the aftertaste. Has something of a red wine structure with its thorough finish. The mineral tone to the nose makes the richness on the palate a surprise. 2018-20 March 2007

1990

quite a firm yellow. Very good depth and quality on the nose which is fresh enough, but has a good surround of rounded white fruits present. The palate is well-weighted – this is sound, solid wine with a good enough acidity to help it along. Its balance and structure are successful. It is delicious as a shorter-term wine. 14°. 1998-2000  July 1991

1984 ()

mid-depth yellow robe, hints of lightening. The nose has an air of apples, also peaches, is openly fruited. The palate is very big on the start, really mouthfilling, but varies fresh notes as well. Enormous body and after flavours here, an excellent linger on the finish. Very good. “This is made from Grenache blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc, but this year we used more Clairette than usual since it resists coulure better than the Grenache blanc. It will have Roussanne in it from next year,” Henri Brunier. 1996-99  Jan 1985