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The Wines

70% Grenache (av 50 yrs), 10% Syrah (av 25 yrs), 10% Mourvèdre (1967), 10% Cinsault, Terret Noir, Counoise, Vaccarèse, age range 30-60 yrs, from La Font de Michelle, Pierre Planté, Croix de Bois, Révoires, all destemmed since 2004, 20 day vinification Syrah, 25-30 day vinification Grenache, Mourvèdre at 25°C (reduced from 30°C until late 2000s), pumping overs, cap punching first 4-5 days, assembled in January, raised 30% steel vat, 30% concrete vat, 30% large tronconic oak vat, 10% 2-8 year 550-litres casks (Syrah, Mourvèdre) 10-12 months, unfined, unfiltered, 60-90,000 b

2017 ()

(vat/casks) sombre dark plum colour; the nose isn’t a unit, is diffuse. There’s a note of degree, with a savoury angle, a hint of cooked blackcurrant in the background. The palate gives raw goods, cooked red stone fruits, garners a little richness towards the finish. This can get together in a no-nonsense way, isn’t going to charm, but carries some local truth, has a traditional style. From 2021. 2040-42 Oct 2018

2016

(vat/casks) shiny quite dark red colour. The nose is a ripe bundle of 2016 generous fruits, raspberry liqueur to the fore, notions of thyme, marjoram. The palate is tasty, rather opulent, carries fleshy content with good squeeze in the tannins. It rolls along well, and appeals via its supple texture. The aftertaste is savoury, well textured. It’s an en finesse style of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, liaison with Burgundy apparent.  14.5°. From late 2019. 2040-42 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(vat/casks) shiny, full red. The nose leads on nicely ripe Grenache plum fruit, backed by a low-key garrigue, mixed herbs presence. The palate is well juiced, gives supple content and rolling raspberry fruit, ending with neat tannins. Nice balance here: a wine of charm and pleasing texture, the shape curvy. From mid-2018. 2033-35 Sept 2016 GB £237 12/b ib Clarion Wines www.clarionwines.co.uk info@clarionwines.co.uk +44(0)208 747 2069.

2014 ()

(vat/casks) dark red. The bouquet sits on the back foot for now, has an air of oily, essence of fruit, with black berries suggested. The palate starts in raw fashion, a mix of slightly high octane drive and dark red berry fruit. This has inner strength – it is a gutsy 2014. The finish asserts the darkness captured from the crop, with a note of cellar exertion. Swish swash this goes, along and across the palate. From 2018. 2030-32 GB £85/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015 

2013

medium purple colour. This has a prune and red fruited nose with a dusting of vanilla oak. Oak shows again on the palate, adding an extra edge of sucrosity. This is clearly at the stage of taking on board its oak, so is edgy and unsettled, the fruit submerged by the oak. Provisional rating. 15°. From 2017. 2026-27 JL Oct 2014  

2012 ()

dark-tinted red; the nose is broad, lines up prune fruit, also spice, tobacco, black olive – it has vigour that comes from within. The palate takes over from the nose with a drive in its late stages, starts on cooked fig, oily, Indian tea notes. After the soaked fruit debut arrives grain and grit. This is a lusty bundle, has traditional Châteauneuf strength. Drink with game in autumn-winter settings. 15°. 80,000 b this year. From 2016. 2029-31  Nov 2013

2011 ()

shiny, medium red, legs down the glass. The bouquet works from the ground up: there is a note of damp forest, old leaves, that moves into a game inflected, oily red fruit liqueur aroma. The palate gives a kick of red berry fruit with a minted, menthol feature strong at the end. It has its own style, is slightly out of the loop of the mainstream, no bad thing. Tobacco-tar, mature elements take over on the finish. This has gras richness, can do OK. The style is ripe, it has spice seasoning. For now the finish is  a tiny bit dry. From mid-2014. 14.5°. 2027-29  Dec 2012

2010

bottled 10 days ago: very bright red. The nose is deep set, reflects plum fruit, sustained raspberry, a good and classic Châteauneuf roundness – the bouquet is inviting, and will be varied and true in 4 to 5 years, around 2015-16. The palate is suave, round and wavy in its fruit. Has good, supple, textured red fruits with after half way more density of tannin, and some oak-toffee on the finish. This bottling is a run of 6.500 bottles, the main part will be bottled in Jan 2012. 60% Gren, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault, Counoise, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse this year – “I wanted freshness and took some Syrah and Mourvèdre out of the Etienne Gonnet cuvée this year,” Guillaume Gonnet. Decant this. 2032-34. Another vat sample, for bottling in Jan 2012: ****(*) fine nose, very typical garrigue, red fruit. Has a floral palate, nice freedom of fruit – it declares well, is openly fruited at the end, has nice length. The fruit is breezy, racy, very expressive. From mid-2013. 2031-33 Nov 2011

2009

some darkness in the red robe. Quite persistent fruit such as blackberry and mulberry on the nose, along with a local touch of dusty plains. Has a gourmand attack, off we go, a wine with lots of flavour – those big berries such as loganberry, mulberry. It persists on that fruit well. A generous Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is STGT wine. Has the volume of 2009 on the attack; I would buy this. 14.5°. 2029-32 Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ***(*) (casks) full red; sappy, prune, soaked fruits nose, herbal smoke and Brazilian cafezinho (small black coffee), chicken stock, has a very Grenache air. The palate is rich, its ripeness mature and sustained. It heads into a chocolate, minted phase, a pick-up of tar and crisp tannin. It is wide at the end, with fair clarity there, has a scented aftertaste. Ripe and purposeful, powerful wine with “dark” flavours, also well-textured. From mid-2012. 2028-30 Oct 2010

2008 ()

quite a full plum red colour. Scented, violet air combines with prune fruit and a steady drumbeat of herbs. The palate starts cautiously, is steady, but runs along well, without any real highlights. It drinks easily, in rounded fashion, the fruit a pastille style. Centre of the pack wine that is agreeable enough. Drink with red mullet, black olive tapenade, spaghetti – it is a bit like a red Crozes-Hermitage. 14.5°. 2019-21  Oct 2010 Previously Dec 2009 *(*) average depth red, looks glutinous. Aromatic, sweet raspberry aroma - liqueur in the glass. A sappy, supple wine with late harvested crop trying to sweeten it, ends up making it plodding. I suspect a fashion victim chasing the sweetness here – the result is ungainly. Lacks focus for now, and the texture late on is sticky. Review after bottling best. From mid-2011. 2019-20 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 Grenache from clay, stony soils, steel vat, malo completed: mid+ red; direct, peppery nose with a little sweet warmth in it. Fresh, peppery palate, a small ball of gras richness – this is flattering, can please, ends freshly. Is 15.2° - the final wine will be around 14.5°. Syrah, steel vat, malo completed: just about mid+red, not very full for Syrah. Nutty, airy nose; The fruit is direct, grips, is live, runs along clear lines. Is 13.95°. “There was a lot of malic acid this year,” Guillaume Gonnet. Late Nov 2008

2007

this won a Gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2010, and is very good value: steady red; brewed, cooked up red fruit aroma with smoky tannins, some geranium, chocolate – is varied and attractive, fresh and “succulent”. The palate is similar to the nose – rocks on well, a good mix of sweetness and freshness, pure fruit. Has a robust, middle to late area, delivers authentic, muscular Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The length is sound, delivers heat and pebbly moments on the finish, where it moves both forwards and sideways. 2025-28 April 2010 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) (vat/casks, 90% of the final blend) dark red; sunny, openly fruited, juicy aroma with abundant Grenache red fruit present, herb and violet traces – this is attractive. The palate slides along well, is well fruited, has late grip. Its tannins are clear and ripe, just need leaving until mid-2010, say. The length is correct, bonny. 2023-26 Nov 2008

2006

rather thick plum red robe that is evolving. This has a big, instant bouquet – tobacco, cedar prominent, a depth of prune fruit, a real inlay of smoke: this is wide, deep, has real southern, full qualities. It is really substantial, even brooding – it is very expressive, truly local. Likewise, the palate is thick, very spiced and smoky, a treasure chest of pepper and cinnamon. It is rich, fully coated wine, bears a true southern abundance. It is built around ripeness and density, and thus requires drinking with rich foods. 14.5°. 2024-27  Dec 2013, East Sussex Previously Oct 2010 ***(*) steady red, just a little lightening at the top of the robe. The bouquet is just moving in transition, runs on baked fruits, is potentially stylish, but not very open now; there is a low-key grace in its garrigue herbs, fennel airs. The palate gives stone fruit, with agreeable scented edging around it; fine tannins are revealed as it lengthens. I find it is in close-down mode now, so try again from mid-2013 onwards. The set of tannins on the finish are fine, still quite vigorous, and that helps the wine’s energy. 14°. 2023-25  Oct 2010  Previously Nov 2008 *** solid red robe; expressive nose – raspberries, olives with some spice mystery below that flourish. There are imposing red fruits on the palate – a ripe start, a cocktail of flavour. The Syrah and Mourvèdre take over after half way, and give it length. There is licorice, also spice on the finish. Provides real bonny drinking, and has very attractive fruit. 2023-25 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 *** (barrels) very prominent, wholesome nose that is sweet-toned and has a fundamental nature: out come raspberry liqueur, a few flowers and also some anchovy – a saline side. The aroma persists fully. The palate has plenty of guts and savoury appeal. Its rich heart is surrounded by aromatic red fruit, and it is very gourmand until some tightening in a drier end. A plump, sustained wine with nice breadth towards the finish that is herbal and gummy. From 2009. 2023-26. To be bottled end Feb 2008. Nov 2007

2005

red robe of some depth; low-key richness in the aroma – plum fruit with the soft scent of ripe raspberry and a wee game hint. The palate is rather in its raw material state – is disjointed now, but there is richness within. Has plenty of raspberry with a bone in it - a nutty side from its tannins that stick out a bit – the vintage's doughty character present. From mid-2009. “It closed right down once we bottled it in April 2007. If you decant this a lot – double decant, for instance – you can access this,” Guillaume Gonnet. 2026-28 Nov 2007 Previously March 2007 ***(*) (pre-bottle) some gaminess within a ripely fruited nose, has a sprinkling of plum/prune aromas. Ripe fruit with a crisp side on the palate, holds a good core and its tannins are active, but ripe, on the finish. Good, reliable wine, with a floral area on the finale. Length, balance good – I do like these tannins. Approachable, not an excess scale of wine. 2024-26 March 2007 Previously Nov 2006 **(*) quite a sheer red colour; angular, pointed nose, upright in shape, isn’t convincing, has acrid tones with some red fruits. Red fruit with pepper but lacks secure richness, ends tamely. Some length. Low key phase now, I suspect. Revert after the winter. 2021-23

2004 ()

sound depth in the red; varied bouquet – some black fruit, spiced black jam with leather, pebbly notes – more to come with time. Easy, open attack – black fruit with a licorice/tar thrust in it. Fair length. Tannins just evident at the end. Quite stylish. Esp 2008 on. 2021-23 Oct 2006

2003 ()

warm, rounded bouquet, en finesse, with some light spice present. Tight-knit palate: the fruit is compressed and there is a touch of tannin well absorbed within it. Good length, with obvious help there from the Mourvèdre. 2008 on. 2017-19 April 2005, New York Previously March 2005, London *** middle-plus red colour. Red fruits, floral and rose tea air to the aromas, are brewed, with a light pepper edge, also. Clean attack, grows through the palate, shows red fruit, some spice and white pepper. Good juiciness on finish, tannins apparent there. Correct wine. Esp 2008 on. 2021-22 March 2005

2001

mild red, still thorough, some top advance. There are packed, mineral notes on the nose – there are reserved black fruit airs, the fruit still young, but a hint of game here. The palate has a more advanced feel – black fruit and prune flavour is mixed with tar and noticeable tannins that run up and down through it. This needs to break free, so decant it if drinking it now, or wait until late 2009. Its length is solid, the finish fresh. “It was very structured, with a lot of fruit, but has been in a shut-down phase since early to mid 2007,” Guillaume Gonnet. 2023-25 Nov 2008

2000

a little turn on the robe with glycerol evident down the glass. Has a soft bouquet – the black fruit surrounded by some soft pepper and hints of damp woods, sous-bois. Has a lissom, maturing palate marked by spiced red fruits. No great profundity – comes in a live, easy drinking manner with plenty of spice to pep it. At a fresh, natural stage but is a bit limited in its reach and depth. “It was a very feminine year here,” M.Gonnet 2019-21 Nov 2007

1999 ()

full red, a little advance; clear, sympa rounded black fruits aroma with a touch of evolution that implies an earthy and meat stock air. There are still light, younger moments, though, so it`s doing well. Red cherry, soaked cherries are here, with clear-toned fruit as well, the clarity something I associate with 1999. The middle is solid – this is a wine that needs decanting for now (already open six hours). Really good example of Châteauneuf, without pretension and special cuvée nonsenses. “It was animal, closed a year ago,” Guillaume Gonnet. 2022-24. Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2002 ***(*) game airs, but the bouquet overall is fresh, pebbly, too. The attack is fruited, vibrant, cooked fruits are laced with herbs. Honest wine, will please overt fruit lovers, eg the CHR trade. 2019-21 Nov 2002, Paris

1998

1st bottle is rather foxy, farmyard. 2nd bottle: red robe, light top; some game, low key cocoa, mocha along with supple red fruits in the bouquet – it is good and harmonious, has herbal touches. There is an intense, really good concentration of black fruit on the palate that has life and animo in it – it is still rather reserved, not explosive. There are game tones on the palate, which is still virile, its tannins still upright. From late 2009. 2022-24 Nov 2008 Previously Feb 2000 ***(*) bottled 1 month ago: quite dark robe; dark, black fruits aroma with a light truffle influence. The palate is now calm – this implies a powerful elegance, is rather stylish. It is not a powerhouse in the middle palate. I rather like its understated tannins, that are certainly present. Not the ideal moment to taste this, obviously. 2020-22 Feb 2000

1997 ()

medium depth red; light bouquet – touch of jam. I would leave until 2002-03 for more variety and more game, secondary aromas. The palate lacks a little flesh – has quite good grip, fair length. Some dark fruits, a little tannin to tighten it at the end. Return in 2002. 2014-16 Feb 2000

1995 ()

pale strawberry colour. There is a jam of red fruit and rose hip mix on the nose, which is soft and nicely broad, very open and attractive. The palate starts on a sweet, fruit pastille flavour that is accompanied by spice and some tannin that gives it some kick on the finish. It is seemingly a light wine (you wouldn’t guess it was 14°); its fruit is mature but still direct. Elegant, with they year’s drought pushing its limits. It develops width and variety with air. 2020-22  March 2006