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The Wines

65-70% Grenache (1900s, large tronconic oak vat raised), 15-20% Syrah (1982, 1-2 year 600-litre oak cask raised), 15% Mourvèdre (1967, 2 year 600-litre oak cask raised), from La Crau, Pierre Planté, Croix de Bois, all destemmed, 20 day vinification Syrah, 25 day vinification Grenache, Mourvèdre at max 30-31°C, pumping overs, cap punching first 4-5 days, aged vat/oak casks 12-18 months (since early 2010s, no 228-litre oak casks or concrete vat raising), unfined, unfiltered, first wine 1988 (the joint first special cuvée at Châteauneuf-du-Pape), 5-19,000 b


(vat/casks) dark robe. Has an archetypal bouquet for Etienne Gonnet – cooked plums, spice, sweet herbs, marjoram, rosemary. Its heartbeat is the Grenache. The palate runs with good, spiced matter, finishes with gusto and delivers a garrigue-inspired glass of wine. There are notes of menthol, good freshness. It’s an STGT wine of true authenticity and high interest. 14.5°. 17,000 b. From 2021. 2035-38 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(vat/casks) shiny red robe. The nose gives an aroma of soaked raspberries, quit a prominent sweetness, rendering the bouquet slightly weighty. The palate starts cautiously, is tucked in on itself. There is a fissure of red berry fruit, with some rocky texture and grainy tannins towards the close. This hasn’t yet got together, but there is intensity in its red fruit that will keep it in play. There’s some inner heat as it finishes. From 2020. 2029-30 Sept 2016


(vat/casks) rather full red; raspberry, soaked fruits aroma, plus a little garrigue influence, incense – good variety on the nose. The palate has a plum-fruited centre, is surrounded by minty, mineral-bosky tannins that bring a sharper edge. The fruit runs with some force. The late tannins are smoky, chiselled, the aftertaste dentelle or toothsome, clear.  From 2016. Certainly a gainer over time, has the slow burn structure of 2012. 70% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv. 2027-29  Nov 2013


full, bright red; wholesome nose, a mix of wavy red fruit that has a chunky couch under. The palate is very full – there is really good content here. Thorough, well-balanced wine. It bears fine late tannin, has a nice pebbly touch. The mid-palate is juicy, inviting, delicious, explosive. There is a hint of power and firmness on the aftertaste, glow there. Really good length. From 2014, say. “It was showing a bit of oak but that is passing; I like its balance,” Guillaume Gonnet. 2029-31 Nov 2011


(vat/casks) full red; scaled-up, wide nose – there is a lot here, rather a wall of solid red jelly fruit, a powerful edifice. The palate is also ample and latently powerful – there is lots of generous fruit, but this is not a wine to drink freely – its power means you should sip this. Its length is marvellous – it stretches out a very long way, has abundance all through, and its very successful finish bodes well. The Grenache here is ripe, and glows with heat on the aftertaste. From 2014. 2025-27 Oct 2010


(vat/casks) largely full red, slight black tints. Suave, curved aroma – blackberry with juice in it, a squeezy air, and a touch of oak crossing the glass. The palate starts with a dark flavour, incited by its oaking, and ends on firm notes. The flavours combine prune, black fruits. There is intrinsic richness in this. From 2011. 2024-26 Nov 2008


beautiful Châteauneuf Grenache robe – a pure ruby red, classic. The bouquet is out and firing well, is really expressive, offers the typical red, plum fruit, with licorice, spice - another classic Châteauneuf feature is this bouquet as it matures. The palate has appealing clarity, a gentle show of red fruit with the tannins integrating, but still with a touch of darkness in them. Attractive freshness and length. Beauty lies in my glass – this is at a great moment, STGT. 2023-25 Feb 2012 Previously Oct 2010 **** red robe, dark tints here and there, some evolution on the robe. The nose is evolving into damp woods, leafy notes; it shows a ripe richness combined with tea, mineral influences – it is nicely varied. The palate gives a date, liquid honey flavour, has a typical 2006 nature thanks to its freshness and gentle qualities. It is really nice now, is gracious, and can run on. I find it is evolving quite fast, but that may slow down. 15°. 2018-20  Oct 2010  Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) fair depth in the red; has a blackberry jelly aroma that is locked up for now, compact, and not yet showing freely. There is plenty here, without it being a designer Big Wine. The palate has a measured step – it is fine boned, has a nice line of energy, and mid-weight tannin is woven into it. The nose is in a more promising state than the palate – the latter lengthens well, but is not showing its true gras as yet. This is a three-quarter depth year. From 2011. 2023-25 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***** (casks) dark cherry; the nose has a broad, sweet appeal with a rich core holding raspberry and well ingrained pepper: is a shade deeper than the Tradition. The palate fruit is plum, with a nice fresh touch – it is rich rather than sweet, and its tannins are ripe and already en rondeur, leaving a near toffee finale. Some Mourvèdre influence emerges with a peppery presence. Very good flow in its red fruits. Has a classy texture and a lot of finesse. Balance is pretty good. Will be very good over its first 15 years. 2023-25 Nov 2007

2005 ()

bright robe with a little see-through top rim; there is a hint of raisin and red stone fruit in a dense bouquet that is tightly packed, more so than the Tradition 2005. The palate starts off low-key and reserved, although it is pretty thorough. Gains a little momentum as it goes, but is in a quiet phase. Has a good, sealed flavour with no real chinks in it, and also has more finesse than many Prestige wines of 2005. Ends on a rounded mix of pepper and gummy red fruit, with its tannins very well inset. From 2010. 2025-28 Nov 2007 Previously March 2007 ****(*) (pre-bottle) firmly set bouquet, plums and some game/meatiness, with a little herbal presence. Live, berry fruit with a little jam in the texture, shows the influence of extra ripe cropping, grapes advanced on the vine. Full, with some power evident towards the finish. Good length. Stylish wine. Over 15°. Esp 2010-11 on. 2025-27 March 2007 Previously Nov 2006 **** quite dark, sleek sheen to the robe; baked, red fruits nose with cut, there is raisin, and emerges a little heavy. Savoury, prolonged flavour on the palate. Tannins grow through it, has a clean, accomplished finish. Is chunky but well shaped for an interesting evolution, and will be attractive later on. From 2009-10. 2020-24


quite a full red with some black tints. Solid, well made aroma, shows meaty tones at this young age, with a herbal touch. Well-knit, stone fruit flavour that progresses well through the palate, and finishes nice and long. Square shape on the finish, its tannins demand being left until 2009. Holds bonny red fruit at its heart, is stylish and not overforced in any way. 2020-23 Oct 2006

2003 ()

full, brewed and nutty bouquet. Palate starts firmly with tannins in evidence and prune flavours. Aromatic later in the palate, from all that concentrated ripeness. This will gain a leathery nature with age, a spin-off of its hot year. 2022-24 April 2005, New York Previously March 2005, London **** full red. Crème de cassis/blackcurrant aroma ,also bacon, smoke, is well sustained. Compact black fruits on attack, good, oily and suave texture, this is refined and savoury. Some tannic power here, all well wrapped together. Esp 2009 on. Some after heat, is at least 14°5… but not evidently so. 2021-25 March 2005, London

2002 No Rating



red with some turn in it; the bouquet is reserved, but there is a full layer of aroma in it – really only a light mocha air comes through today. The palate has a bonny raisin, spice attachment to its red fruits and garrigue herbs. The red fruit within is attractive, and its tannins are well founded, more so than the Tradition 2001. It flows stylishy and well, drinks smoothly now, but will be more varied from winter 2009. 2020-21 Nov 2008

2000 ()

rich-toned robe, with only a little evolution. Black fruit aroma backed by a hint of sweet tea, with tobacco and licorice in attendance. The palate sarts a little stiffly, and then black fruit with a tannic texture emerges, that is rather demanding. Is a little sudden, this wine – it doesn`t really flow with sequence. There is quite an intense coffee-cocoa late burst after a peppery theme on the early-mid palate. Try in 2009 or after another winter. 2016-18 Nov 2007


attractive red; upright nose – stone fruit, herbs and garrigue touches. Good start to the palate – black fruits, an oily texture. It is well-knit, live, the finish is tarry leading into a gamey aftertaste. 2015-17 Nov 2002, Paris

1998 ()

full red, maturing top line. Prune, a hint of leather, largely dense aroma, with a little freedom still: its heart is plum fruit, with violet and vanilla also – it is good and varied. The palate is wholesome, still big and bustling, its length good. There is a fresh spot late on, and it ends on a little heat. The flavour is black fruits, raisin, the texture still tight, the tannins still on the case. It isn`t really awake now, so decant. 2023-25 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***(*) still bright robe with some slippage in the red. Has a very dense nose that reflects chocolate and a ripe raisin that are tightly woven together, followed by some suave black jam and late pepper and wax. The palate starts briskly, headed by black fruit with a violet content, and gets chunky towards the finish. Has that chocolate-raisin cake length, and is still vigorous. At its core are smoky, dark fruits. Is still quite closed – so open 2 to 4 hours ahead of drinking. Is still moving well and can show better than this. Drink with high pressure, and could be motoring around 2009-11 plus. 2021-23 Nov 2007 Previously Feb 2000 ***** dark robe; good weight and width on the nose, has an earthy, garrigue, touch of alcohol air. The attack does a good surge, is really intense, truly deep, runs well around the palate. Lots in this – it really delivers, is very good. This can provide great impact and eventual pleasure. From 2006. Challenging, beau vin. 2019-22 Feb 2000

1997 ()

just about a three-quarter depth red; olive touches on the nose, also rosemary, herbs, black jam – it is pretty clear. The black fruit, southern olives notes continue on the palate, and it is clear rather than being too jam-like. Its tannins are pretty supple, the length OK. It is pretty delicious now, but can gain in variety from 2002. 2009-12. 10,000 b this year Feb 2000


quite a full, sweet note to the bouquet – blueberry, blackcurrant, discreet, soft fruits. The palate is a bit more lean and demanding than the nose – I would term it “prickly”. I find above average acidity, which the Gonnets say it doesn`t have by analysis. Upright, three-quarter weight wine with a rather dry finish. “Ripening was difficult,” Michel Gonnet. Take your time with this wine. From 2003-04. “50% destemmed – even though the US market wants 100% destemming,” M.Gonnet. 2014-16 Feb 2000

1995 ()

pretty robe, still a bonny red at its heart. This has a mixed aroma, with rose and thyme nuances, aniseed, licorice and dust. It has a ripe, high note that is a bit like Pinot noir and farmyard – a bouquet of finesse. The palate starts with spice, cinnamon, pepper woven into live red cherry fruit. It has the direct travel of the vintage, so is dusty, pebbly. Air adds to its roundness. It is not a wine of full, obvious matter, is still grainy and gritty, with power on the finish. A Rough Diamond wine. 2020-21  Sept 2012  Previously Nov 2008 *** evolving red; beef stock, rose hip, parsnip (yes, panais in French, although most people don`t know them), saddle leather, smoky bacon aromas. The palate leads with the sweetness of the Grenache – a plum, quince, spice in the flavour. It ends on a more pebbly, typical 1995 vintage note – remains faithful to that. There is still a backbone of tannin along it, that is noticeable after half way. Decant this. It`s always been a rather Bordeaux-stiff vintage 1995, but some are starting to relax – not this yet, though. Eat: lamb shank to soften its tannins; pigeon, deer also. 2019-21 Nov 2008 15,000 b this year. Previously Feb 2000 **** garrigue, herbal airs; evolving, ripe fruit on the palate, and the sinew of the vintage evident, too. The length is good – it flourishes at the finish with the tournedos in wild mushroom sauce. Has some grainy tannins. 2015-17 Feb 2000

1994 ()

ruby-garnet colour. The aroma exudes chocolate and spice, a mixed bag that is pretty secure, gives plum fruit, menthol, tar. The tone is upright, in the manner of the vintage which wasn’t one of the ripest. Hints of Mourvèdre add to that impression of reserve. The palate attack is more rich and warm than expected from the bouquet; the middle part is round, with leathery, dry fringes from its tannins. It tightens by half way, and there is a slight game touch on the aftertaste. Spiced plum lies at its heart, a mineral tingle lies on the outer side. It shows the restraint of the year, and its tannic profile keeps it on the straight and narrow. Suited to game dishes, especially birds – pheasant, for example. 10,000 b this year. 13.5°. 2010-11 March 2005, East Sussex


1993 No Rating

3,500 b this year

1992 No Rating


1991 No Rating



down-home, game, animal aroma at first. Then burns off the game and red fruits with a dense core come to the fore. The palate is suave, with really interesting black fruits that are laced with a savoury pepper. Lengthens well, and has tasty richness and great refinement that makes this sort of unforced richness a feature of days gone by – before all the extraction and cellar-induced punchiness. This is subtle, a fab, lovely wine. “Laurel will come through on the nose with air and time,” M.Gonnet. Only 50% destemmed, no cap punching, the 15% Syrah in new oak and the 15% Mourvèdre in 1-year oak. 15° - fermented until 15 December 1990. Open this ahead by at least 2 hours. Vaut le detour wine. 2023-25 Nov 2007


ruby, orange tints; prune, evolved, rich aromas. Lovely, sappy depth on the palate. Its tannins are still marked out. Full, but dry-toned wine that is advancing forward now. Decent end grip, closes tightly. A real treat if you have been patient with this slow-burn vintage. 2010-13 Feb 2000


its first vintage: the warmth is still there in the bouquet, with the mineral tint of this dry vintage, and a peppery air. Very beau fruit on the palate – it is upright but still rich, and the length is fine. Has an interesting character and is spritely. 2012-14 March 2005