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The Wines

80-90% Grenache (1930-40s), 10-20% Mourvèdre from galet stone covered clay-limestone soils, destemmed, aged 30% concrete vat (down from 60% until 2008), 70% 1-4 year 228-litre oak casks 15 months, unfined, unfiltered, organic wine

2016

(casks) very dark robe. The bouquet leads on a grapey, raisin aroma, soaked blackberries and a coulis richness present. It’s a pretty deep start, all in its first flush of youth. The palate comes with smoky dark fruits, the Mourvèdre playing a role in keeping it together and extending it surely. The finish has a neat strength. This is promising, a wine of good fruit and structure, all fitting nicely together. The tannins bring an outcrop of salty definition and some powdery grain. This is a well-tuned Châteauneuf, comes with brio and no false adornment. From late 2019. 2032-35 Nov 2017

2011 ()

dark red, healthy look. Has a grilled, pine-resin top note in a meaty, hearty bouquet that doesn’t do subtlety or reserve. This is wide, expressive, traditional, a pretty big bundle of the grapes from hot outcrops, pine trees bordering the vineyards, sun shimmering. I give it marks for character. The Grenache red fruit is a shade stretched, so drink from mid-2014 and enjoy its unbridled straight from the vineyard strength. It's too wild to be STGT, but try it and see, no gigglers allowed – this will be too much for them. Suited to game, sauced meats, country foods. There is a force of tannin at the end. Grand, outlandish wine. 14.5°. 80% G 20% M this year. 2024-26  Dec 2012

2010

(bottling next month) red, red cherry robe; the nose has bite, crunchy-bosky airs, charcoal and grain, along with an oiliness – this suggests full, active cellar work. It needs to evolve and relax, is chunky. The palate is similarly chiselled, has a rewarding pocket of cooked red fruits richness at its centre, and persists on a bed of grainy tannins. It is a “game of two halves” now, so wait for fusion. There is scented, violet-like, blackberry juice on the aftertaste. There is plenty here to engage both palate and mind. The smoky notes on the finish push oak into the picture. From 2014. €24 at the cellars. 80% G, 20% M this year. 2025-27 Dec 2011

2009

(casks) dark, quite bright robe; has a big, “bad” bouquet, all the “b”s. It is chunky, oaked, has smoky fire in it, prune and licorice – possible Mourvèdre here, and a shade of Port in its nature. The palate is very ripe; its over-ripeness makes it extreme, not a regular red table wine, more like Amarone for post-meal sipping. Has powerful late tannins. It is very soaked, a blunderbuss, no prisoners style of wine. There is the risk it will curl on the finish over time. 2021-24 Oct 2010

2008

mottled Grenache red. Creamy red cherry, long vineyard hang time sweetness in the nose, rather dessert wine style, has game airs as well. Jam, supple strawberry attack – this works on sweet tooth appeal – its texture is soft, no aim for clear or precise fruit. Fair length, a few tannins. Can be drunk soon. 2015-16 Nov 2009

2007

full robe. Very broad, imposing bouquet, packets of chocolate, scorched fruit, date and prune, nothing fresh about this. Ample, dessert style wine on the palate. The fruit flavour brings in raisin, date, fig – it is sweet by design, and needs to be drunk between 6 people, not 2: sip it, baptise the baby. We are in Port territory here, no simple pleasure with this scaled effort. 14.5° on the label – hmm. 2016-18 Nov 2009

2006 ()

(cask/vat) 1st sample bottle seems wrong: pretty, dark red. The aroma poses questions – green olives, nutty, stalky. 2nd bottle: less marked stalk effect, mid-weight black fruits aroma. The palate holds nutty, black fruits that are in a raw, primary state: there is good fruit at the heart of this. This is intrinsically a good wine – I like its core fruit, which is rather classy. The length is sound. Retaste when bottled. 2021-22 Jan 2008

2005 ()

bright hints in a black plum robe; upright bouquet, haughty, shows resin but a laurel, herbs presence beckons a good future and variety in the making. The black fruits have an oily nature, swirl around the glass; this has the legs for the future. The flavour is like black cherry, griottes, that have been soaked in alcohol. Finishes on an oily, rounded touch. From spring 2009. 2017-19 June 2008 Previously Nov 2006 ***(*) (pre-bottle) dark colour. Ample, sustained bouquet, broods with a chocolate, Bovril meat sauce nature; its fruit is mulberry/loganberry, and there are lurking hung meat, giber scents circulating. Palate is like a horse on tight rein – on the steel – is upright, tight-knit and rather demanding. Sleek fruit with oak fencing around it. Punchy wine, is quite heady but well filled to handle that power. From 2010. 2022-25 Nov 2006

2004 No Rating

Grenache-dominated, raspberry aroma with a high tone influence. Acetate influence on the palate, is narrow and never gets going. Severe finale, with prominent acidity. Difficult to see this moving ahead. Nov 2006. Previously Oct 2006 – red/black colour; reserved, clean bouquet, with modern style sleek fruit – a little too “techno”. Volatile on palate, with evident acidity, is narrow and burnt from half way. Oct 2006, London

1999

has an evolving, ripe and full nose – a mix of tea and flowers and quite obvious mineral. Has a punchy, assertive flavour with prune and mineral in it. Stops a little towards the finish, but gets by on its power which has a traditional shape. A little dry on the finish. To 2009-10. Dec 2006

1997

(cask, bottling July 1999) nicely dark robe; good red fruit airs lead the nose, with warmth, a hint of oak. The palate is spiced, soundly fruited with quite a lot of power that is well controlled. The length is fair – it stops just a touch, and tannins gain in prominence. It needs time. From 2001. 2015-17 Oct 1998

1996 ()

three-quarter depth red colour; there’s low-key heat on the bouquet, is understated in style, shows some herbs, laurel, carries some potential. The attack is sappy, a rounded affair with dome discreet content in support, the flavour centred on red fruits, a jam leaning. The extraction is pretty pure, the tannins well integrated, soft. It persists nicely, has a curl of sweetness. From 2000-01. 2017-20 Oct 1998