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The Wines

80-90% Grenache (1900s, La Crau, E), 10% Syrah (2000s), 10% Cinsault (1920s), Mourvèdre (1970s), Counoise, old vine fruit not destemmed, 2-3 day cooling pre-fermentation at 17-18°C, 20-30 day vinification (Grenache & Syrah together), pumping overs, part vat emptying/refillings, aged 70% 2-3 year old 600 & 228-litre oak casks, 30% vat 12-18 months, unfined, filtered, first wine 2003, 3-4,000 b

2018

(casks) dark red robe; the nose is brewed, centres on prune, dried fruits, has southern weight within, a note of damp woods, mineral. The palate is broad, capacious, well-filled with seasoned black fruit jam flavours, and nicely thick tannins that underpin it. It’s a grounded, genuine Châteauneuf which will do well with beef dishes. The aftertaste carries dark red fruit, is a compact affair for now. From 2022-23. 2043-45 Oct 2019

2017 ()

(casks) full red robe. Prune, black raisin, liqueur style fruit aromas lead the nose, which has the weight of a sun-filled vintage, a note of spirit. The liqueur theme continues on the attack, with a savoury mid-palate that extends into a mixed herbs, Provence garrigue finish. This is a thorough Châteauneuf, the finish a bit exerted, and thus a touch dry on the aftertaste. From 2022. 2040-42 Oct 2018

2016

(casks) bold, dark robe, black with purple. The nose shows prune, sweet fruits, with a bonny juiciness that captures the attention. There is a little leather and mineral around the sides. The palate has drive, giving a full display of black fruits that have an oily essence and a shimmer of florality attached. Its fullness is thorough and persistent. This is a no-nonsense, grounded and genuine Châteauneuf. The richness sweeps well around the late moments. 15°. From late 2020. 2039-42 Oct 2017

2012 ()

(casks) thick, dark robe; the bouquet reveals a brooding depth, involves beef stock, prune – the nose travels deep and wide, is a solid mass. The palate has a fresh frontier of minted black fruit, the smooth texture inhabited by scattered pockets of grainy tannin. This is weighty, and needs time to 1) fuse its tannins and 2) to become more openly expressive. There is plenty of content still evident on the finish. Has time on its side. 15°. 3,000 b, €25. From 2017. 2032-34 Nov 2013

2010

(vat/casks) quite a dark robe. The nose is interesting, since its ripeness is held back subtly, and it has a more grounded, meat gravy side as well, with thyme and laurel also present. The palate is more upright than the nose, also reserved, though. There is fine quality fruit within, another subtle showing there. Elegance is its key note. A pedigree wine that holds discreet tannins that are barely noticeable until a satisfying showing on the finish. Good balance. From 2014. 2033-35 Dec 2011

2009 No Rating

2 bottles tasted blind in London: bottle 1: red robe, quite transparent; cooked coffee bean, grainy air, also a high” note in behind – the bouquet is loose. Dry acidity on the palate, lacks richness gras and exits on a vacant note. Bottle 2: square, chunky air. Baked, dry palate. Cannot rate this. Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ** (oak/vat) 2 samples not quite right – so a third tried the next day: modest red plum colour. Smoky, sinewed Grenache aroma – wire more than fat. The palate also has that wire, as if there is 2008 in it, in my view (15% is allowed). It is a bit chalky in its later stages, where there are dark fruits, low-key richness at the end. From mid-2012. 2026-28 Oct 2010

2008 ()

from La Crau, malo already completed: mild red; gentle curve to the nose – honey, soft blackberry fruit. The palate fruit has mid-level depth, runs clearly, proceeds calmy, doesn't have holes in it. It just isn't very intense, naturally from this tricky year. Some late life, tannin, the length is fair. 10 year wine. 26 Nov 2008

2007 ()

dark, thorough robe. Restrained nose, leather, smoke, black fruit, garrigue, floral notes hover, tiny oak airs – interesting depth. Well-knit palate fruit, has good tannic grip. A good, traditional wine. This absorbs its power better than the Tradition. Good length. It ends on red fruit, fine grain tannin, floral touches. Good, reassuring Châteauneuf. €18. Bottled Aug 2009. 2025-27 Previously Nov 2008 ****(*) 2 examples – 1st from 45 hl barrel, La Crau, 100% Grenache ***** classic red Grenache robe; blackberry, ripe raspberry aroma with the vintage sweetness. The palate is very dense and complete, has real tasty fruit, great life and width, a drink now appeal, the length good. Rich and not overdone wine. Late prune and raspberry liqueur in this. Very beau. 16 years. 2nd sample from 3 yr old 600-litre cask, also La Crau, 100% Grenache **** subdued red; tight nose – enclosed but supple black cherry. Palate is rich – flavour of blackberry, smoky prune, a wine that extends securely, has good poise. Is more the boulevardier than the previous “all honest lad” wine. 2023-24 Nov 2008

2006 ()

steady, matt plum red; the nose still shows its oak raising – honey with raisin/caramel, with its old Grenache fruit not forward. The palate is also on its oak, though the interior is rich and fat, delivering a prune Grenache flavour. It lengthens well, is rich at the end. It finishes on some oak toasting. This has a good, rich heart, its texture is also rich, and deserves to be waited for. From 2010. It will sing an especially merry tune between 2011-2014, for instance. Bottled May 2008. €18. 2022-24 Nov 2008

2005

the robe is bright, the red nice and full. Has a mocha, ripe cherry aroma with vanilla airs. The palate starts richly, shows tannins early on, and is thorough on to the finish. A full wine with plenty of matter, good heart, and a chewy disposition. It carries raisin and date tastes on the end, but it is clear and not at all oppressive there. It still needs to soften its finale. “It is a keeping wine, especially if kept in a good cellar. One tries to make a wine that will keep,” F.Boutin. €20. 2024-26 Nov 2008

2004

there is pretty red in the fairly pale Grenache robe. Has a good, hearty nose with a ripe, elegant, warm fruit nature. Raisin, toffee and chocolate mingle, with ripe fruit at its core. The palate starts out round and warm, then gradually tightens, becomes nutty and more tannic. This is a good example of Grenache at Châteauenuf-du-Pape, where the wine has some guts and is not too obviously polished. Is an advance on the Châteauneuf of yore, when there would have been greater bitterness, and fire. STGT wine in nature. It drinks soundly now, but will be longer and more varied from mid-2009 on. Its balance is pretty good, and it has latent energy. It is a good sign that it is still very compact. 14.5°. 2023-25 Sept 2007 Previously March 2007 *(*) easy, quite sleek red fruit in the modern vein on the bouquet. Palate shows clean fruit, a little licorice and a mix of the south late on – herbs and olives. Rather constructed, rather than laissez-faire. 2020-22 March 2007 Previously Oct 2006, London ***(*) black fruit aroma that is deeply set with herbal tones, is smoky and pretty big. Well-filled wine, showing black fruits with a marked licorice tang. Agreeable vinosity, can become stylish in three years. It is toasted at the end from its oak. Beyond the oak, has quite a local feel. 2020-22 Oct 2006

2001 ()

still full plum red robe; the nose is at a measured, steady stage – there is some evolution, but it is still muscled, and late on there is the slight smell of large old barrels – farmyard, traditional, brewed. The palate leads with mocha and tar, gummy fruit. It is enclosed, but runs smoothly. It is tightly packed still, and needs robust flavours. While the palate is a bit reductive, it has a fragrant side to it. After 90 minutes, it starts to move along, and gains finesse. “It can still evolve,” F.Boutin. Ageing for two years in large barrels only in these days. 2020-23 Nov 2008

2000

dark fruited, spiced, smoky, tarry airs. The palate is also quite spiced, is dark and robust, but there is a centre of rounded jam fruit. I like the tar, dark elements. Fair length, just a note of singeing, scorching, possibly from the stems. 2020-21  March 2003