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The Wines

60-70% Grenache, 10% Cinsault, 8-10% each Syrah, Mourvedre, 4-10% Counoise vines 1901-1960, mainly from sandy, clay galet stone soils on Cabrières nord (N-W), destemmed since 2001, 25 day concrete vat vinification, pumping overs, part vat emptying/refilling, concrete vat raised 6 months, then large barrel raised 12 months, fined, unfiltered, 30-60,000 b

2017

(large barrel/concrete vat, bottling July 2019) sturdy dark red colour; the nose is set on opulence, an aroma of liqueur, mulled red fruits, cassis, raspberry that is notably ripe. There are garrigue outcrops, local colour. The palate is well charged, has a live bundle of mixed fruits including cassis and blueberry, and spices, goes long under good impetus. This has an STGT feel to it, come from its lands with some passion. There is a nicely oily feel to its ripeness. It finishes with a burst, no stopping it. 14.5°. 30,000 b. 60% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Cins, 10% Mourv, 10% Counoise. €25. From 2022. 2043-45 Oct 2018

2016

(barrel, bottling June 2018) full, dark red robe. The nose is broad and sweet, tuned up with pastille style red fruits, very Grenache with an open arms welcome. It’s still very primary. The palate delivers a classic smooth texture derived from old vine Grenache, with noble pockets of spice along the way. This is STGT Châteauneuf which is admirably tasty and wholesome, has great balance, is a real pleasure. The tannins are a velvet co-partner to the content. This is a luxury wine, a beauty. Bravo, Michel! 14°. 30,000 b. 60% Gren, 10% Sye, 10% Mourv, 10% Cins, 10% Counoise. €23.50. From late 2019. 2039-42 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(large barrel) dark red. The nose smoulders with some ripe blackberry fruit, a ripeness that leans towards prune fruit. It’s pretty rounded. The palate holds a tar-tangy dark fruit with live tannin present.  There is a grainy, chocolatey finale, and it’s not yet fused into an ensemble. The darkness in its tannins means it is best left until mid-2018. The length is sound, with content in supply on the close. 14.5°. 2035-38  Sept 2016

2014 ()

(barrel) steady red robe. The bouquet has local attributes, combining herbs with a measured red berry fruit, a good ripeness in it. The palate is Big – it holds bold matter and a close-knit tannic weave. There is southern strength in the glass: allow this until 2019, so the tannins can move inwards and the steam can come off its kettle. It is very long. Upright, concentrated wine for game dishes and beef stews. 14.5°. 60% Gren, 10% Sye, 10% Mourv, 10% Cins, 10% Counoise. 2031-33  Oct 2015 

2013 ()

(barrel) medium to full purple hue. Slightly high-tone, acetate aroma on the nose, which is currently taking on its oak volume. This seems to have a solid core of dark fruit lingering behind, but the oak is really dominant at present. It will need a bit of time. Score reflects the tasting on the day. 14°. From 2017. 2025-27 JL Oct 2014

2012

(barrel) dark red; oily, high plum and liqueur berry fruit aroma that has a sweet heart, is sustained. The nose carries licorice, red meat droplets, gives a baked power. There is also a vegetal drift and some acetate, varnish. The palate gives a broad surge of dark fruit, its tannins packed in to bolster the second half. It is still demanding, obviously, is a meaty Châteauneuf, a real traditional charge in it. The fruit criss-crosses, and the finish is clear and full. It is really full, packs a punch. Genuine wine, good carry along the palate. The finish is square for now, with a few dry touches. From 2016. 14.5°. 2025-27  Nov 2013

 

2011 ()

quite a full red robe. Tarry blackberry, sage seasoning aroma, with raspberry in the second tier, images of garrigue. The palate has a supple, oily debut – it holds good capacity raspberry fruit with drive from its attack. There is a clutch of late tannin – a cocoa note from that. The fruit tones down and matures on the finish. So: drink from late 2014, and expect bosky evolution, not fat fruit for a long time. 14°. Already bottled. 2023-25  Dec 2012

2010

(casks) comfortable red, plum robe. Has a sweet, already open air and few immediate secrets; there is a little darkness at the centre of the bouquet, spice and dust also. The palate bears free flowing red fruits garnished with spice, leather and an agile acidity that runs with it. Raspberry fruit with vivacity and cut here – far from the big, solar years in style. There are bosky late notes, small pockets of late gras richness. It does not have great body. From mid-2013, may develop further. 2028-31 Dec 2011

2008

bottled already, note, unusual: red with some black, satis robe. Prune aroma leads the nose, which ripe, clear, attractive. Has a stony snap, smoke, which gives a flinty air. Mild and measured red fruit debut to the palate, with a gradual take-up of tannin and weight. Grenache at the helm here, is a round wine. The tannins are a bit grainy and snappy for now. Has a certain structure and pedigree, is well textured and more harmonious than many 2008s. From 2011. 2018-20 Nov 2009

2007

quite dark robe. Chunky, toffee, dates aromas – not on a free stride now, is mature rather than fresh, has local qualities. Ripe fruit is delivered on the palate, but in a quiet phase now, probably still feeling its bottling. Grenache lies at its heart, could have more lift. The texture is dry, rather demanding for now, but it is genuine, traditional wine. From mid-2011 to allow the finish to complete and soften. 2019-20 Nov 2009 Previously March 2009 ***(*) (barrel) full red robe with violet tints. Shows a smoky berry, licorice aroma with accompanying baked stones and herb moments. This has a good, dandy palate – there is a pretty, floral or peony flavour in the red fruit. A clean-limbed wine with fresh tannin on the end. There is good grain in it, and the length is also successful. From mid-2010. 2020-21. To be bottled June 2009. March 2009

2006

ruby tinted robe. The bouquet manages evolution and sound intensity – there are grilled, baked airs surrounding a deeply set red cherry liqueur aroma that has a fine note of redcurrant at its heart, comes with oriental spices. This has a sturdy Grenache debut, is a hound dog, bring me dish of game wine. Traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of grounded appeal, holds a lot of spice and challenge. It emerges freshly, more on mint and crème de menthe towards the end. Good STGT wine from the hot lands, with the scrub of the garrigue connection in it – thyme and laurel, for instance. Authentic, drink with country style foods. 14.5°. 2020-22 Dec 2012 Previously March 2009 *** red with a little evolution in it; has a smoky, moving towards damp woods aroma – the fruit is cassis. The palate red fruit is laced with a game tang, is somewhat downhome, and ends on a dry texture. It may be better – and more integrated – by mid-late 2010. 2018-19 March 2009 Previously Jan 2008 *** (barrel) darkish red, a bit matt in hue. The bouquet exudes mulled red fruits with a little sweetness and some earthiness: ripe plum, raspberry liqueur plus mulberry here – promises to charm with time and will really sing around 2012-13. A wee bit of sweet on the palate – has a fleshy, red-fruited taste that rolls along with no bumps in the road. Safe drinking – this will not disappoint. The length is correct; is a nice, cleanly made, quite traditional wine. More impact from the spring of 2009. 2019-21 Jan 2008

2005

rather dark robe. This has a really good, thorough bouquet, gives an aroma of close-knit dark fruits, has a mineral clarity, the cut of this vintage. It is muscled, grounded, a true 2005 nature; a solid wine, it keeps going well, and builds complexity as it goes, involving herbs, tar, licorice in its full finish. It is gradually opening after 6 years. Decant it. 2024-26  Dec 2011  Previously June 2008 ***(*) dark plum colour; the fruit is ripe, without being over the top, is in a squeezy phase, has a few cards up its sleeve before it really expresses variety – for now it mixes flowers and hung meat, wacky! Its pretty fruit is delivered with elegance and largely fine control, flows consecutively. It reaches a good, combined, wrapped finish, all in order with the tannin just on top. Muscled towards the finish – it is settling gradually there. 2020-21 June 2008 Previously Nov 2006 ***(*) quite dark colour. Brewed, wild berry nose – shows good, ripe Grenache with a dark, mysterious side, there is high tone here as well – it`s varied and has potential. Savoury, clean black fruit with a light skimming of licorice from its tannins. Well-balanced, it's at a good moment now, is easy to taste. Softer style for the vintage – is a "plenty Grenache" wine. A little burning on the finish. Esp 2009 on. 2022-24 Nov 2006

2004

brewed, toasted nose with a quite sweet, plush red jam core and some spice. Sweet, easy attack; this wine is open now, has a smooth coating of flavour, is gourmand and harmonious. Length is OK. One for lovers of instant pleasure. May get a fungal, truffle aftertaste as it evolves. Hints of coffee and oxidisation in this. 2017-19 Nov 2006, Châteauneuf-du-Pape Previously Oct 2006, London No Rating – tough going in London, Oct 2006 – can`t be right: mild red robe; nose is edgy, with burnt touches and overall lacking in aroma – needs more assured red fruit. Palate shortens and lacks round content, has an acrid texture. Lacking in length and fruit – unconvincing. Previously Feb 2006, Montpellier (vat) ***(*) leathery, prune aroma, with charm from a rose-hip, red fruits topping. Soundly, clearly fruited wine on attack, fruit becomes more gummy by finish. Cleanly made, STGT wine, with quiet depth. Esp 2009 on. 2021-23 to be bottled May 2006;

2003 ()

red fruits, baked garrigue effect on bouquet, strong vintage imprint. Firm, solid kick off, holds some richness at core. Tannins close it down on the finish. Demanding at this stage, needs leaving till 2008. 2016-19 Feb 2006, Montpellier

2001

black cherry, prune fruits on bouquet, with leather and a funky, meaty, spiced side - great aromas. Suave, very appealing texture, warm, savoury and round wine. Jam style fruit persists well. Elegant, has character, STGT wine. Nice sweetness on finish, still retains acidity to keep it going. Top gear. 2024-27 Feb 2006, Montpellier Previously Nov 2005 ½ bottle San Francisco ***** big, gummy, chocolate and herbs aroma, a very dense bouquet. Has a delightful, aromatic red fruit and rose flavour, is very Beau Vin. It has good grain, and is all delivered in resounding harmony. It is good enough to drink solo. The quiet emergence of ripe tannins at the end features in a long, savoury finish. 2022-24 Nov 2005 San Francisco

2000

ruby-tinted robe. The nose is interesting – centres on prune fruit, has a certain evolution, along with charcoal – it is very smoky. The palate has a gras richness that precedes a grainy and powdery end. The gras is paramount for this: it is very tarry, has a chocolate aspect and a note of green pepper comes along on the finish. Hard to get a really stable handle on this as it stands. 2022-23  Dec 2011

1998

paling, red Grenache robe – at a mature stage. A lot of herbs, also cinnamon and toffee on the nose. The palate is settling down, but a little fragile. It is nicely scented, fine-tuned, gentle. The finish texture is pebbly. I am surprised at this wine's evolution – it is further down the line than I would have expected. 2014-15. “Drink until 2014,” Michel Arnaud. Dec 2009