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The Wines

100% Grenache (early 1900s), from 1.2 hectares on La Crau Ouest (E, sandy, galet stones), pre-fermentation cooling, destemmed, 28-30 day concrete vat vinification at 28°C, part vat emptying/refilling, cap punching, aged new 400-litre oak casks 16 months (until mid-2010s was aged new 228-litre oak casks 16 months, until early 2010s was aged 2-year 400-500-600-litre casks 11-15 months, until 2006 was 24 months), 2,000-3,000 b

2018

(casks) dark red; the nose has an oxtail density, a sealed red fruit, prune presence, hasn’t got moving yet. The palate gives a good couch of red-fruited, rather stylish content, carries its filling well into the close. The aftertaste has streams of red fruit juice that please, and revive it. It has a little flair, and is both full and bright. From late 2022. 2040-43 Oct 2019

2017

(casks) deep, dark red. Brooding nose here – meat stock, savoury airs, cooked plums with spice. It has an Indian ink oiliness. The palate is thoroughly charged with gushing dark red fruit content, vigorous tannins, the finish on soaked fruits, wavy texture in them. This is a manly Châteauneuf, for game dishes, needs time, reaches out well. 15°. 2,500 b. 100% Gren. €60. From 2022. 2049-42  Oct 2018

2016

typical Grenache red robe. The bouquet gives a jelly-like red fruiting, a sweet red cherry, raspberry display, a shimmer of sunny depth. There are sweet herbs from the garrigue also present. It leaves few stones unturned as it faces you. The palate is ripe, abundant, the texture lissom in part from its alcohol, which hovers around the late moments, largely in check. This is an acquired taste, is nearly on the after dinner trail. The oak adds a layer of caramel or toffee into the formula, and I would prefer more naked old vine Grenache in my glass. It will please certain drinkers very much. 15°. From mid-2020. 2035-38 Mar 2018

2015 ()

(casks, bottling Dec 2016) red robe. Cooked plums with a note of raspberry lead the bouquet, some garrigue herbs hints. The palate is tasty, with a red fruits presence that comes along immediately. It lacks some of stature of the leaders, but drinks agreeably, with some local truth. The tannins have a tingle of rockiness, and its juicing holds up soundly. Unpretentious. 16.5°. 2,000 b. 17 hl/ha. €60 at the cellars, US$100. From mid-2018. 2028-29 Sept 2016

2012

(casks) dark red; tea-tar, beef stock and sweet prune aroma, adds in licorice and the strength of Christmas cake as well. The palate delivers cherry fruit with a liqueur style, a solid run of it, from what I suspect are old vines (tasted blind) – it has that natural density and depth of juice. It is broad across the palate, a wine to drink only a little at a time. Rosemary and thyme moment fit in on the finish, which is savoury. Pretty authentic. 15°. From mid-2016. 2027-29  Nov 2013

2011

(casks) quite a full red; this has a sturdy bouquet – meat stock, leather more than sunny fruit for now, prune over plum. It is ripe, and doesn’t work on freshness, more on mature fruit, ripeness. It evokes North African dried fruits. The palate is broad, a touch syrupy; there is a link here with a dessert wine in its oiliness. There are spice and tobacco late moments. You have to like this ponderous, big style, high degree (although that doesn’t show) wine to purchase it. A limited range of foods are suitable – venison, wild boar, earthy flavours. Has a round, oily, knit finale, a wine of glycerol. From 2015. 15°. 2026-28  Dec 2012

2010

(casks) quite a dark red; raspberry, blackberry fruit aroma with suave, sweet-spot airs; the nose is fat but also fresh - it shows an appealingly ripe fatness. A good ball of generous flavour such as scented plum fruit comes forward on the palate, the ripeness leading to jam or compote associations. It lengthens into fine grain tannins, with a pebbly, slight dusted sign-off. There is great appeal in its palate juice that shows openly. It ends nice and firm, compact, with an earthiness and local feel. Promising wine. From mid-2013. 2028-29 Dec 2011

2007

full red, with purple. The bouquet lies low – it is still sealed up, shows cherry fruit in a jelly form, or red cherry liqueur. The palate is a gourmand affair, not yet settled. It is rather over-fruited and on its alcohol now. A classic example of wine from the new modern vinification school – there are more and more wines like this. I find it rather sickly. 2021-22 March 2009

2006 ()

(casks) dark, black cherry robe; the bouquet has a chunky frame, with a little toffee and black fruit evident but is sealed and lurks below the parapet now – is not very fresh. The palate is also tight-knit, and contains black fruit with lots of power in it. The fruit is ripe, the wine imposing and wide by decree of the maker. This is rich on the finish, with a good mixture of black berry, violets, coffee and prune. Its tannins are prominent, it is punchy and late on expresses peppery black fruit and crisp oak on the finish. From 2010-11. 2024-26 Nov 2007

2005

bright top to the red plum robe; notably ripe, fully charged nose – black fruits with mature sweetness, baked tones of the garrigue – it is ensemble now in its youth. Sleek black fruit start the palate, with licorice and violet on the second phase. It runs well, the richness persisting into a clear, juicy ending. A touch of late tannin is apparent now, but may tighten the wine as it evolves. Runs consecutively through the palate, offers late herbs in the flavour, along with a black pepper snap. From 2011. 14.5°. 2023-25 June 2008 Previously March 2007 ****(*) bouquet has plenty of volume, gives an impression of power, there is a storm brewing in the wings here – garrigue with latent meatiness under it. Palate is chunky with a fairly lissom, streamlined outer. The tannins grow across the palate. Leave until 2010-11. Is well above the basic 15° - this just about manages its alcohol. 2021-26 March 2007 “It will live for 25 years,” Olivier Hillaire Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) full, red robe; evident, maybe forced bouquet of smoke, black fruit, mint and a wee red meat presence. Savoury attack, but good grip alongside. Continues well, good sequence in the wine. Rich, without excess, all to the end. Ripe and rich, with good tannic freshness. The oak isn’t excessive, unlike some Châteauneuf Prestige wines. More settled and integrated by 2010. 2025-27 Dec 2006

2004 ()

solid, rather stiff bouquet at this moment, has a square shape, with smoke and berries. Palate is similar – is a full wine with a robust, chunky end but its wrapping is quite elegant. It's in transition now, I find the 2005 more complete. This would drink well in autumn, winter, and I expect a pebbly side to come through. 2023-26 March 2007 “This was very charming at first, then lost its first burst of fruit,” O.Hilaire