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The Wines

55-80% Grenache, 10-25% Syrah, 5-15% Mourvèdre, 4-5% Cinsault, from Les Esqueirrons (N-W), La Bigote (S-E), Maucoil (N-W), Les Serres (S-E), Grand-Pierre (N-E), Valori (N-E), La Crau (E), Guigasse (N-E), 60-70% destemmed, 3 week vinification at 24-26°C, pumping overs, aged 50-60% concrete vat, 20-30% large barrel, 20% 228-litre oak casks 12 months (until 2008 was 80% large barrel, 20% concrete vat 12 months and until late 1990s was 14-15 months), 30-50,000 b

2018

(large barrel/casks/concrete vat, bottling Feb 2020) full, dark red; there is a cool tone to the black berry fruit on the nose, which is amply filled, has hints of meat stock, smoke-oak. The palate is gutsy, well filled, carries a vibrant message from the warm lands, is seasoned with a little oak. There are bundles of black fruits circulating with gusto, and its length is accomplished, fresh. There’s plenty here, and it’s up for game, red meat. 15.5°. 45,000 b. 55% Gren, 25% Syr, 15% Mourv, 5% Cins. From 2023. 2044-46 Oct 2019

2017 ()

(large barrel/concrete vat, bottling Feb 2019) deep black-hued robe. The nose is broad, freighted, has a deep layering of stone fruits, a suggestion of rose hip: you can stand a paddle in this, given its depth. It’s a manly start. The palate shines with its stream of mulberry, damson jam flavour, builds some gasp as it closes, the degree straining at the leash. This is very much sipping wine, with notes of kirsch and eau de vie apparent; not far from Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel Rancio, in effect. It has a tasty flourish before the finish, and its sweetness will find pleased takers. You cannot call this balanced, however. 16°. 40,000 b.55% Gren, 25% Syr, 15% Mourv, 5% Cins. €25. From 2022. 2040-42 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(vat/barrel/casks, bottling Feb 2018) dark red robe. The bouquet is rich, with exotic spices and date-prune connotations, mulled raspberry fruits, licorice. The palate is savoury, holds lip smacking content which is solid and compactly packed in. There is an inner density that doesn’t show obviously on the surface. Mixed red fruits with black raisins and dried herbs mingle on the palate. It’s a big wine, for drinking from 2020, so it can show more variety and integration. 16°. 44,000 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 5% Mourv, 5% Cins. €25. 2037-39 Oct 2017

2015

(vat/barrel/casks) dark robe; the nose is compact, closely filled with black berry fruit, a sense of prune, has inner strength. It’s not showing variety as yet. The palate surges along a wave of black, crushed fruits, brings out a salty beam and a note of tobacco towards the finish. It has captured the vintage freshness, and releases an implicit power on the second half – a good climate-terroir duo in the glass. The finish is full of content, as found in the best 2015s. 15°. From 2019. 2034-37 Sept 2016

2014 ()

(vat/barrel/casks) clear red robe. Nicely live bouquet, marked by rosemary, herbes de Provence, a coulis of raspberry, almost like raspberry jelly, at its heart. The palate attacks directly, is a wine rather on the wire. Its dark red berry fruit is closely entwines with live, rocky tannins that prevail on the finish. The aftertaste brings in some tar darkness. The finish gives a flash of garrigue as well. This is brisk, and needs leaving until mid-2017 to fuse, and perhaps amplify a little. 2026-28  Oct 2015

2013 ()

jolie red robe. Shiny blackberry, black cherry aroma, an inviting start. It has a lightly sunny innocence, an air of dried mixed herbs. The palate offers bright, clear red fruit with a small tannic lining and extra darkness towards the finish. Well orchestrated, en finesse, if rather safe wine. The juice spreads broadly and with easy flow. It is close to on the button now. 15°. 2024-26  Oct 2015 Previously Oct 2014 *** (vat/barrel/casks) light to medium purple hue. The nose gives simple red fruit, with a slight jammy aspect. The palate is subdued at present, but shows a generous helping of plummy fruit. The tannins are firm if a little robust and dry. This feels awkward now, but there is definite potential. 15°. Harvested 24 September-17 October, 65% Gren (low, usual is 80%), 25% Syr, 6% Mourv, 4% Cins, 32,000 b. From 2016. 2026-28 JL Oct 2014

2012 ()

(vat/oak, bottling May 2014) Grenache red plum colour; sweet-noted, open nose, a smatter of garrigue herbs – it is plain, but can vary over time. The palate has a traditional, cooked fruits, chiselled tannin take on life. This is a butty Châteauneuf, not a fluid offering. It shows Grenache typicity from warm to hot soils, ends on gummy, pumice stone pebble notes. Drink with game in autumn, winter. From late 2015. Decant this. 15°. Around 45,000 b. 2024-26  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(vat/oak) dark red, promising robe. Mulled, liqueur red fruit aroma that has spirity notions, the central fruit plum. The nose involves both spice and fire. The palate delivers nicely supple red fruit that rolls well along the palate. The fruit associates well with its finely fresh tannins. It can be harmonious, but the alcohol is on the limit. It ends on a concentrated plum, kirsch note with licorice. Just OK on its power. From mid-2014. 15°. 2023-25  Dec 2012

2010

(vat/oak) sound red robe. The nose is rounded, with red cherry at its heart, a typical Châteauneuf sweetness and herbal-grounded notes, rocky garrigue airs. The palate sets off as rather ready now – it offers easy access, a wholesome flavour of red fruits with a smoky buzz around them. The roundness stays with it through the palate, and the tannins have cut. From mid-2012. €22 at the cellars. 2026-28 Dec 2011

2009 ()

signs of matt in its red robe; smoky, pine needle, raisin-date airs. Good early thrust on the palate, gets going well, runs on fully. There is plenty here, it is an honest, authentic Châteauneuf. It ends on flint, the cut of stones, menthol notes in its good late juice and also shows wee late heat. The non-Grenache varieties contribute well here. From spring 2012. 14.5°. 2022-24 Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 **** dark, full robe. Black raisin, ripe nose – a mini- Port effect, dark chocolate. This is full and textured until a gradual, steady close down as its tannins insert. Its black fruits have some squeeze in them, decent integrity. This is structured to evolve, solid quality wine. It ends roundly, is curved and rich. Charged wine, but it handles that. Black pepper aftertaste. 2023-25 Oct 2010

2008 ()

quite a full red that is matt rather than bright. Comfortable, black fruit aroma – simmered berries before they become jam, prune and smoke present. The palate fruit is a bit heady, has a veneer of richness and an oily, rather full nature, without intensity. This has a traditional leaning with its robust style, is an STGT wine of honest virtues. From 2011. 2019-20 Dec 2009

2007

(barrel/vat) largely full red robe; smoky, bacon and raisin aroma with something of the redcurrant jam about it in the backstage – this is a willing bouquet. The red fruit on the palate is pleasant, is tidily delivered, with some gradual tannin behind. It isn't greatly deep, but drinks agreeably. There is a little late acidity or freshness with a touch of spice. It is just a shade short and simple, with fair width. Nice for early drinking. From 2010. 2018-20 Nov 2008

2006 ()

(assemblage example) mild red colour; bouquet reflects red berries, with an oily air, a little raspberry on top. Some hint of tannin, meaning restriction, and pepper. Has a juicy red berry flavour with some late tannic sweep, that brings a little, correct late dryness. This is a sealed-up Grenache wine, with plenty here and a sympathique red jam flavour all through it. Runs on quite well. From mid-2009. 2019-20 Nov 2007

2005

bright, but for a young wine, a solid bouquet – chocolate elements, raspberry, is just closing down. Has some herbal rhythms, the aroma is well established. Alert, early raspberry fruit, with good flow. A wine of good, honest stamp, is a bit wild. “Bottling five weeks ago has quietened it, it needs more time,” T.Usseglio 2023-26 March 2007 Previously Nov 2006 **(*) matt, fairly deep robe; herb-infused, traditional style bouquet with red fruits present, will be more expressive from mid-2008 – has a meaty undertone and doesn’t seem very fresh. Quite supple fruit on start of palate, with red berries and a little spice. Alert texture later on, but lacks stuffing. Maybe robbed by Prestige wines, does not inspire on today’s dumb phase showing. From late 2008, say. 2016-17 Nov 2006

2004 ()

subdued nose, lurking black berry aroma, with good typicity and nicely shaped. Clean fruit on palate, tasty and open now, very true Grenache. Stylish, black berry fruit on display. Showing well now, with some tannin present. Will tick along well. 2017-18 Oct 2006 “This year it was 90% Grenache, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault – we couldn't get the Syrah to ripen, even though we gave it every chance and picked it late,” Thiérry Usseglio.

2003

ruby tendency in the red colour; has a meaty, sizzled bacon nose of some width. There are scrub, parched outcrop aromas, too. The palate starts nice and rich, with good flesh and secure continuity. A tasty wine which holds bright fruit, more so than most this year. There is some class in the fruit, thanks to its well-set core and supple, dashing width. Ends on bright red fruits with an agreeable little note of power. This is a good road runner, with its fruit really delightful for most of the way. The finish can be more integrated by mid-2009. 14.5°. 2019-21 June 2008

2002 ()

100% Grenache this year, only one wine produced. Fair red robe; lightly scented bouquet, the palate also light, softly fruited. Doesn’t have a lot of depth. 2008-09  March 2003

2001 ()

steady, still largely full red; the advance of the sous-bois, damp woods agents is noted on the nose – red fruits on the turn. But the change is really only on the outer side, since it has poise, is broad, and beyond the coffee-beef stock, brandy cake airs comes the alleviation of floral scents. The palate gives a rather intense prune, black plums, tar flavour with a line of upright tannin in it – it has a rectitude about it, and the tannins still bite on its live finish. It is just changing, but there is plenty ahead. It will soon hit the second stage, but suggests itself as a stable wine to me. 14.5°. 2018-20 Nov 2008  Previously March 2003 ****(*) (bottling in one month) attractive bouquet, nicely rich, has good cut as well, oily depth in it. This is lovely, is well rounded, has gras richness, great texture, allied to finesse. Violets and licorice show on the finish. 2018-20  March 2003

2000

has a fullish red colour, with some turn of ruby at the top. Toasted, ground coffee, game aromas with hung meat or red meat in the air. There is a quietly sweet undertone of maturing black fruit, violets and the game side moves forward after two hours' airing. There is slight dampness on the start of the palate – the fruit on the turn after its burst of youth, and a little mineral in the texture from half way. This is evolving steadily – the fruit is fresh at the end, in a middle-aged style that is soft and understated. Ends on a round shape. Pretty wine with good freshness, pretty red fruit and fine poise. w.o.w. wine. 2017-19 June 2008 Previously May 1991 (vat) ***(*) good, dense colour; the nose is bright and lively – there is a lot of dark, friendly fruit and a few herbs. The palate has a lot of sweet style – there is clean black fruit here. Delicious, violet Pez sweets in the flavour; the fruit expression is very good. There is a sound amount of tannin at the end, and they are ripe. This could be singing at 5 -6 years` old. It can also drink nicely early on – bang, on the open fruit. A lot of charm, and nice balance here. 15-17 years of life. May 2001

1999

has quite a full, structured bouquet of some density with some herb-garrigue airs, too. The palate has more tannin on the attack than the 2000, with a pebbly undertone. Holds less matter and mass than the 1998. Spiced, cooked fruits here. 2015-17 May 2001

1998

ruby robe with a red spark at its centre. Stewed prune, Christmas spice box of aromas here, crackly pepper, cloves, forest floor; it has the variety to stimulate interest, shows some gentle strawberry jam. The palate has flashes of red fruit at its centre; there’ still strength in its tannins down the sides, measured gras richness. This drinks well, offers plenty of spicy-leathery plum-fruited content. There are floral dabs on the aftertaste. Can keep going a little longer. 2022-23 Sept 2018 Previously Aug 2009 *** Three bottles tasted, and conclusions that they vary, and that the wine has advanced at speed: Bot 1 – frail red, ruby top; Bot 2 more red, Bot 3 ruby rim. Bot 1 & Bot 3: intensely burnt, charcoal-raisin lead aroma – gives more pine and wood than fruit. Bot 2 is slightly reductive, red berry fruits, rounded shape to bouquet. Bot 1: tight, grip, tarry debut to palate; has a mineral, smoky grip of its vintage, with a need to air and soften – it is on a strict path now. Bot 2: red fruits with a mineral, crisp line through them. It is a pebbly, quite forceful wine, in a transition phase now, not settled. Bot 3: more open, rounded than Bot 1. Shows upright, dark fruits, ends clearly but is not really steaming along. Decant. Maybe leave until spring 2010. To 2017 or so. Aug 2009 Previously Nov 2008 *** mature red, ruby traces; grainy, coffee, damp leaf, mineral and animal aromas, accompanied by minty snap, plum fruit on the turn, floral notes. Certainly a second stage bouquet, donc. The fruit has the mineral texture of many evolved 1998s – a wire of tannin and leather through it, ending with some richness and roundness. I would actually leave this until late 2009 – it ends on a little drying juice, but I am not sure it is in irreversible decline. What it has done is advance suddenly on the palate in only 18 months. 2015-17 on this showing. Reach for the corkscrew. 14°. Nov 2008 Previously March 2007 **** robe is a little light at the top but overall is still full. Fundamental aroma on bouquet – shows game but also live fruit, cooked plums, coffee – has its feet on the ground. Palate starts alert, without having its primary fruit any more, it tones down then revives with a clear red fruit, mineral end. Great wine for big flavours in the food. Some garrigue, herbal touches at the end. A very good example of the classic or Tradition Châteauneuf-du-Pape – here there was no Deux Frères cuvée in 1998, just the first year of Mon Aiëul. It is a faithful descendant of the sort of mature Châteauneuf that I started out with, such as the Lucien Brunel Les Cailloux 1966. Come back to it in mid-late 2008. 2023-25 March 2007 Previously Feb 2000 **** nicely dark robe; varied, quite ample bouquet – oily, a little resin, pine there, has potential, the tree notes lie ahead of any fruit notes. Plenty of flavour on the palate, which is propped up by Mourvèdre and Syrah inspiration. The attack delivers tight fruits, the finish is chewy thanks to a good set of tannins. Big wine, good structure, is well done. 2016-18 Feb 2000

1996 ()

ruby tints, fair red colour; this has the direct thrust of the vintage on the bouquet – there is raspberry fruit, with game and tea leaves’ airs, a fungal and minted declaration. It comes and goes a lot as it breathes. The palate holds nicely set fruit, raspberry, crushed strawberries; it continues well, without stopping short. I find it typical of the year in its aspect of coming and going a lot – this wasn’t a vintage with a really dense centre to it. 70% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv, 10% Cinsault, raised large barrel 18-20 months. 2013-15  Nov 2006

1985 ()

ruby robe with red within; open 6 hours but the bouquet needs air – it is a bit musty but there is still plenty here, is led by some coffee and meatiness now. Lots of content, is rich and round and sweet. Has remarkable sweet prune fruit and a true texture with some herbal influences. “We worked only 10-12 hectares at this time, led by Les Esqueirrons, Les Serres, Pilaon and Maucoil,” T.Usseglio Tasted 2006