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The Wines

60-85% Clairette blanche & Clairette rose, 15-40% Roussanne from Les Serres (S, 1940s-1950s), 75% 550-litre, 25% 228-litre oak cask fermented at 18°C, raised 33% each new, 1-2 year oak 228-litre and 550-litre casks 5 months, steel vat assembled January just before bottling, malo blocked, organic wine, 8-9,000 b

2018

regular yellow robe. The nose is wide, but reduced, so this needs to breathe. As a result, there is a “high” note to the cooked white fruits, a paste of pear, aniseed, gingerbread present. It shows a little power. The palate is sturdy, no chinks in it, runs firmly into the finish. There’s a note of cooked Bramley apple in the flavour, and the finish is gummy, a touch saturated. It must be drunk à table, since it’s a mite clumsy, top heavy. Fish stew will be suited, for instance. It demands decanting. 13.5°. 60% Clairette bl & rose, 40% Rouss. €59. 2029-31 Oct 2019

2017

shiny yellow colour; elderberry, gunflint aroma, a hint of peach stone and orange peel. It’s quite a direct start. The palate holds interesting, nutty, grapey content, isn’t a mainstream display, has pockets of intrigue. It flows well, has character, ends on smoky, aniseed connotations. Grenache gris present? There’s something about the blend . . . [tasted blind]. Good interest, spark here. 13.5°. 80% Clair, 20% Rouss. Bottled Jan 2018. €50. 2027-29 Oct 2018 

2016 ()

full yellow colour, the look of a southern white. Has a gracefully full nose, tilleul or linden, vanilla, cooked lime with touches of pear-apricot. It leaves a good, long trail, shows some oak toast, and is a very joli debut. The palate is immediately stylish, has a core of nutty, stone fruits such as peach, delivered in gentle waves of flavour. The second half is elegant, and nicely clear, the acidity en finesse. It ends on apricot, with grip. High marks for being a true southern wine, with elegance. The aniseed, fennel running through its veins is very Clairette. It has lovely fresh length, the aftertaste on the up. 13.5°.85% Clairette rose & blanche, 15% Roussanne. 2027-30 Aug 2017

2015

full yellow robe. Has a big, bulky nose, with plentiful ripe white fruits, some mango, and exotic fruits, infused tea present. It’s a strong and currently demanding start. The palate wells up from within, is a powerful white, expressing sun drenched lands. It has a beefy charge, feels exerted, the flavour showing apricot, compote of stewed fruits. It requires sauced dishes, scaled flavours. 13.5°. 8,000 b. Bottled Jan 2016. 2027-29 Sept 2016

2014

yellow with minor green glints. The nose isn’t all as one, has an air of “high” fruit, baked bread, nuts, a note of reduction, is a bit clumsy. The palate bears a compote of white fruits with spice flavouring, ends on notes of barley sugar, tannin. Not a really convincing whole here. More for la table than aperitif. It can be decanted. 14°. 9,000 b. €33. Bottled Jan 2015. 2023-25  Oct 2015

2013 ()

yellow robe. Air of candy, lime fruit with its freshness, a hint of flowers, apricot and honey in a graceful, varied bouquet. This is quietly classy: it has good grip, good, sealed, tight fruit, and a genuine Clairette gras richness rolled inside. Food more than aperitif wine. Serve in a large glass to capture its full expression. It gives a very pretty spot of late juice, a combination of tangerine and nut, en finesse. Has good balance and is very appealing. It very cleverly combines genuine local varieties with accomplished freshness. Fine foods are deserved: lovely with turbot, monkfish - will handle the oily texture of that, cheese, Poulet de Bresse (free range chicken). 14°. 2025-27 Jan 2015, East Sussex Previously Oct 2014 **(*) pale yellow colour. Slightly herbal nose. Plenty of gras and glycerol on the palate but doesn’t quite sing. Lacks definition on the palate. Aromatic expression is subdued. 14°. 2021-22 JL Oct 2014

2012 No Rating

NOT TASTED, but only 4,000 b this year – crop ravaged by coulure at flowering.

2011 ()

fair yellow robe, legs. Aniseed, lemon, lemon curd (jam/paste) and pear aroma, a light air of brioche bread that adds stuffing: overall, there is an airborne elegance to the nose. The palate has a good, rolled-up flavour, runs on a round, spherical tune, extends with clear poise. Graceful wine, a good Châteauneuf blanc for fine foods, haute cuisine. The fruit is classy, well produced. A subtle wine that cloaks its qualities, will develop discreetly, with nice stealth. There is a touch of late oak, just a willing smudge of that. Grand. The Clairette has done very well. Can do aperitif in its youth also. 13°. Bottled Feb 2012, €30, 6,000 b this year. 2023-25 Dec 2012

2010

mild yellow robe. Nutty, hazelnut, tight aroma that is also spiced. Slight lactic note on palate, which has a low-key power about it. A bit wrapped up post-bottling. Fair richness within. From July 2011. To 2022 Bottled five days ago. March 2011

2009 ()

full yellow robe. Has a quietly discreet, still very young bouquet, wafts of lime-orange, with the Clairette touch of neutrality, and also in a dumb phase now. There’s toasting from oak, good purity. Air brings airs of furniture wax, almonds. This is stylish, resembles a mature Burgundy blanc, bears a really tasty orb of flavour at its centre, grapey and citrus together, with fine freshness, pitter patter from that. The length is excellent. This is Grand Vin blanc of the Rhône; the finesse is remarkable given the hot summer, the balance good. Ait intensifies the oak on the palate, bringing caramel, which is a touch distracting. 13.5°. 2030-32 Sept 2018

2008

the robe is a rather copious yellow colour. The aroma is spiced, buttery, ample – it shows oak, dried fruits, apricot airs. The palate is knit, agreeably full – it drinks well and robustly on its own, but the end power comes through into a muscular, wide finish. I find verbena (verveine) in the flavouring. This is definitely a southern white – full, unbridled, with fair finesse. The drawback is that it has a confected side from its cellar work and oaking, which leads it towards a candy and boiled sweets aspect in the taste. It has been made in the more international style, is weighty, chunky and suited to food, la table, rather than solo drinking. 13.5°. 2019-21  May 2011 Previously Dec 2009 **(*) yellow, pale gold; roast chestnut, compact bouquet – not really giving a lot, possibly flan, wee spice airs. The palate is crunched together – the fruit and the oak. It moves along speedily, is not yet at a calm stage. It is capable of integration, has gras. Roussanne appears present here – especially noticeable on the finish – glazed fruits, hazelnut (tasted blind). Rather a cellar child, a worked on wine. From mid-2011. 2018-19 Dec 2009

2007 ()

subdued bouquet – shows some honey-butter and a bit of oak – the aroma grips the end of the nose, as it were. There is a rich leaning on the palate, this is a wine of solid heart, best with food. 2015-18. Bottled Feb 2008. June 2008

2005 ()

quite a yellow tint; butter, light spice top note on bouquet, with a definite oak presence that comes through as a toasted bread effect, and, yes, oak. The palate is round and easy, but lacks true core from half way, as if young vines are supplying the crop. The texture is supple. Does more at the start than the end, and tightens with the oak on top on the aftertaste. 2011-13 April 2007