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The Wines

75-80% Grenache (1960s, mainly Les Bédines, Pignan), 10% Syrah, 5-7% Mourvèdre, 3-5% Cinsault from Pignan (N-E), Les Bédines (N-E), (Chapouin (N-E), Valori (N-E), sand/safre, clay-limestone soils with galet stones, all destemmed, 20 day steel vat vinification at up to 28°C, cap punching and pumping overs, raised concrete vat 15-18 months (until late 2000s was 18-24 months), unfined, light filtration, organic wine, 30-35,000 b

2018

(vat, bottling Dec 2019) dark, sustained robe; the bouquet is sturdy, only revealing a little of its potential today, prune fruit, an in-built oiliness, soaked black cherries. It’s a weighty opening. The palate is a bundle of southern offerings, a rich heart and black stone fruits deep inside. The fruit has flair, is very expressive. It ends with layering, holds up with rather thick tannins. There is a lip smacking aftertaste. From 2022-23, no hurry. It’s well fuelled, and will show more variety and nuance the longer you wait. 15°. 30,000 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 7% Mourv, 3% Cins. €22. 2042-44 Oct 2019

2017

(steel/concrete vat, bottling Dec 2018) dark red, full robe. The bouquet has a thick aspect in its fruit, shows mulled, long time simmered red fruits in style, liqueur to the fore. The palate is a gourmand affair, with tasty, open and easy red fruited content, a discreet layer of tannins riding in on the finish, a touch of grain and tar from them. This is authentic Châteauneuf, with a steady Grenache base, and likeable richness, the degree largely in check. The length is pretty good. 15°. 30,000 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 7% Mourv, 3% Cins. €22. From late-2020. 2040-42 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(vat, bottling Jan 2018) dark red robe. An intense bouquet here – sweet liqueur fruit, Dijon cassis, blueberry fruits, licorice, dark chocolate, a curve of sweetness obvious. The palate is darkly fruited, with smooth tannins and texture in a good cycle. It ends roundly, on its texture. The palate is good and consecutive, not over-weighty, has style. The aftertaste is also pretty clear, making it easier to drink than some 2016s. 15°. 30,000 b. €21. From mid-2019. 2036-39 Oct 2017

2015

dark red, handsome robe. Attractive nose here – raspberry coulis, thick mulberry, with a plumpness that is typical of Châteauneuf. The palate picks up well from the nose, gives a succulent display of red fruits with a winning curl of sweetness through to the rounded finish. Charming, with some inherent power, a good sunshine vintage wine. Really tasty, it’s a sing-song wine that will please across the board. Bottled already. 15°. From mid-2017. 2030-32  Sept 2016

2014 ()

(vat) full robe, black with the dark red. The nose is ripe, savoury, broad, offers a prominent and well filled black berry fruit, the product of warm lands. The palate attacks fully as well, with tasty and gourmand waves of slightly inky black berry fruit. Pleasure and vibrancy lie in the glass, no holding back. The tannins are mild for the most part, just clamping the long finish for now. All before it here. From 2018. 2031-33  Oct 2015

2013

(vat) medium+ depth of robe. Prune and red berry fruit on the nose with a slightly jammy overtone. The attack is sweet; it oozes fruit on the palate, but is a touch on the overripe side. Some firm, fresh tannins behind offer a bit of grip on the finish. Has mid-term ageing potential. From 2016. 15°. 2024-25 JL Oct 2014

2012

(vat) quite a sturdy red; there is an attractive smattering of garrigue herbs across the nose, and a genuine Grenache plum at its heart: it has strength, and the capacity to go on. The palate centres on spiced, sparky plum fruit with local power and kick on the aftertaste. The gras and tannin need two years to fit together, to fuse and to subdue the tannin. This is a bit streaky and chiselled on the finish now. From 2016. 14.5°, €19. 2025-26  Nov 2013

2011

(vat) shiny dark red; Has an attractive blackberry aroma that brings in tar, licorice, tea with a backdrop of dried soils, and depth from black raisin, Brazilian cafezinho. The palate starts on red cherry fruit, the fruit soaked in the style of griottes, with tobacco, smoke and fig seasoning after that. It travels into darker, more hidden and mature zones after half way, and the finish is terrestrial, deep and a bit scorched and tarry for now. There is a slight sense that this has been forced in the cellar, extraction a possible issue. Allow until 2015 to ease and integrate the final stages. 14.5°. 2026-27  Dec 2012

2010

bright, ripe red robe; promising nose that bears a restrained sweetness, with light touch red fruit jam – it is beau, has a wee smoky note behind. This is not a blockbuster style Châteauneuf – good. It accentuates a stylish, rather reserved for now drinkability. There is a nice, scented tannic spread, good juice in the tannins. Mild raisin-toffee exit. A good, classic, unpretentious Châteauneuf here. From late 2012, but it drinks quite openly now. 15°. 2029-31. “Its tannins are well integrated, similar to 2007, but there are also good acidities here like 2004`s. It is rare to have maturity and freshness in good step together,” Éric Bonnet. Bottled mid-Nov 2011. Jan 2012

2009

full-up robe, dark red; chocolate, oak-tar aroma, soaked black berries, cherries, plus a touch of dusty outcrops. The palate is juicy, a bit sappy, abundant right away, rocks along with sunny flow and delivery. Has a tidy spot of late tannin, licorice and oak – all set to fuse OK. A forward wine that is a bit simple, and has been bottled already. From mid-2011. 2017-19 Oct 2010

2008 ()

(vat) red robe, a few dark hues in it. Red fruit and raisin lead the nose – there are grilled, baked herbal notes underneath: it is quite deep, if not very clear as yet. The main feature on the palate is a line of red fruit that pierces along the palate – it moves swiftly with a lot of flesh or fat around it. It can make progress but will always be lithe. From mid-late 2011. A lack of body is apparent at the moment. 2017-18 Dec 2009

2007 ()

(vat) bonny, full red colour; has a liqueur fruit aroma – sweet, mulled red fruits such as raspberry – bring on the vanilla ice cream to go with it! There is a similar tenor of rich red fruit on the palate, that comes with a lot of early, open doors appeal. It tightens a shade on the finish. This is a curvaceous, buxom wine. Its cards are on the table, no hidden corners. There is some latent power. 2018-20 Nov 2008

2006 ()

black notes in a raspberry-coloured robe; the aroma reflects softly mulled berries, with a red, ripe berry tang, the Grenache leading the way stylistically. There is a soft, squeezy start to the palate, that has quite a lush, red jam taste before some ripe tannins come along and lend it a fruit pastille tone. Can be got on with early on, and ends in a rounded way. Accessible drinking, no real barriers at this young, open stage. Very much in the vein of this vintage. 2020-22 Nov 2007

2005

dark and quite bright robe; what seems like oak (but isn't) and sleek fruit nose with a tight nature, some olives and sweet tea here. Cherry fruit on the palate in the modern vein, and plenty of warm underlay. All suave n’sleek, from the modish oenologue school. The black fruits are fashionably clean and smooth. From 2009, and leave longer, say till 2010, if you want more terroir and local feel. 2021-24 Nov 2006

2004

quite a full red; laurel. Herbal aroma with some damp woods, mushroom underlay – there is berry fruit at its heart. Good, tight black fruit/licorice start, this pretty full and agreeable. Elegant weight, and has expressive, clear-cut fruit. Tannins need leaving till late 2007/early 2008. 2018-20 Oct 2006

2003 ()

quite deep robe, some matting. Bouquet shows brewed black fruit, bit of coffee, white pepper, red fruits, herbs. Palate starts with red stone fruits, sturdy later on. Has sinew, nerve. Black jam, violets here, white pepper spicing it up. Tannins well engrained. Pretty local feel. 2016-18 July 2005

2001 No Rating

plum red, light top. Settled, mature nose – mixes red meat, smoked meat with a ripe, late picked berry air – possible Brett here? The palate has a plum flavour, is of the soil, but dries from half way, and doesn`t convince. It has established matter in it, but this is not a good bottle. Pity. 15°. Nov 2008