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The Wines

80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre from clay-limestone, compacted sand/safre, galet stone covered soils at Courthézon, part destemmed, 45 day concrete vat vinification at 22-23°C, pumping overs, lees worked, aged 30-70% concrete vat, 30-70% 1-2-3 year 228-litre oak casks 14-18 months, unfined, unfiltered, called Côte Capelan before mid-2010s, 2,500 b

2016

(vat/cask) full, dark red colour, has a rich aspect. Black raisin and blueberry fruits and sweet herbs circulate on the nose, plus charcoal, a pine-basil-varnish angle. The palate bears streamlined black berry fruits that travel with gusto, and leap on towards the finish, which also has a charcoal presence. The aftertaste is smoky. This is racy, modern Châteauneuf with a lively presence in the glass. I’d like the oak to settle in further, so wait until 2021. 14.5°. 2,500 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv. 30% concrete vat raising. €51.80. 2035-37 Oct 2017

2015

(vat/casks) dark sheen, dark robe. The nose centres on soaked fruits with a dampness attached, black cherries and blackberries to the fore. The palate holds stylish, wavy content, the juicy fruit freewheeling well into a safe corral of ripe, squeezy tannin on the finish. The aftertaste is grainy still, with some mixed, dried herbes de Provence. This is a rounded, pleasurable, textured Châteauneuf for serving in a large glass. 14.5°. From 2019. 2030-32 Sept 2016

2009

(vat/cask) dark robe; wide, cocoa style aroma – the fruit reflects prune, cooked plum, soaked red fruits, with tobacco and licorice to snap it up. Varietal influences dominate over terroir. Dips of black fruit are juicy and obvious here – it has a deliberate style with very ripe fruit and “impressive” richness. The trouble is, at one year old, it already has secondary connotations such as damp woods, and soaked black cherries. From late 2012. 2019-21 Oct 2010

2008

(vat/cask) red, some black traces. Sweet, ripe, almost droopy, near dessert wine air to the bouquet – chocolate, also mineral, plums and Bovril beef stock. There is gentle roundness in the fruit and palate: it gathers some fine tannins, but is a bit dusty on the end for now. A sipping wine made in the new fashion of very ripe fruit picking, then a long maceration – the result is a cumbersome, not free-flowing wine. Late tar and mocha here. 2016-17 Nov 2009

2007 ()

mild top to the robe, light red there. Chocolate, raisin-date, Christmas cake aroma – “sip me” not “drink me” early warning. This is a sweet tooth wine, has Port instincts, the sweetness is prevalent all through it. Too much of this will endure a knock out blow – has had a lot of effort thrown at it, max ripeness etc. The choice of dish is limited to big, earthy flavours. Has a black jam, prune aftertaste. Only two years old, and there is a complete absence of light relief here. 2018-19 Nov 2009

2005 ()

dark plum, cherry, bright robe; has a nutted, black fruits nose with a sappy tendency, and some sous-bois, damp woods coming into it. The palate black fruits have a clean style and persist in that streamlined way, all the way through, rendering it elegant overall. Gains some tannin at the end. The fruit is markedly ripe, so not pristine in nature. Has decent juice through it. The aftertaste is herbal. Drink now to 2016-17. June 2008