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The Wines

75-85% 1889 and younger Grenache (av age 75 years) from Farguerol (N-W), with 10-15% Mourvèdre (Farguerol (N-W), Les Serres (S-E), 5-20% Syrah (1972 from Les Serres (S-E), 1st 20% whole bunch, next 80% destemmed (though not in 2015), 4 week vinification, part vat emptying/refilling, pumping overs, selected and assembled after 12 months, Grenache vat-raised, Mourvèdre aged new-1 year 228-litre oak casks, Syrah new-1 year 228-litre oak casks for 18 months, first wine 1989, made in 1989, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2016, “I created Centenaire because in the 1980s I felt that Châteauneuf was underestimated – the French press didn’t like us, Parisians said we were too heavy, etc; the French only liked Bordeaux and Burgundy,” André Brunel, 3-5,000 b

2018

(vat/casks, “to show it to you if we issue it”) appealing red robe; there is light grilling, sun strength on the nose, red berry fruit, density implicit. It carries the hot sun of 2018 in it, has floral strength. The palate is close-knit, a power hum in it, plum fruits, savoury moments; it’s very much in a primary state, bears a lot of unfinished business, is a muscled wine. There is good squelchy thoroughness on the close. It’s not in line with the finesse of the usual Centenaires – if it is issued. This needs much time. From 2025. 2051-53 May 2019

2017

(vat/casks, “to show it to you if we issue it”) attractive red robe; the bouquet has red cherry fruit aroma, is serene and well set, its purity exceptional, with touches of mixed herbs. The palate gives an effortless link to the nose, is really savoury with a silken texture, extended length, the pitter patter of tiny feet. This lovely, becoming wine. Much superior tannins are really well entered, more so than with most 2017s – this is a high quality 2017 by some way over the others. The tannins have a supple furriness, an appealing, velvet couch. “We didn’t expect this good result, veen after my 50 years of harvests. The wine could have been cooked with the drought. 2017 was a good test for the Grenache, and it passed,” André Brunel. From 2023. 2052-54 May 2019

2016

refined red robe; there’s a twinning of plum and strawberry on the nose, which is stylish, quite different from the muscular 2015 Centenaire and its obvious strength. It has a juvenile delicacy, and a classy serenity. There are hints of tobacco and garrigue herbs. The palate glides along well, holds lissom content, some inner glow, parades Grenache fineness. Red berry fruits lie low. The balance is top, striking, is a maxi elegant Châteauneuf, with detail in its delivery, small droplets. It has a full, effortless ending. This will not go into closed zones, corners – it will be like 1990, always open and sunny. “it’s almost a meal on its own; it marks the palate,” André Brunel. 14.5°. From 2026-27 to infuse its late glow. 2056-59 May 2019

2015 ()

has a thorough plum red colour; 2015 strength lies within the bouquet, which has grunt, a husky aroma, a suggestion – only - of plum fruit, which is withdrawn. There are notions of spice, coffee. The palate is muscular on the off, tightly coiled, gains depth and grip, grounding as it goes, ending firmly. This is manly, complete, not from Charm School. Thick juice stands at the helm, while the tannins also have weight, dimension, so it’s certainly a typical 2015 vintage wine. Take your time with it. It has good frame, potential, while pockets of iron late on are intriguing, adding to its interest. “The destemmer broke down the day we brought in its harvest, so this is 100% whole bunch!” André Brunel. Decant this. 14.5°. From 2025. 2050-53 May 2019

2012

(vat/casks, bottling Jan 2014 if bottled, which it wasn’t) dark robe; wide, soaked fruits air, sweet waves in a plump-centred bouquet, aromas of prune, plush fruiting. The palate has a scented intensity, a concentrated centre which is only just stirring now. It will unfurl a fat abundance over time – it will become more fluid the longer it is left. Comfortable tannins fit smoothly around it. Big scale wine with a pretty clear ending. From 2017-18. 2032-34  Nov 2013

2010

thick, dark plum robe, has a full, southern hue, suggests hot suns. There is a wide roll of aroma, a deep elegance, with a cool, mineral tint. It is led by its rich, cooked fruit more than its grain, mineral elements. This is a good, traditional Grenache with a dark, plum-fruited heart and blueberry fruit present. It is tight-knit towards the finish, with muscled power there; it ends vigorously, is powerful and elegant at the same time, a mouth-filler with a smooth texture. It ends on raisin, mocha, prolongs a long way. Decant this. Noble and interesting, its finish aided by the Mourvèdre – good acidity there. “I don’t eat dishes of food with this – I just drink it!” André Brunel. Bottled July 2012. 15°. 3,000 b this year. 2038-41 Dec 2012

2007

(vat/cask) full, fairly bright plum red; there is a refined, floral curve on the nose – this ticks along persistently, and there is ripe raspberry in the air, and barely a hint of garrigue, so pure is it. The palate has a good heart – simmered red fruits, small red berries for instance, and a floral air. There is a nice, measured coating to the palate that runs down both sides, the length is good, too – the wine comes to a gentle halt, in the form of toffee and white raisin. Great elegance here. It is a bit subdued today, like the classic, but is tightening and showing very beau persistence and elegance. There is a minor note of late heat (is over 15°). From 2011. 2033-35. 4,000 b this year. Nov 2008

2006

(assemblage) full, black tones in the robe, is thorough in depth. Wide, raisin-tinted nose with a plum, mulberry combo, its softly mulled fruits are nice and very typical with a little floral trimming. There is the merest hint of alcohol on the bouquet, via a raisin, plum kirsch air. There is then a great strike of richness on the palate, with a real, persistent depth. Ends with a liqueur coffee note. The richness is not at all forced, is naturally delivered. Bits of pepper and licorice late on, the balance is good. The tannins are well entered, and have a peppery texture. Well over 15°. 82% Grenache, 18% Syrah this year 3,000 b Nov 2007

2005

full, quite bright red with appealing hue; red jam with a good heart and a peppery outer casing, has a willing roundness. Flirts with elegance, is reserved but suggestive, has a little earthiness. The palate's red fruits have a lithe core, are very well cut, well-defined and the texture is clear and expressive. Its red fruit is wide and is subtly rich, too. Flows well. Has outcrops of pepper late on. Classy wine. It ends with a pretty sprinkle of flowers. From 2011. 14.5°. 2032-36 85% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah this year. Nov 2007

2003 ()

evolving, thorough red robe with some ruby at the top. Menthol and coffee mix on the nose, also raspberry with some verve and a latent oiliness. The texture is rich and oily at the start of the palate, where there is plenty of depth. Late on it gains ground coffee, prune and syrup notes. Flavours are spiced plum, “dark” in nature. Some late fire comes through, and it ends on a more mineral texture. Its flow is uneven at this stage. I would suggest it could regroup and emerge better around 2009; there is the suspicion of transition today. 14.5°. 2021-24 Oct 2007, London Previously July 2005 ****(*) rich, touch herbal bouquet, basket of bounty, plenty of variety to be expressed - violet, light pepper, flowers. Immediately elegant palate, very silken texture. Red fruits gather intensity through the palate, contrary to usual. Broad towards the finish, tannins there. Fruit is ripe but very measured. Quite potent on the aftertaste. Interesting diversity of flavour here. 2023-25 July 2005