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The Wines

from La Caille, 1957 Viognier, extra ripe grapes, fermented, raised 25% new, 75% 2-6 year oak casks (75% 225-litres, 25% 400-litres) 12 months, malo usually done, 7,000 b

2018 ()

yellow robe; the bouquet is detailed, has discreet contributors, raisin, cooked lemon, apricot, caramel, vanilla. The attack is stylish, very elegant, the texture suave and flowing; it gathers a little discreet freshness and grip in a most calm, well furnished finish. High marks for elegance in this demanding vintage. It can expand further with time. 14.5°, but doesn’t show that, is a good ensemble. 2028-30 Dec 2019

2017

full, gleaming yellow robe; the bouquet serves brioche bread, airs of glazed fruits, ginger, infused herbal tea. The palate is enjoyable, based on stylish richness with a suave feel, plump moments but good definition also. There are apricot, citrus touches along its path, with salted moments on the close, that contribute life. It carries tropical, exotic fruits, papaya for example in the late stages. This has achieved elegance despite the sun and drought, well done, Christine! The finish is delightful, so refined that you want another sip. 14°. 2027-28 Dec 2019

2016

yellow robe; the bouquet has ripe depth, alleviated by fresh fruits such as quince, with apricot, hints of aniseed. It’s in a calm phase, past the first ebullience. The palate bears elegant, rich content, with a very good stream of tangy fruits along the second half, delivers a pitter patter of detail, comes with clarity, salt on the close. The progress in depth that it makes along the palate is good. The aftertaste is still full, near robust. 13.5°. 2027-29 Dec 2019

2015

yellow robe, shiny and thick. The bouquet brims with ripe potential, vanilla pod, crushed white plum, thyme, a southern hover about it. The palate has a coated debut, and runs with commendable liberty, albeit a density all through. There is a lip smacking finish; this is weighted wine, with fine edges, and its oak is interesting, since it adds a definition along the sides, a useful role. The flavour is nutty, with nectarine and apricot. It will emerge more over time (bottled early Dec 2016). Serve in a large glass after decanting it. 14.5° points to the strength of this warm vintage. 2025-26 July 2017

2014 ()

yellow robe. Pear, white plum aromas circulate on the nose, a suave apricot, has a serene depth. The palate has a juicy and refined start, with much crystalline quality. There is a pronounced honeysuckle and wispy floral presence, amidst the super elegant content. Aniseed and its relation fennel show on the close. This is silken, precise. 14°. 2026-28 Oct 2016 Previously Dec 2015 **** quite a firm yellow colour. Pear notably shows on the nose, also white tobacco, the pear cooked in syrup – hence the aroma is ripe, plump. There are also ripe apricot airs, a hint of barley sugar. There is plenty more openness and variety to come on the bouquet. This holds stylish, wavy content, has a flavour of white peach with notes of caramel. It is smoothly textured, with a serene run after half way, ending nicely rounded, quietly fresh. This is calm, holds supple gras. It needs time to show more, and express more. Decant it: it requires prising open. 14°. From spring 2017. 2025-27  Dec 2015

2013

quite a firm yellow robe, legs visible. There is an enjoyable dance of life in the nose – it gives airs of toast, dustiness, nut paste, apricot jam, and a subtle white strawberry. The palate sets off well, attacks on comely, immediate compote white fruits, which are followed by a clean, licorice stretch that renders the finish clean and complete. This is giving plenty now. It has the glycerol for butter sauces. It is a mite richer, more obviously so, than the 2012. 13.8°. 2023-24  Apr 2015

2012

quite a firm yellow, legs. The nose is broad, with streamlined fruit, a jam of white fruits, apricot, a sense of vanilla, crème patisserie. It is a little in its shell just now. The palate has a sedate pace: it centres on a rather fleshy gras, a ball of stewed, compote fruits wirh a brief, fresh trail as it closes. We are at transition time between youth and its second coming, so decant if drinking now. Try from spring 2016. The finish is precise, almost dainty, after the mid-palate richness. This has very good acidity and clarity. 13.5°. 2022-24  Apr 2015

2011

sound yellow, legs down the glass. Has an open, rather showy bouquet, a mix of honey, vanilla and cooked fruits, has a savoury aspect, a mixed bouquet that is in transition. The palate has a  tight-knit but full debut, the texture of gras at its centre. It is less precise than the 2012, is a food wine with its stewed fruits nature rather sunny rather than cool. The length is sound. It offers a rich mid palate moment that works well, especially with asparagus, veal dishes, for instance. It continues quietly. From spring 2015, and it can rise from then. “Les Chaillées after bottling is often better than Vernon, then it tones down,” Christine Vernay. This was bottled 10 months ago. Give it time and it becomes 4 star wine. 13.5°. 2021-23  Nov 2013

2010

pale yellow; very attractive, underplayed quality bouquet that has a delicate mineral grain with an undernote of nicely ripe pear – great purity and finesse are the first impressions. The palate is discreetly solid and compact, with flavour such as bergamot and mandarin. The texture is rich and oily but the thread of freshness is subtle and gives the wine good order. Lovely wine, still young, full of grip. It ends on good firm notes with flair in the fruit and an extra depth of a waxen nature. Top balance. 14.5°. 2026-28. “We bottled this three weeks ago, and I am quite content – fermentations were a bit long, but ended well. It is not far off 15°, but has a spine and is balanced,” Christine Vernay. Feb 2012

2009

off yellow, creamy colour; cooked pear aroma with a substantial nature on the nose – shows flan, white pepper and juniper, the last bringing an association with degree in the wine. The palate is beefy from the start, the first texture quite oily. Richness is followed by an emerging line of power, a near eau de vie influence. Rather dumb, just bottled. Needs food, and decant this as well. Lobster in sauce suited, Vieille France cuisine dishes. It is a wine to sip rather than being free drinking. I like the attack, which is rich and oily, but it is a bit loose after that. 14.5°. 2020-21 June 2011

2008 ()

even yellow robe; light banana-pear notes on the nose, which is air-filled vis-à-vis the 2009 vintage style, has spiced moments, a “glisten” of mineral – almost sandy soil glints, tangerine. The palate has a fine structure – comes with firm, sinewed sides, is tight-knit within. It moves along to a honeyed, vanilla aftertaste. There are moments of gras, but this is not really out and going, is reserved on the palate. A touch more gras would be welcome. Finishes freshly. Decant this. From mid-2011. I reckon it would be great with asparagus next May. “There are white flowers on the nose, very belle salinity,” Christine Vernay. Nov 2010

2007

tender yellow, very pale banana, wide and rock-like nose – a mattress of white fruit here, compact brioche baked bread, white fruits, pineapple. The palate is knit, and a meaty chewiness enters from half way, the wine ending on a serious note – this is a feet on the ground do, with the flavour of spiced white fruits, fennel at the end, a clear strike there. It is robust but clear-cut. It shows the pear association of the Viognier grape. 2018-19 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 ***(*) pale yellow. The bouquet has a tangy top air, with a buttery layer underneath, the bite is like quince and spice, lime and ginger. The palate has a broad front, a full and suave texture, is wrapped up, with refined depth. It keeps on well, is long. Bottled just 1 week. Decant this if drinking before 2010. 14°. From late 2009. To 2016. Dec 2008

2006

soft nose that is lightly buttered, with a little lime tart tang and a late pear nuance, plus a touch of spice. There is gracious richness at the start, then a careful mid-palate. This is a wine of some reserve, based on the usual refinement of the house. Dried fruit comes through in a tight-knit finale. It's a bit more intense than the Terrasses 2006. It is over 14°, but that is not noticeable. To 2014. Jan 2008

2005

yellow, still steady robe. The bouquet is almost like a Marsanne, but is more fragrant than that – shows Melba toast, vanilla, apricot, hazelnut and honey. There is also fennel/licorice. The palate has a close-knit fabric, is a tight wine of structure, with only a little glimmer of light at the end. “It is firm, like our 2005 reds today,” C.Vernay. Dried apricot-plum fruits feature on the palate. It ends freshly, with body there, too. From mid to late 2009. It is tasty near the end, softening as it goes, so decant this. 14°. 2018-19 Dec 2008

2004

not a great moment to taste this, I consider, and it is probably better than the following note: toast/oak top note on an ample bouquet, with baked fruit pie, flan underlay, some bonbon, high tone. Firm, bit dried flavour here, is taut in mid-palate. A little licorice or fennel on finish, with an orange taste to it. Softer by 2007, there is some end richness. To 2012. April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 ***(*) pear, pear skin aroma with baked apple, white stone fruits, some spice. Peach flavour, some dried fruits with a rich interior. Gains minerality towards finish. Long, quite live finish. 2014-16

2003

(cask) scented, apple aroma, nice light touch here. Quite firm palate, restrained texture with brooding power. Can become rich without looseness. Correct length, rich elegance, ways to go. 2012-14

2002

pear aroma, fair potential; slightly tart start, but has some flesh, and on the finale. Apple/fruit skin taste. From 2005. 2010-12

2001

nicely weighted, broad pear aroma, promising; mixed dried fruits, touch flat. Sound length, tightens well. Shows potential. Elegance/quiet power mixed, good nuances here. 2004 on.

2000 ()

bouquet has moved from butterscotch/pineapple to apricot/butter and is more mineral, less opulent. Broad rather than deep wine, creamy texture, has a full, slightly roasted content. Clean, nutty end. Length always good here.