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The Wines

Syrah from Les Côtes inc some 1911, part destemmed, 3-week open concrete vat vinification, wild yeasts, daily pumping overs, cap punchings, malolactic fermentation in cask, aged 50-60% new, 40-50% 1-year 225-litre oak casks 18 months, egg white fined, filtered, called Lieu-dit Les Côtes since 2015, Les Vires before then, "drink with red meats, lamb, duck", 2,500-3,500 b

2015

(cask) bold, very deep robe. The bouquet gives a lightly sweet, ripe blackberry fruit aroma, with Marmite, yeast stock depth, a sense of damp forest. The fruit is almost liqueur in style. The palate runs with cool black fruits and still stark tannin and their zip. It’s still a shell of a wine, so leave until 2019. The finish is cool, well done. 2029-31 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(casks) full robe; the nose has an air of meat stock, a savoury nature, with oak-resin, licorice and a cool note of black cherry. It is less flamboyant than many 2014s. The palate starts cautiously, then develops a small wave of dark red berry fruit and some punchy tannins. This needs time to draw together different elements. The aftertaste produces a little flavour of herbs such as rosemary. 13°. From 2018. 2027-28  Oct 2015

2013

(casks) dark robe. There is good lift in the nose, buzzy black fruit, wee mulberry, a sense of dark chocolate – it is confident, wide, still a bit square. The palate is buttoned up, based on sleek fruit, tight content. It has been well made, has vineyard-inspired depth, suggesting old vines, and runs nice and straight. It grips all along the palate. This is from a good central zone, is a modern Cornas with chocolate-oak tints on the aftertaste. 13°. Only 2,500 b this year. From mid-2017. 2027-29  Jan 2015

2012 ()

(casks) shiny, full dark red. Has a grilled, “large” bouquet, a mulled, deep fruit inlay with light floral traces – this is a round, potentially stylish bouquet, blackberry at its heart. The palate is generous, tightly focused, starts on ripe red fruits, ends on them, with a liqueur style present. There is a steady, good intake of fine grain tannin after half way: it stokes up its fires from within. The acidity lies a little on the outside as it finishes, tapers a touch as it closes. 13°. From 2016. 2026-28  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(casks) pretty dark robe. Scented, mulled, mulberry fruit aroma with a plush leaning. There are hints of vegetal in the palate – the fruit seems a little stretched on this cask sample. It ends on a fine grain, dusty tannin, and lacks the hauteur of the best Cornas. Retaste post bottling. From 2014. 2021-22 Nov 2012

2010 ()

(casks) quite a dark robe; oak-smoke air above a crisp, tarry aroma with black fruit present – the fruit is mulled and rather prune-like, also shows violet. The palate has a fleshy start, plenty of red berry, the fruit supple until it takes on a gamey, more grounded aspect towards the finish. This has the supple, bendy features of the vintage. It ends in a round curve, and is not really terroir-connected, is more a Syrah wine for now. From spring 2013. 2020-24 Nov 2011

2009 ()

(casks) rather dark robe. Closed in, smoky bacon, black berry fruit aroma – it is quite wide, has a modern impulse. Supple attack, with rather fleshy black fruit that is a little temporary. Could have more foundation, rather skates along. A safe, cleaned-up version of Cornas. From 2013 for less oak, more feel of the place. Length is OK. 2019-21 Nov 2010

2008

pretty, full dark robe, purple at top. Oak simmers away on the front nose, has crunchy black fruit behind. It softens quite fast with air and warmth. Good line of black fruit through the palate – it moves long with purpose, shows flashes of pretty black juice. Violet and polished black leather on the aftertaste with tar from its oaking. Balance is OK, has the elements to do quite well – from mid-2011. As it warms, it becomes a bit sweet-sickly. 2019-20 Dec 2009

2007 ()

soft red colour, OK. Oily, slightly “high” red fruit air – good packing in the bouquet. Acetate lurks on the palate – it has that rather metallic siding, a stern effect. Red fruit is stretched a bit, finishes edgily. Not sure where next. Swerve the best policy. 12.5°. 2017-19  March 2011  Previously Dec 2008 ** dark robe; violet aroma with a rather yeasty side – something of brioche bread and raisin in together. The palate has a rather taut siding, with a mix of acetate and black fruit. Gamey, yeasty on the finish; it holds matter, but is raw now, and not yet connected. The dry finish is a concern. Review when bottled. From 2011. 2017-18 Dec 2008

2006

full black robe; dense, beef stock, ripe black fruits nose, some interior sweetness, violets in the air – sweet impression left. Soft fruits start to the palate, followed by some peppering, and then a floral aftertaste. This has some local clarity, is a seductive sort of Cornas – a “don't scare the horses” style of wine. The tannins are ripe, so can be drunk soon. 2014-16 Dec 2007