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The Wines

99.9% Marsanne, 0.1% Roussanne (50% 1950s-1960s, 50% 1900s) from Les Rocoules, cool decantation, fermented, raised 1-2-3 year 228-litre oak casks, lees stirred, 7 months, then vat raised 4 months, malo completed, (until 2003 was 3-4 year oak 6-8 months), 600-2,000 b

2018 ()

(cask) gold-flecked full yellow robe; the nose is subdued, withdrawn, gives a buttery, crème caramel aroma, a note of white raisin attached. The palate carries obvious richness, is a little bit clumsy, has heart and local strength. It shows the clamped down aspect of the Marsanne, and will need time to get it moving. From 2022-23, decant it. 2035-37 Nov 2019

2017

(casks) firm yellow colour; the bouquet is elegantly rich, bears cooked citrus fruit airs, a nod of the head towards the tropics, pineapple included. The palate is nice and cool all though, gives a stylish richness, the texture silken. It ends with a roundness that pleases, is well co-ordinated, detailed and flowing white Hermitage. The aftertaste is buttery. From spring 2020. 2035-37 Dec 2018

2016

(casks) the yellow robe is pretty full. The nose is reserved, has a sweet toffee aroma, with a core of grapey, nectarine fruit that is ripe. There is a nudge of cooler cooked lemon, citrus. The palate is fat and constant, has a smooth texture, and prolongs well, coasting along on its richness and some neat juice. The aftertaste is grapey, smoky, interesting, has a rocky tang like a red wine from the granite. This is a wine of hidden corners, one to explore in calm surroundings, with a dish based on veal, pork. From mid-2018. 2030-32 Nov 2017

2015 ()

(cask) shiny yellow robe, legs visible. The bouquet is substantial, has a wide scape, airs of peach and mango, apricot, also flan: it has really good potential. The content is handsome here, has plenty of heart. Stewed fruits are delivered, the length elegant, the flavour suggesting nut and pear. There is top finesse in its gras. The finish is lip smacking. It is STGT wine that is cool, and gives no sense of degree. 14.3°. From 2018. 2026-28  Dec 2015

2013

yellow, firm colour. Salted, apricot, acacia flowers, white peach airs circulate – this is a lovely, serene nose. This has a textured, gras debut, a  bonny silken greeting. Nuts such as hazelnut and ginger come late on, and it grips quietly. This is good, calm wine that bears enjoyable gras. Its light nuttiness is gracefully delivered; it is genuine, stylish, en finesse. “It is closed; the impression is that it is very tight, and it benefits from breathing, and will become more ample and airborne,” Laurent Habrard. 2025-28  Dec 2015

2012 No Rating

this was tasted blind, and the label revealed it carries the title Ermitage lieu-dit Les Rocoules, so I think is another bottling from what I tasted before: full yellow robe; brown sugar, crème brûlée on an oxidative palate with a firm finale. Absence of fruit, this is a goner. 14°. May 2018 Previously Nov 2013 ****(*) rich yellow colour, sub gold. The bouquet mixes melted butter and hazelnut, an air of nectarine jam; its nuttiness is the controlling feature, one that keeps it in good check, prevents sloppiness. The palate richness is elegant, suave and smoothly textured, is pleasing. An authentic, discreet display of Marsanne, has a serene round shape. Very good heart; bingo with lobster, for example; it is helped by some aniseed grip on the finish. Very winning finesse and ease here, an STGT wine. 14°. From spring 2015. 2027-28  Nov 2013

2011

(casks) medium yellow. Has a licorice, aniseed front air, “spark” in it, apricot and hazelnut following. There is a sherry strength here, it is a big bundle, has character. The palate sets out cautiously; it has an oily, waxen nature, a mild coating of gras. Its instincts are rich and full-on – the table beckons, requiring full-flavoured dishes, white meats in sauce etc. It ends on orange marmalade, a touch of ginger from the Marsanne. Weighty, full and a bit violent. Decant this. From 2015. 2025-27  Nov 2012

2007

rich, golden colour; candy, bonbon sweets nose – runs right across the glass, is compact, comes with no “glints of light”, shows white raisin, vanilla – it is good and authentic. The palate has fire in its belly – the centre is intense, and a little bitter and acidity show up after half way. It has been decanted, but is not quite all together yet. Air composes it, brings it into line, rounds it. Fennel and pine nuts feature in the late flavours. This is a fine wine. Its variety of flavours renders it interesting – that is its greatest charm. It says 14° on the label, but I remember trying it on 3 Dec 2007 at 15.5°, with 7 gm sugar to finish – heading for 16°. 2021-23 Oct 2010

2006

orange marmalade, banana, exotic fruits and flan in a balanced aroma. Stylish content on the palate, an elegant wine, even if the oaking is noticeable. Alcohol pushes into contention late on, and some may ask for more stuffing. I'd be happier if 1-year oak were used, not new. Drink from 2010 for the oak to settle down and enter. There is good richness on the palate`s early stages. I regard this a good value at €20 the bottle. 2020-22 Dec 2007. 600 b - less in bottle these days, more sold to Guigal.

2002 ()

(casks) oily, pear/varnish nose; stylish gras, elegant, apricot/nuts. Sound potential 12+ years.

2001

rich gold robe; the early nose shows mandarin, butter, butterscotch – a deep-seated mixture, but the aroma also travels quietly across the glass, is fine. There are other notes of fennel, aniseed seeds, pear and deeper glazed fruits. A wine in evolution, thus. The palate is enclosed, wrapped, has a little Rancio in it, but is rich and calm. It is more obviously advanced than the varied, younger bouquet, is a bit limited and lacks some flamboyance. Its sights are being lowered, and it ends tamely. Against  the 2007 it is a shade rustic. The vinification is more precise these days. Open and drink now to 2013-14 October 2010, Paris Previously April 2004 **** quite fresh, elegant floral/butter nose; plump, tasty attack, exotic fruits. Light spice, fennel end. Stylish, great length. 2019-21 April 2004 Previously March 2003 *** oily, reserved bouquet - has a cheese/nut combo. Fine attack, then it tightens, is very direct. Robust, also chewy on finish, where there are oak traces. Decent structure, needs time, this is a take your time style of wine. Some end heat. 2018-21 March 2003

2000 ()

white stone fruit, butter/lime nose; sensuous, nicely full. Fruit has spiced edge. Rich, persistent. 2015-17