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The Wines

late 1970s Syrah from southern zone clay-limestone slopes on Les Pends at Mercurol, hand harvested, destemmed, 10-17 day vinification, pumping overs, part vat emptying/refilling, micro-oxygenation, aged used 600-litre oak casks & large barrel 12-15 months, fined, filtered, "drink with red meats, game", 15-20,000 b

2018 ()

(casks/barrel) dark red, black tints. The bouquet has a blackberry base, the fruit ripe and glistening. The palate is butty, filled, carries substance, with Southern notes of power and tapenade, a sense of chocolate, also. There is an axis of black cherry fruit at its centre. It’s a Big Numero, for the longer-term, comes across rather exerted in the cellar. From mid-2022. 2029-31 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks/large barrel) dark robe; the nose is oaked, nutty, has a clipped line of black fruit, an air of green olives present. The palate is thin on the start, channels a light muster of red fruits without conviction in the delivery. This fails to satisfy on the grounds of needing more richness. The finish is vegetal, dry. Maybe once it is bottled …. From 2020. 2025-26 Dec 2018

2016 ()

(casks/barrel) robe isn’t convincing, shows a modest rim. The nose has a bosky, caramel air, more from the woods than the fruit fields. The palate clinches tightly on the attack, has a varnish and rather bitter make-up, no real centre for now. The finish drifts. 12.5°. 20,000 b. To 2021 Nov 2017 2nd sample: is less bitter, but is escapist, light. Nov 2017

2015 ()

(large barrel) very dark robe. The nose is layered with black berry fruit, blueberry also, has a cool intensity, mixes that with some southern ripeness. The palate rolls well via juicy black fruits with a shimmer of freshness in the tannins, which help to extend it. This is going the right way, has a tasty gras centre. There is some knuckle in the late tannins, so wait until 2018. It’s a complete wine. 13°. 15,000 b. 2024-25 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(large barrel) dark robe; the nose is broad, curvy, has promise, gives a sunny stream of black berry fruit. The palate is tasty, leads on rolling black berry fruit with some freedom and dash about it. The finish is clear, a touch of menthol there. Well made, enjoyable wine. 12.5°. 20,000 b. To 2019  Oct 2015 

2013 ()

(casks/barrel) dark red robe; has a slightly grilled nose – it gives an aroma of black berry fruit which isn’t totally clear, has nutty smudges, a note of pork. The palate is a touch stretched, skips a beat; it feels as if the crop struggled for ripeness. The finish is grainy. Disparate parts in the glass here. 12.5°. 15,000 b. From 2016. To 2020  Jan 2015

2012

(casks/barrel) dark red; big oak grilling on the nose, which blocks access to the fruit which may resemble blackberry. Savoury, brambly fruit on the palate has rather a technical feel to it, isn’t at ease. It stiffens and straightens as the oak takes centre stage. Less oak, por favour. From late 2015, but  the oak-fruit ratio and its smoking is wrong. 12.5°. 15,000 b. To 2019  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(casks) rather dark. Mulled black berry fruits aroma, roasting and nuts, licorice – this has unfinished business. The palate is led by supple black berry fruit, a drift of vanilla and licorice, taking on a pebbly note. Has a fine floral thread through it. The fruit starts on a light tread, then becomes more crunchy at the end. Stylish wine that hasn’t gone for power. Promising elegance here. From 2014. 20,000 b. 2019-20  Nov 2012

 

2001 ()

rather stalky, nettly bouquet. Outcrops of black fruit, some oiliness. Obscure, not grip enough. Was better in cask. 2009 Previously (cask) *** fruit, nice earthy aroma; tight black fruit, decent matter, chewy finish. Punchy, has character. 2009-10

2000 ()

even stewed fruit plum aromas, leather; closed-up jam flavour; strawberry, light tar end. Looser from 2004. 2007-08

1999

warm, balanced nose - red fruits/prunes; compact red fruits, sound tannin. Good fruit thread. Nice mid age from late 2004. 2008-09