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The Wines

1930s, 1997 Syrah from south-facing rotted granite soils on the hill Les Picaudières in northern sector at Gervans, hand harvested, destemmed, 3-4 week vinification, twice daily pumping overs, aged 30-70% new (5%), 1-5 year 228-litre oak casks, 30-60% steel vat 16 months (before early 2010s aged 20% new, 80% 2-5 year oak casks 12-14 months), filtered, first year 1996, 3-4,500 b

2019 ()

(steel vat) very dark; the aroma is bright, has a real upbeat line of mixed red and black berries, is racy and fulfilling, raspberry and rose also on the premises. The palate has gusto, lively fruit on springs, is energetic, keeps iron and length, holds real good structure, is based on surprising freshness, good definition in the red fruit, a true Northern Rhône, and the red fruit of its place within Crozes. This has lovely potential, is Rock n’Roll wine with structure at the same time as the fun and games. “It’s floral, fresh, on red fruits,” Stéphane Rousset. 20-25 years Feb 2020

2018

(tank) dark robe; the nose is multi-layered, a black fruit fest, cassis de Dijon liqueur, that sort of depth, is oily, has a low-key violet presence. The palate has an aromatic burst on the attack, gives a broad display, with pockets of spark aided by the stems, with good late thrust that really helps, giving the wine an extra spur, and changing the texture well. This sports serious pedigree within a hot year. It’s notably long. “The first year I have included some stems – 20%, which I didn’t repeat in 2019 – to bring freshness, and the 30 day vinification was longer than usual. The stems bring more structure, and potassium,” Stéphane Rousset. It’s 14.5° to 15°, note. It hovers close to ****(*). From 2022-23. 2039-42 Feb 2020 GB £80/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017

dark red; raspberry with a coulis style, quiet depth on the nose, which is just emerging. The palate bears its usual aromatic-floral-rose petal inclination, with crushed red berries, a note of oak from half way, which adds thickness. Good precision lies at its heart, while its iron thread is very good, interesting. It’s always a joy to encounter this, a pointilliste, pinpoint wine. The aftertaste produces tar, smoke, ash. It’s one for the Thinkers. 3,000 b. Bottled May 2019. 30% vat raising. From 2022. 2033-35 Feb 2020

2016

(casks) dark red, black tints. This has a great bouquet, a real buzzy tone to it, smoky bacon, cool black berry fruits, Indian tea, lead pencil. The palate gives a rocky fissure stream of black fruits with stylish, cool elegance, and extremely refined fruits. It lengthens with a serene, poised display of cool fruits. This is a long way ahead of most of the southern plain sector Crozes wines. It’s right up there with the noble granite wines of the right bank. Total STGT wine here, an ace in the pack. 13°. 4,000 b. From mid-2019. 2032-34 Nov 2017

2013

(casks) dark robe. This has an assured, restrained, red-fruited nose, nothing obvious about it; there are notes of darkness, licorice, pumice stone within. The palate is almost chunky, has a sealed up nature, is pervaded with live, chalk-grain tannins that add interest. It just escapes being vegetal. It has a salted late note. The finish is serious, and correctly builds depth from the earlier moments. Lots of interest here for the real Rhône enthusiasts. 13°. 3,500 b. Decant it, wait until spring 2017. 2030-32 Jan 2015

2012 ()

(casks) dark robe. Lissom, broad and smooth layer of black berry fruit that persists in attractive fashion on the nose – a genuine trail is offered here. It has the potential to offer plenty in 4 years, for instance, say around 2017. The palate is close-knit; it has a sound heart of black berry, aromatic fruit, while the tannins grip with a firm note, so the end is tenacious, tight, but has gras present. A Crozes to drink in the second stage of its life, from 2016-17 in order to have tickled out its virtues. The aftertaste is smoky and rock-bearing. The fruit goes long here. Good wine. 13°. 3,000 b this year. 2028-30  Nov 2013

2010

(casks) shiny, dark. There is a sweet note in the blackberry fruit aroma; it has scented airs, a little grain in it, and is reductive. Supple and fruited palate – the taste curves out well, and sustains its juicy blackberry, until a sign-off of grainy tannin that closes it correctly. The first half has fine intensity in its black fruit. Approachable, light touch wine that is all very harmonious. 2023-25 Nov 2011

2009 ()

(casks) complete robe; charcoal airs in a full bouquet, a secure setting of black fruit lies within, all stations go if left for around 2+ years – there are black olive, savoury notes from the sunny climate. Good forward momentum on the palate, whose black fruit has a mineral influence, a spark or two of clarity, suggesting the Northern Zone (tasted blind). Good length, a promising wine that is potentially stylish, has a lot going for it. It will show less oak by 2013. No doubt sourced from quality terroir. 2026-28 Nov 2010

2007 ()

(casks/vat) full robe; smoky, iodine, upright but wide aroma with mineral tints in it – menthol, tea leaves. The palate is led by red fruit with a typical local mineral glint in its eye. It ends directly, showing black cherry flavour in the modern style; the length is confident, the aftertaste oak-flecked. Needs leaving until late-2010. 2023-25 Dec 2008

2006 ()

red, plum colour, a touch of advance. Attractive, floral, graceful nose – a nice criss-cross of red fruits. The palate is finely done, with mainly suave tannins, just a little bite. Drinks OK now, ends on tar, red berry before that. Gentle, rather refined length. It's out of the usual Crozes loop, is a stylish, filigree wine. 2018-20 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2007 ** (cask sample) the matt robe does not set up a good prelude. Has a perfumato, soupy, cooked fruits aroma with raspberry to the fore, and some stalky, vegetal elements, too. The red fruit on the palate is a little degraded – not that fresh or pure, and is rather narrow. We need more uplift all round here, and it ends soon. Not yet in bottle, so this needs review later on. Try from mid-2009. Dec 2007

2005 ()

full, mainly black robe; the immediate impression on the bouquet is of its full content – there is a ripe fruit bounty and amplitude here. There is a brewed tea aroma, and this comes from the modern school. The palate rocks along with a smooth texture, once again there is a modern feel; the length is good, a little pebbly, as one would expect from the vintage and the northern zone place. There is violet in the flavour. The wine is an ensemble now – not what I recall when tasting it before. It ends roundly, with tannins still there. I wonder if it will close down. It is still young and innocent, although it has lost some of its tannin. 2021-23 June 2008 Previously Dec 2006 **** dark, full robe; has a pleasant sideways aroma across the glass, with oily, stone fruit that is ripe and herbal: the fruits are red and are mixed with some tea leaves, scented tea. The palate starts with suave red fruit, and an insertion of tannins from half way: gains chew and nutty black fruit as it goes. Has a good supple feel in the making, and represents its granite, northern sector faithfully – the restraint more than the southern sector exuberance. From 2009. 2020-22 Dec 2006

2004

caramel, black fruits nose which is still young, there is some depth of potential, but it is baked and tends to the extreme. Fruit is red berries with some nerve running through it, clean finish with licorice present. The fruit risks tiring, and loses grip with the air. Not in the line of the confident, best vintages from this top vineyard. Low-key this year, as per most of Crozes. 2014-16 April 2006

2003 ()

(cask) scented, upright black fruit aroma, some alcohol, power. Direct black berry fruit flavour, plenty of vigour, clean winemaking. Oak edging. Gains earthiness, local feel through the palate. 2007 on, oak within by 2008. 2020-23

2002

earthy, lightly truffled aroma, with black berry/raspberry. Black fruit attack, chewy after it with oak impact. A wine for its second phase, needs patience. Berried, truffly aftertaste, has length. 2006 on. 2016-18

2001

raspberry/blackcurrant, bit fungal nose; structured black berry fruit, stylish, with potential. Light peppery tannins, cool textured finale. Length good. From 2006. Serious wine. 2020-22

2000

grilled, sappy black fruit, mineral edge nose. Grilled black berry fruit, with grain/bone. Light tar end, fruit persists. Mineral, light violet end. Has character. 2016-18

1999

reserved, brooding black fruit/peppery/meaty nose. Very full, tight-knit, rich wine, animal touches. Slight mineral aftertaste. Tannins well involved, stylish depth. From 2006. 2020-23