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The Wines

95-100% 1902 Grenache, 0-5% Syrah from sandy soils on 2-3 plots, from 2006 vinified in oak, whole bunch 3-4 week tronconic oak vat vinification, pumping overs, aged 30% new, 40% 1-year, 30% 2-3 year old 228-litre oak casks 12 months, first wine 2003, unfined, unfiltered, biodynamic wine, 2,500-3,000 b

2018 ()

(casks) full red robe; the nose smoulders, has a charcoal-oak top air with dense black stone fruit within, a real dive of depth. The palate bears stylish, generous content, continues with a very sure hand, hits the line with a near explosive certainty. It’s slightly off the wall, but compelling. The oak requires a few years to fuse; there is glow on the aftertaste, so this wild beast will be best left until 2027, for example. It’s a forceful, unbridled Gigondas. 95% Gren, 5% Syr. €60 at cellars. 2046-48 Feb 2020

2017 ()

(casks) pretty full red robe; the nose is on reduction, with a beefy inlay, a robust dark red cherry aroma. It has potential. The palate veers towards kirsch in the flavour, and the sense of spirit that it carries. It is assertive, tenacious, tarry on the closing stages, and its elements aren’t yet in tune with one another. There is oak that needs infusing. This carries the signature of the hot drought. 95% Gren, 5% Syr. From 2022. 2038-41 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(casks) dark, black-tinted robe. The bouquet is sturdy and wide, evokes roast beef, a thick layer of black berry fruit, prunes, licorice. The palate is broad, abundant, never lets you relax thanks to its insistent drumroll of smoky, tangy black fruited content. It’s dark, has a ground force, is wine from the soil up. Oak comes through on the really solid finish. Decanting advised. From 2023. 2039-42 Oct 2017

2014

(casks) full red robe. The nose gives an air of soaked plums, an inherent ripeness in play with some toasted oak. It leans towards generosity. The palate is liberally juiced, develops overt oak thrust on the late stages. This holds fluid gras and runs with freedom. The oak needs to infuse; wait until 2019, no hurry. It will be open and gourmand, well textured. 14.5°. 2,600 b. €39 at the cellars. 2032-34  Dec 2015

2013

quite a dark red robe. The bouquet expresses a jolie garrigue, mixed herbs aroma, with a little tenderness about it. The fruit resembles cooked damson plums, a note of cassis. Oak is also present. The palate is shapely, the attack showing a low-key Grenache gras richness, before it takes on more charcoal-inspired tannins and a note of breeze, lift, directness as it closes. Will be a fragrant, rather Burgundian, dainty wine – it has Pinot Noir affinities in its flavour. The aftertaste is broad. Has a quietly engaging balance. 14.5°. From mid-2017, no hurry. 2031-33  April 2015

2012

(casks) full dark red, with purple in it. Has a dense, stewed fruits aroma, interesting loganberry, with airs of black raisin, herbs such as sage, tarragon, oaking, offers a sunny richness at its centre, so the oak will absorb. The palate swishes along, carrying prune and black berry with attendant oak: fruit and oak are the two games in town for now. There are tar and cooler fruit such as blueberry notes at the end. The exit is fresh, sound. Modern style, pretty well made, but poses many of the usual questions about Grenache in oak – the clash of those two. There is a subdued finesse within this. From 2018. The longer you wait, the better. 14.5°. 3,000 b. 2030-32  Dec 2013

2011

(casks) dark robe. Sweet fruit, cassis and blackberry mixed aroma with a softer note of raspberry behind it, and a quite deep note of red cherry liqueur. The palate is muscular, overtly oaked, and comes on the Grand Stage. This will take 5 years to show any sort of ease, likewise true pleasure – that aspect will have to wait 10 years. Fully fruited, imposing wine, which is a bit geed up for me until it is 10-12 years old. Like many 2011s, the fruit wobbles just before the finish, and it tones down. 14.5°. €30 at the cellars. From 2017. 2031-32  Dec 2012

2010

(casks) clear red robe. Red berry-raspberry, oily air, which is thorough, also pure, and shows a fine trail of flint, smoke-ash. The palate is tight, with fine tannins along either side. It holds well modelled, clear red fruit, red cherry. It builds up rather forcefully, and a lot of grainy, assertive content appears on the finish. Has good, intense, good carry fruit, and a lovely tinkle of clarity. Great, stylish Gigondas. 14.5°. From 2016-17. 2035-38  Dec 2011

2009

(bottled 1 week ago) three-quarter red Grenache robe. Calm even mild aroma – shows a curve of gentle or tender red fruit – it is quiet, but well-set, comes with flint-graphite touches. The palate has a fine, rather Burgundian nature, floral influences that remind me of his father Henri`s wine from the 1970s; shows violet on the finish. There is charm in the fruit, and less obvious oaking than in the past. The length is good - it ends freshly. Has pebbly tannins that will round out. Quiet grace here. From 2014-15. 2028-30 March 2011

2008 ()

red robe, a little light at the top. Green oak aroma with liqueur, resin, eau de vie – it is very disorderly now, even violent. Fortissimo wine on the palate – so full-on is this – it is an assault course, a real challenge to drink this. For sipping only, not drinking if you want to go near this scaled-up production. There is a little late scenting in the oak, but, boy, the oak! From 2014. 2020-21. When I see what it is (tasted blind) – I have to say that it lacks the finesse of previous vintages of this, also the freshness. It is a tiring wine, shows raw oak, so can only be approached after the first fruit has disappeared. Dec 2009

2007

good red, very Grenache robe. Oak-forward nose, so toffee-caramel lie outside its red fruits. The oak is reaching a toast stage, is cellar-pushed. Plum eau de vie taste, comes with a forcing style because of its oak, even though the fruit inside is shapely. From the modern, oaked school (tasted blind). Day 2 and the oak is very pronounced. Wait, be patient. From late 2012. 2022-23 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 ****(*) (casks) dark robe; has an oak-charcoal flecked aroma that is sturdy and broad – within there lies deeply set black fruit, prune, and ripe raspberry or mulberry aromas. The palate has a roll of oak, with a live sense of toasting around it. The shape, though, is round, the heart punchy, and it is understated as yet. A big scale wine that comes with overt oak. Licorice and violet mingle in the aftertaste, also sweet herbs and rosemary. The finale is live and active. Good length, a wine that can become impressive. From late 2011. 2022-24 Nov 2008

2006 ()

matt, dark plum colour. Oak and tar top traces in the air – this is a snappy enterprise, has a lower couch of some black plum fruit, with a fundamental, earthy aspect also. The palate debut gives quite juicy black berry fruit before a clamp of dark influences, oak and tar, after half way. Has a steady core, a measured richness of some elegance within its reasonable depth of oak. From late 2009. Finesse in the making here. From 2010-mid. 2019-20 Nov 2008 Previously Jan 2008 ***(*) (casks) quite a dark black plum robe; has a bosky, pine needle aroma, with some oily, mint liqueur and crème of black fruit, too. The palate has a brisk, intense start, the fruit has “dark” tones, with a searching, chocolate, tar nature. The oak demands that it be left for 3 years – drink from late 2010 or 2011. It ends on a tickle of tar. Has the potential to make it – there is some well-set matter within, and the length is pretty good. 2019-21 Jan 2008

2005

rather matt-toned black plum robe; chocolate, cocoa and raisin notes on the nose with a little plum and prune, also white pepper – the aroma is a little dusty. There is a muscular note to the fruit, with the white pepper again infused into it. Coffee tones appear on the finish. This is a lithe, active wine that needs another 18+ months to settle. On the finish there are laurel-thyme, pepper flavours. It ends up assertively, with dryness that needs to meld. Has retreated into itself since its days in cask, and is a work in progress. From 2010, not before. 2019-21 June 2008 Previously Nov 2006 **** (casks) the bouquet is raw right now, shows red fruit and young oak and suggests low SO2 use in its preparation. Live, assertive raspberry fruit on the palate, is full and a little taken to its limits. The tannins are largely absorbed, and there is a chunky finish, led by some oak. I like its freshness, its red fruit moves on at pace. There is a rather wild, heated end, and is a wine limited by its oak for the moment. From 2010. 2020-22 Nov 2006

2004 ()

(casks) chocolate style bouquet - very knit together, a wall of aroma. Big and full palate, rich interior. Fully charged, has black fruits and southern intensity. Tannins mean it should be left until 2009 at least. 2021-25 July 2005 This may be made on its own, or could enter the Valbelle - decision will follow.

2003 ()

the colour is still bright – a dark and evolving plum. Has a good, modelled, shapely bouquet – there are soaked cherries, or griottes on top, with fresh, youthful notes and oak traces still present: the outcome is a wide aroma of just simmered coffee. The palate fruit is bright, up front and comes with dash, some flair and mobility. There is a lacing of mint, and chocolate from its oak. From late 2009 to infuse its oak, or decant if drinking now. It is a cohesive wine. 2018-20 June 2008 Previously July 2005 ***** inky, intense bouquet, with a definite meaty side. Very filled wine, a wave of flavour comes along - olive, southern associations, warmth of the area. Broad and impressive. Finesse walks with a good heart in the wine, is well made-up. Some baked effect on the finish. A very good, imposing Prestige cuvee for once. Esp 2006 on. Goat from the Italian hills would be wonderful with it (for example). 2015-17 July 2005