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The Wines

65% Grenache, 18-20% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 7-9% Cinsault, Clairette (av age 36 yrs in 2014), since mid 2000s pre-fermentation crop cooling, Syrah whole bunch, rest destemmed, light crush, all fermented together, 28-30 day vinification, twice daily pumping overs, 1-2 part vat emptying/refillings, aged 40-50% concrete vat 20 months, 50-60% 2-7 year 228-litre oak casks 12 months, then concrete vat 8 months, unfined, filtered, 10-30,000 b

2017

(casks) dark red colour; the bouquet has a sugary sweetness, almost as if the sugars haven’t yet finished fermenting. There’s a wallowing raspberry liqueur aroma. The palate is also sweet, bears coated content. The tannins are ripe. This is an orb of a wine with fat at its centre, lacks relief, cut, nuance. Oak adds toffee to the mix, yet another sweet input. It’s hard to drink much of. From 2020. 2030-32 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(vat/casks) full, dark red robe, shiny. The nose is a red-blooded affair with dark berry fruit, some inner power, smoky outcrops. It has a deep, brewed nature. This is a big, sturdy Gigondas with good life in its veins, a spiced charge towards the finish, where there are ash-tobacco strikes. It has a notably spiced, white pepper closing line. The centre rests around Grenache-inspired plum, wild strawberry fruit. The tannins are full on, smoky, and require patient cellaring until 2021-22. It has an unbridled character, chases you around the room. 2035-38 Oct 2017

2015 ()

dark red colour; crushed nutshells, menthol and coffee, glimpses of free red fruited Grenache on the nose. The palate takes a peppery path, comes with stylish richness that keeps flowing well, builds in gradual intensity as it goes, is well put together. The tannins have a savoury nature, are munchy. It ends on a smoky darkness, is very persistent. This carries the cool notes of Gigondas correctly. 14°. It can be drunk today, but also from 2020 for further refinement. 2037-39 Oct 2018 Previously Feb 2017 ***(*) (vat/casks) has a Grenache-led red, medium depth robe. The nose reveals a sweet cassis-blackcurrant, with a husky sideline, a sense of baked bread and spice. The palate bears loose flow black fruits, with a tasty tang to them. There is a lot of fresh juice. The finish is spiced, white peppered, the tannins and their grain out on their own there. This is a little bare for now, without evident background stuffing. Allow it to fuse and amplify a little, so wait until mid-2019. 2034-36  Feb 2017

2014

(concrete vat/casks) red robe. There is an elderberry, blackberry duo of fruits on the nose, which is clear, carries the vintage freshness. The palate gives fruit with some dash, runs directly, has a lightly salted, spiced finale. This needs time to amplify a touch more, but has intrinsic strength. 13.5°. €13.50. From mid-2017. 2026-27 Dec 2015

2013 ()

(vat) quite full red robe. The bouquet is smoky, starting to vary, produces a little intrigue via some crisp red berry fruit, raspberry liqueur, and a smatter of mixed herbes de Provence. The palate gives the clear style of 2013, has a rocky pedigree, gives dentelle, crisp Grenache fruit and its spicing. Cool as a mountain stream Gigondas with spearmint in its veins on the close. It is slightly rugged but genuine. 14.5°. €13.50. From 2018. 2028-29  Dec 2015  Previously Dec 2014 **(*) (vat) lighter purple-garnet colour than most. The nose gives red berry fruit with a leafy, herbaceous edge to it. Plum and kirsch flavours feature on the palate with the same leafy edge. Light fruit weight here, the tannins slightly abrasive on the finish. The maturity of the crop seems compromised. 13.5°. From mid-2015. 2022-23  JL Dec 2014

2012

(concrete vat) red-purple colour; smoky, raw bouquet, shows red fruit with green pepper, mixed spices under that, is abrupt. The palate is a bit restricted in its fruit – there is a tight, grainy aspect here. I wonder about the ripeness of the fruit, as if there is the influence of thick grape skins about it, a chiselled angle. Try post bottling – tasted blind, and these wines can get it together. From mid-2015. 14°. €13.50 at the cellars. 2020-22 Dec 2013

2011

(vat) medium, steady red robe. Has a spiced, cloves air – sweet spices, with a fat air of plum behind. The nose isn’t fully ensemble, and has light floral possibilities. Some promise here, thus. The palate doesn’t leave a strong impression for now. It holds clean-cut, arm’s length red fruit, with spicing on the second half, and adhesive tannins which start clearly, then become gummy. A middle of the road traveller here. From mid-2014. 14.5°. 2022-24  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(vat/oak) dark red robe. Plum-prune, brewed fruits air with a bosky-spice side, a fume note, smoked. The palate has a direct, almost high altitude start, followed by a more gras, textured development at half way. It is free on the finish, where there is a menthol clarity. From late 2012 – it can be drunk for its early live features. It shows pine and garrigue on the ending. Authentic, not made-up wine. 2028-31 Dec 2011

2009 ()

quite a full dark red, black traces. Cocoa, black raisin airs, a wine that is grainy from its raising, is not close to being an ensemble. The palate is also stiff, with strict tannins overriding its black prune fruit for now. Decent length, with flashes of gras on the second stage. There is a lot of licorice, and life, on the aftertaste. Promising. From mid-2014. 2024-26 July 2011

2008

fair depth of red; baked, brewed nose, almost at a hang dog stage, also red meat-animal in the air. Full, rather pushed Gigondas on the attack – has an earthy taste, a grounded nature, is rather reductive. Uneven balance and late acidity is demanding. Difficult to judge this until six months after bottling. From mid-2011. 2017-18 Dec 2009

2007

bright, full red. Plum fruit, ripe, Grenache-led aroma that is sweetly rich. Measured fullness on the palate with peppery, rather powdery white pepper tannins present for now. Has good heart, runs on well. Has a wide, live finish, and the late clarity of this vintage. Very orderly and agreeable. From mid-2011. 2021-23 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 *** (vat/cask) full dark red, with some black traces; funky, rather foxy nose, with lees and high tone – suggests that racking would help. The palate is also reductive, but the fruit seems generous and comes with a smile until some grouped tannins rein it in. Is sound in length like all the 2007s. It will be a representative Gigondas around 2011. This sample is a bit limited for now, but there is a quiet persistence and some herbs in the aftertaste, along with chocolate and some mineral. Ways to go before final assembly and bottling, so a cautious assessment. 2018-20 Nov 2008 Previously June 2008 (vat/cask) purple, dark red robe; has a good, round fruit aroma – it is nice and full, and holds up well. The fruit travels well along the palate – moves with some purpose. The tannins are pretty rounded but are obviously compact now, and show up notably after half way. From 2012, for instance. 2021-23 June 2008

2006 ()

dark red, black tints; jaunty fruit aroma with good Grenache heart to it, also a little sweet, floral scent, the fruit a tiny bit “high”. Restrained, reserved palate: its texture is smooth, the fruit well set, while tannins roll out after half way. Holds sound mid-plus weight of matter. There is a good little tinkle of purity in this. From late 2009: a likeable mix of fruit and sinew here. 2017-18 Nov 2008

2005

dark red with a matt hue; has a rounded, red berry nose of wholesome depth and curve – the Grenache parades well, and is accompanied by a little caramel and floral airs such as iris. On the palate, this a good, muscular wine; there is plenty of depth, and it is prolonged and persistent. The Grenache red berry flavour is on top, and would be woken up further if decanted. From spring 2009 for more liberty in the wine. 2020-22 June 2009

2004

fair red; plum fruit and red berry aroma that continues quite well. The nose is a little earthy, is interesting. The palate starts on spiced red fruits, is vibrant, brings in some late mineral effects. This flows soundly, has some juiciness, and clean lines. Not together yet. A bit plain. From 2008. 2015-17  Dec 2006  Previously March 2005 (vat/casks) ***(*) decent brew on bouquet, is aromatic. Mid-plus weight on palate, in a rounded style. Clear red fruits here, that persist. Style more than power this year. 2014-15 March 2005

2003

stable plum red robe; dusty top air – this needs decanting, has Grenache in the forefront, light leather notes. The palate also has a dusty feel, and does not show the OTT over the top nature of 2003 – it is refined and peppery, just a bit bitter late on. It is rather indecisive. The dust side shakes off with air, and it is baked on the finish – that is 2003 for you. Can gain a little with time, so has been marked on that. “There are some of the spices of the Cuvée Florence on this,” Florence Cartier. 2021-23 Dec 2009 Previously July 2005 *** ruby in the red; the nose is just starting to turn towards game – early in its life, I'd say. The palate is rather closed, by contrast; it is packed tight, holds gummy fruit. The finish is a touch mineral, and holds some tannin. There is some punch in this. Needs to integrate. From late 2006 or so. 2011-12 July 2005

2002

mature, soft, scented bouquet. Interesting variety of flavour - rose, licorice elements, red fruits. Has a rich oiliness. Drinks well with lamb, for instance. Another example of Gigondas outperforming in a rain-swept vintage. To 2010-11

2001 ()

bottled one week ago: chunky, broad bouquet with garrigue-herb end scents. Cooked fruits feature in a notably clear palate, has a good, clear texture. The length is good, the fruit lasts and there is some width, too. Stylish. It dries a little towards the finish, I note: allow time to help out that aspect. From 2006. 2017-19 May 2003

1996

red, ruby colour; raspberry fruited aroma, jam style fruit with some extra spice that helps it. This is sappy, rather easy wine, again a taste of jam on the palate. It doesn’t quite convince all the way through, is rather a “stuck together” wine – a bit here, a bit there. From 2001. 2009-11 April 1999

1995 ()

quite a thorough brick colour, orange top rim. Brewed brown sugar, orange marmalade aroma that is compact, well held together, comes with a little polished leather influence. Comfortable content here – it holds up well. There is more density than in any of the 1991, 1992, 1993 or 1994 wines tasted today. The spiced fruit leads on to a still tannic phase and a firm end. This benefits from airing. 13.5°. 2019-22 June 2010 Previously April 1999 **** dark robe, black touches. Full, dark-fruited bouquet with leather notes, is nicely powerful. This is full and long, bears black berry fruit. It is is tucked in for the moment, has the rather strict quality of the vintage, with a note of dryness on the finish. Lots of intense flavours will deal a good hand, the fruit stimulating. Needs to conquer its end dry point. Decant, wait. From 2002. 2015-17  April 1999

1987

confirmed ruby robe, wee red traces. The nose is on a confirmed caramel route with a sweet inclination, raising dates and raisin tart into the picture: it is tiring now, though. At first there is a gentle curve of Grenache plum fruit on the palate, but it is taken over by a drier, more grainy covering. It regains a more rounded feel towards the finish, followed by the dry tones again. It has a little more gras than the 1987 Saint Gayan [tasted alongside], which carries more acidity. I made up a 50-50 blend of the two 1987s, which worked better on the palate, but the nose of that effort by me was dumb. 2014-15 March 2009