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The Wines

mix of Grenache and Syrah (mid-late 1970s, the base from Montmirail (S), also Le Pourra (N-E), can include Le Font de Papier (S-W) since 1995), “the % is "my secret", destemmed since 1999, light crush, 30-34 day vinification with cooling since 2004, twice daily pumping overs, 2 part vat emptying/refillings, aged 50% new, 50% 1-year 228-litre François Frères oak casks 24 months (before late 2000s was 25% each medium-heated new, 1-2-3 year 228-litre oak casks 24 months since 2003 - varied between 12 & 36 months before then), first made 1985, no 1992, 2002, unfined, filtered, 9-16,500 b

2017

(casks) full robe; the nose strays into prune, black raisin, North African ripeness with overt spicing, black pepper present. It’s a scaled start. The palate has a musky debut, gives soaked fruits that sit heavily on the palate, and never really get moving. It’s a sipping, near after dinner, wine very much in thrall to the vintage over its sense of place. It’s too clunky - pas pour moi. From mid-2020. 2032-34 Oct 2018

2016

(casks) good dark red robe. The bouquet delivers raspberry liqueur fruit, shows the richness of the vintage, has a little exotic blood orange and cordite presence as well. The palate bears rather powerful content, leads on Grenache with a note of eau de vie intensity, has a red cherry fruit, compressed finish – the sunshine of the year there. There are notes of menthol and dried herbs in its interesting aftertaste. This has good potential, has a lot going on, and carries some mystery, always a factor I like. From 2022. Decanting essential. 2037-40 Oct 2017

2014 ()

(casks) dark red. This has an elderberry, soaked blackberry aroma; it is a mite vegetal. The palate holds a supple, textured raspberry style fruit with a gradual gain in depth and tannin. It finishes on cooked plum, kirsch. The Grenache is full, has a roasted side. Rather big wine in its way. 13.5°. €26. From mid-2017. 2026-28  Dec 2015

2012 ()

(concrete vat, before cask raising) dark red; deeply soaked prunes, blackcurrant fruit air with a saline tang, iodine and blueberry – a promising nose. The palate has a good, mixed flavour, involves coffee, tar, date, soaked fruits, raw tobacco. Unfurnished wine whose elements are not as one, but they can probably link together. The tannins and acidity are influences for now. From 2016 or later. 14°. 2025-27  Dec 2013

2011

(casks) dark red. Smoky air with a touch of green oak on the front bouquet, the oak very prominent. It has a good, rather muscular couch of cooked plum fruit under the oak. The palate resembles the nose: it shows spiced, oaked red plum, damson fruit, then tightens on its oak towards the finish. In a very primary state; it has enough content to pull through, but that will take four to five years. There is Grenache sweetness on the finale, mixed in with its oak that gives it a gummy chocolate touch. It has a three-quarter weight vintage style, the palate marked by an aromatic sweetness. It offers plenty. From 2017. 2027-30  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(casks) shiny, dark robe. Cooked-up, live bounce in the ample bouquet – black raisin, cedar, grilling, beef stock with some violet to alleviate it. There is a minty, cedary gush of black berry fruit on the palate; it shows a soaked ripeness, the crop being left for a long time in the vineyard. Hence it finishes on sweet-noted black fruit with tobacco, smoke and oak involved. It is nearly a post-prandial, after dinner wine, from the Weighty School. The impression now is of a soaked wine, and I would leave it until it has become less flash and more considered, so from 2017-18 or so. Can be drunk earlier, though, from 2015. Decanting recommended. 2033-34 Dec 2011

2009

(casks) dark, shiny robe; Unbridled, prominent black fruit aroma, with smoky, polished leather tones. Implicit tar here from its raising, meaty notes with soaked cherry, pistachio. The palate black fruit runs freely inside an oak casing that is reasonable, not quite in excess, but still not really necessary. Richness is present in its later stages – good. Oak-tannin, firm ending. The core juice is good, but the oak will lie outside the wine for some time. Drink from 2015. Marked for 2015 onwards – I wouldn't want to drink this any earlier. 2028-30 July 2011

2007 ()

dark red robe. The oak is sweet, toffee-like on the nose, ahead of really dark fruit, smoky loganberry, gives a solid, firm first impression. The palate holds intense dark fruit, presents a steady brewing of its forces, is well textured now. Sturdy wine, with gras richness – it is starting to round and fuse, delivers a strong home stretch, and glows on the finish. The oak is rather overdone. “This year we extended the oak raising to 42 months – we thought before this vintage that the wine generally needed extra time, and this was the year that allowed that. It was bottled in September 2012,” Florence Cartier. 15°. 2028-30  Dec 2013 Previously Dec 2009 *** (casks) full robe. Oak-led, hence snappy, challenging aroma, simmered blackcurrants – but oak is the winner today. The palate is therefore still on its oak – there is a weave of black fruit inside, with oak in charge at the end. Has a coolness in its texture, and brisk late tannins. Not Gigondas for now – is something else. From mid-2011 plus. 2021-23 Dec 2009

2006

sound red robe. The bouquet offers an air of red fruits, and is a lot more free and liberated than the deep 2007, has bacon, smoky notes as well. The palate fruit is live – this is making the bridge between oak and true Gigondas. The exit is fresh. The red fruit is peppery, and it moves along well, is approachable wine. 14.5°. 2022-24  Dec 2013

2005 ()

full, dark red. Aromatic oak top nose, with mulberry liqueur within, a little honey in the air. Upright, 2005 style palate, which is clear at mid-point, offers a run of free black fruit, late tar. There is ingrained richness to handle the oak, and this can curve well as it matures. Good length, herbal traces. A keeper wine. Esp 2011 on. 2021-22 Nov 2008 9,600 b this year

2004

full robe. The nose is rich, varied, multi-level and complex. Airs of pistachio, almost eucalyptus, licorice feature in its tangy array. The palate is till upright, only just emerging from its cloak of oak. It ends on a nutty, intense flavour, where charcoal and floral moments combine with gras emerging gradually as it breathes. I would wait another three to four years – or decant if drinking now. Heat shows on the finish. I would rather wait. 2026-28  July 2011 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) plum, full red robe. The nose is advancing – offers fleshy game instincts with wafts of oak in behind, liquid honey, black fruit. The palate has a modulated red fruit which is gripped late on by its oak. At an intermediate stage now. It ends tightly, still in its oak phase. There is flesh on the end, so it can be OK. Elements travelling at different speeds currently. From spring 2010. 2019-20 Nov 2008 12,900 b this year. Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) (casks) quite dark robe, black traces. Roasted coffee, mint, tarry, prune aromas – some meatiness in this varied nose. The palate holds deep-set black fruit, ends on licorice of greater clarity. A chunky Gigondas that is hearty, chewy and lip-smacking. The palate is liberally seasoned with oak, but the core matter is well established. From 2009-10. 2018-20 Dec 2006

2003

full, still quite dark red. Black fruit, hung meat, leather-prune and oak cinders on the bouquet – this is earthy and macho for now, but there is the entry of a few herbs to season it. The palate has a supple start, though, with oak binding it. Picks up pace and direction. Ends tight, shows more obvious oak there. Challenging now. It isn't easy to judge when best to drink it – it has richness or gras, but there are only glimpses of that today. Has a tarry aftertaste. From spring 2010, decanting may help, too. 2020-22 Nov 2008 11,700 b this year Previously June 2008 NR largely dark red plum colour; the nose is funky and evolving – is a bit “sweaty saddle”, shows “high” red fruit and high tone. The palate is busy, a touch zig-zag – it comes and goes, darts around. Has a thread of acidity at its core, and still needs to settle and soften. It ends firmly, on a cocoa note. The attack is pesky, sharp. Its oak is largely absorbed. The finish is dry. I wonder how truly ripe was the crop for this. Try from 2010, but it's difficult to envisage a Lazarus moment coming along here. 15°. June 2008

2002 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2001 ()

red, dark matt colour; The bouquet works across the glass, presents mild plum, licorice and charcoal. The palate is settling down, is not yet a local wine, though. Has a well-established, rather fine richness inside. It lengthens with a degree of reserve. At a dumb moment potentially. From mid-2009 – a wine that I feel needs drinking under high pressure conditions. It skips a beat on the mid to end palate. “2001 is more complete than 2000 for me – better structure,” J-P Cartier. 2018-19 13,000 b this year. Previously July 2005 (*) meaty, full nose with chocolate in the air – it is extreme, and oaked. Soaked and cloying on the palate, and is hard work to drink. A mix of black fruit and coffee-chocolate, the latter no doubt from the oak, in the taste. Not that long, and is tiring to drink – lacks acidity. Try from 2007-08 in the hope that the oak infuses, and the wine sings a minor tune. July 2005 Previously May 2003 ***(*) (new Vosges oak cask) the nose is quite dense, solid, has potential, shows truffle and lether airs. The palate is oak-marked, has fair weight, red berry fruit within. Good and chewy, has grain in it. Is closed now. 2017-19 “The only previous vintage of Florence that received 24 months` oak was the 1995,” J-P Cartier. May 2003

2000

full, fairly dark red. Good, even bouquet with some sweetness in it. Prune and plum are foremost, oak in back but receding – brings some spice and raisin into the equation. The palate has a supple, rich debut – there is chocolate in the flavour, what seems a confident length. But it is restricted on the finish, and fades after a sunny start. “It has always shown well, but now is a not a bel athlete – it is facile“ J-P Cartier. 2016-17 Nov 2008 13,800 b this year Previously Oct 2005 **** brewed, persistent nose, licorice and pepper mix. Round, nicely rich palate, later coffee tones. Manly in aspect, with a careful, restrained side to it. 2015-16. Oct 2005 Previously May 2003 **** berries, oil, ground coffee aromas. The palate is good right away, off the bat, has gras richness and deep, well-founded fruit that has cut, is not overripe. Good potential here. Flavour of berries and garrigue apparent. The tannins are ripe, and close well. Herbal aftertaste, a wine of nice style. From 2005. 2016-18 May 2003

1999

evolving red-black colour. There is snap in the black fruit aroma – still youthful blackberry, and a sympa, fresh, slight eucalyptus air about it. The palate black fruits have a close-knit composition, while a live thread which is typical of the 1999 clarity runs through it. Menthol and licorice combine at the end, impart freshness. Has tannin, plus oak, so is still making its way. Herbal traces on the aftertaste. Interesting wine. “I now put this ahead of 1998, unlike earlier,” J-P Cartier. 2020-21 Nov 2008 12,700 b this year

1998

red with a ruby top. First signs of game in the bouquet, in with damson, prune – this rich bouquet persists, brings in sweet spices. Weighty, soaked style on the palate – this is ample and forward in the mouth, until a quiet, assured end. The texture is supple all through. The finish, by contrast, is more decisive, mineral-tinged - this is very 1998 in style. Has sound length. “It is supple, elegant, it gives itself, but I have to say that I prefer 1999, which I have always liked better,” J-P Cartier. 2018-20  Nov 2008  12,600 b this year  Previously May 2006 ***(*) loaded, sappy bouquet - mulberry jam with a clear, minted top note, is a funky doodle dandy aroma. Full, markedly robust palate, with a meaty connection. Its live and well-knit tannins are bound nicely within. Very compact and full of beans at eight years' old.  To 2016-18  May 2006

1996

ruby, quite full aroma, red still there. Bosky, peppery nose which is advancing, in the eye of its upright vintage, too, mulled tea here now. Calm, rather cedar, damp woods debut to the palate, along comes menthol. It has a little gras, but now is a wine that works within restricted boundaries. It ends on a dart of slightly sweet licorice, milk chocolate, tobacco. A two stage wine with differences between nose and palate. A game casserole is required. 2013-14 Nov 2008 6,000 b this year

1995 ()

ruby, plum red colour; there is bite in the nose – a year of dry heat in its snap and crackle; has content behind that outer air, and sustains very well, offering red fruit, nuts. Really good start to the palate – this has a complete, active maturity, very good, solid core and punch still. Authentic kick in this, yes. Good length, good charge of fruit all through. Even these resistant years come round. “This is my little chou (favourite, special pet). It is my preferred year at this tasting (all the wines open 5-6 hours), but it wasn`t so good when eating with friends in the evening. I thought 1995 was superior to 1990. In 1990, I would have liked less crop, which we had in 1995,” J-P Cartier. 2018-20 Nov 2008 12,6000 b this year Previously April 1999 ***(*) dark robe; there is a good, warm depth on the nose, well set red stone fruit with mint and leather dabs. The attack is full, but is for now offset by a massive tannic invasion. Has the matter within to counter the tannins, but is going to need time to achieve that. From 2003-04. 2014-16  April 1999

1994 No Rating

Bottle corked Nov 2008 9,000 b this year

1993 ()

red and ruby with a little black at its core. Light tea, black fruit, mint, smoky aroma that is on the go, frisky black fruit in it. The nose is becoming fundamental as it breathes on. The palate holds a surprising matter, and flesh, for its age and the vintage in question. It is wide towards the finish, has a good, mature texture. It tastes of milk chocolate, juiced raisin. It ends on drier notes, but has local guts to prolong it. Tobacco, cedar aftertaste. “It hasn't changed since 2006 – it has been very stable, “ Mireille Cartier. To 2013-14 Nov 2008 8,700 b this year

1992 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

1990 ()

the robe is evolving, but is still clear and bright. Ample, rewarding nose – it is oily, black cherry hovers, has a sympa appeal, is silken and still young. The palate has a supple start, but the taste is more advanced than the texture. It runs along consecutively, reaches a measured finale, a good rich end. There is peppery content here, within a pretty ensemble. Has a Gigondas mineral clarity on the finish, good length. This is one of the best Florences. 2016-18 Nov 2008 16,500 b this year – that rare combination of excellent wine with a lot of crop

1989

nice full robe with ruby present. Pepper, coffee, mocha aromas in a bouquet that is still rich at its heart. Sinewed palate, where the oak has left a dry-toned imprint to this very day. Quite elegant middle fruit here, black stone fruit. Is still going, is not tired, and has some end life. 13.5°. 2011-13 Feb 2006

1985 ()

the first ever vintage, with all its oak a trailblazer at Gigondas: still running well in 2006; dark fruit with some roundness still here. Bouquet a little coffee, but still in shape. Needs decanting to bring it out, so has ways to go still after 20+ years. To 2010 maybe. Feb 2006