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The Wines

80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Cinsault (mid-1970s and older), hand harvested, can be partly destemmed, 3 week vinification, cap punchings, 67-90% concrete vat, 10-33% 4-5 year 228-litre oak cask aged 18 months, fined, unfiltered, organic wine, 15,500 b

2018 ()

(vat/casks) the robe has a near ruby note, isn’t bright. The nose shows peppery, sweet red berry jam airs, some pine. It’s a ripe intro, on the plush side. The palate is immediately sweet, so is ponderous alongside the front runners this year. There is a musky-floral presence all through it, the juice compressed. Its cooked, spiced red fruited content is very Grenache in style, with a note of baking from the hot summer. The aftertaste has a pumice stone-cendré or cigarette ash touch, which helps the texture away from the sweet and savoury. 14.5°. 15,800 b. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv. €24 at cellars. From 2023, decant it. 2039-41 Feb 2020

2017 ()

(vat/casks) full, deep red robe; the nose is immediately abundant, has a blackberry liqueur aroma, cassis de Dijon, with notes of roses in it. The palate links closely to the nose, gives smooth textured black fruits with ripe tannins inside. It has a savoury nature, an oily southern coating, finishes roundly, the fruit fine and juiced into the close, which is an achievement this year. The length is good and aromatic. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv. From 2021. 2036-38 Oct 2018

2016

(large barrel, bottling March 2018) dark red robe. The bouquet has an air of entrails, stewed plum fruit, black raisins, is a real downhome kick-off – take that, wham! The palate is also very Grenache-centric, captures its thick essence with a note of musky perfume, and a thorough density. There is a note of oxtail, an off the wall bloodiness that really stirs it up into being an agent outside the law – bundles of character therefore. It’s thoroughly grounded, genuine wine for beef stews, venison, boar. 14.5°. From 2021. 2036-39 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(vat/casks) dark red robe with a healthy glow. The nose is immediately evocative of the deep south, with ripe date-prune airs, a sultry, musky-floral style, as if crickets should be humming in the background. It’s pretty copious. The palate also reveals fleshy content, spicing and a flavour of stewed plums. Grenache harvested very ripe here: with its sunny and overt richness, it’s more a lower lying area wine that one from the heights. It’s broad, genuine, wears its heart on its sleeve, and ends with fire still in its veins. A wine of much character. From 2020. 2036-38 Feb 2017

2014 ()

(casks, bottling April 2016) red robe. Briary, sweet herbs aromas are attached to the cooked damson plum, strawberry jam lead air on the nose. It has a smoky note, is a little musky. The palate bears lightly scented Grenache red berry fruit with chalky tannins in attendance. The finish brings in menthol, spearmint, is a shade dry. Unfinished business here: will it fuse? There is quite a lot going on. Set aside until 2019, and I think all will be well. It possesses well established Gigondas freshness for the longer term. 14.5°. €16. 80% Gren, 10% Syr, 10% Mourv. Whole bunch fermentation this year. 2028-30  Dec 2015 

2013 ()

(casks) fair red robe; a blackberry aroma on the nose is quite clear, comes with a rounded sweetness, is an open and willing start, still juvenile and on the one route. The palate holds stylish black fruit that has a savoury angle to it, a fruit pastille style. There are fine grain tannins and garrigue and herbs notes. A velvet glove-iron fist wine here: it is quietly chunky at the end, and needs time to fuse its tannins. The length is decent. You can be patient with this: from 2018. 2027-29  Feb 2015 Previously Dec 2014 **(*) (casks) medium purple hue – lighter at the rim. This is rather awkward at present. The nose is a little stewed and porty. The palate is spicy on the attack, then fades to a hard edged finish. The tannins are tough and drying on the finish. Requires time. From 2017. 2027-28 JL GB £132/12 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com  Dec 2014

2012

(casks, bottling April 2014) purple-red robe. Grenache-inspired, peppered nose, cinnamon, overt spicing on the front end, red fruit behind. It is currently a little pointed, has an arrow of mineral and flint, is typical, and softened by the air. The palate delivers a 2012 breeze of freshness which renders the palate frisky, peppery – it is a long distance from a solar vintage such as 2009. It fires its fuses in different directions, and its acidity level means patience will be rewarded. It is a shade hollow here and there, but its “northern” tendencies mean it will gain padding and elegance. The basis of the wine is good. STGT leanings here – this is typical. 14.5°. €16. 2027-29 Dec 2013

2011

(casks) healthy red; black olive, raspberry fruit air, cassis leaf as well, black pepper. A wide and genuine, stylish nose of potential. The palate is live, clear-cut, helped by its acidity. The fruit flows freely and keeps going well until a little ripe little barrier of tannin. Set to do well, is long and ends on flinty, Gigondas freshness. Local, authentic wine of good precision and elegance, along with some high octane, power instincts – just as it should be. From late 2014.  2026-27  Dec 2012

2010 ()

slight evolution in its plum red robe; understated aroma, an interesting reserve about it - has a peppery, spiced, spring breeze scent on it, as if some pine woods were near the vineyards, and a mineral implication, lead. A bouquet of precision if you study it. There is an underlying sweetness, a sweep of ripe fruit underneath. The palate is overtly peppery, with a generous middle of Grenache plum fruit, very typical of the variety. Has the grain and cut of Gigondas, and definite local attributes, a pumice stone clack towards the end, an ash (cendré) note. Very faithful to its place, STGT wine. Will unfurl gradually. From mid-2013. 2027-28  June 2012  Previously Dec 2011 **** (casks) mid-depth Grenache red robe. Has a packed-in, sweet, ripe-style nose, as in close to having treacle or syrup on sponge cake in the glass. The palate is spiced and peppered, shows fruit with a lot of snap, menthol in its still steely richness. There is a lot of Grenache in this. Ends on white pepper, notes – there is a milder flavouring there, but still lots of kick. Closes on garrigue, true Gigondas notes, more menthol there. Quiet pedigree. From spring 2014. 2032-34 Dec 2011

2009 ()

(to be bottled June or Sept 2011) matt, mottled plum red robe. The nose has a traditional air of pine and cooked plum fruit with light touch peony flowers. The palate is enclosed, beefy, oily, feet on the ground. It tannins are ticking over firmly for now. The finish is round, quite clear. An old-fashioned style wine that works OK. From spring 2013. The length is sound. Hail-hit year. 2021-23 March 2011

2008

plum colour. Good, floating aroma – there is freedom in its plum fruit, a hint of wax and a light cumin effect. Pleasing palate – a good profound nature that declares itself gradually to a clear end. Very good, harmonious wine, very faithful to its place, is STGT wine. Formidable discretion and purity. Bottled Jan 2010, drinks well now. 14°. “It can keep, even if it drinks well now. Maybe it is like 1996, where there was less obvious richness at the start.” Jean-Baptiste Meunier. 2023-25 March 2011 Previously Dec 2009 *** (casks) steady red. Grenache leads the nose – red, raspberry fruit that is square, not evolved for now. The palate holds juicy fruit that has a line of freshness through it, a white pepper influence. The tannins are a shade dusty. This tightens and quietens towards the finish, becomes more grainy. From mid-2011. Has pure elements in it. 2018-20 Dec 2009

2007

full robe. Simmering blackberry en route to being jam aroma, has a safe sweetness, is young and not yet varied. Scented, violet fusion with its black fruits on the compact palate. This leads to pebbly stones, licorice and decisive moments. A good, grounded wine, that has heart all through it. Ends on raspberry, heat, some high tone present. From 2011. 2022-24 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) (vat) steady dark red with some black traces in the robe; raspberry liqueur, red fruit pastille aroma with tints of herb such as rosemary in the air. Meat stock and crème de menthe also hover. There is a good, savoury aspect to this wine; its blackberry fruit is in-built, and there is solid matter around it. Has gras, is beefy and imposing. The fruit is poised and continuous. There is a slight dry couch at the end, with tannins in there. Correct balance, a promising wine. 2021-23 Nov 2008

2006 ()

quite deep red-plum robe; mulberry jam aroma with spice to vary it, an interesting nose, whose sweetness of fruit is implicit, comes with a light touch, veers towards evolution, has herbal and dusty stones airs. I like the rounded, grounded appeal of this: it is really drinking well now, has bags of sunny appeal, followed by careful tightening as the tannins move in. Very good, classic structure in a no-excess vintage. Has a fine, fresh finish – there is snap there. STGT, beau vin, elegant. 14.5°. 2021-23 Oct 2010 Previously Nov 2008 ** 2 bottles tasted, notes in full for each, since there wasn`t as such a fault in the first one. Bottle 2: steady colour, a light plum; red fruit, prune, leather, smoky red berry on the nose; The palate holds even handed berry fruit, with a sound bit of richness, and an easy run of cassis fruit. This has more length and depth than yesterday`s bottle, but the neck code indicates the same bottling run. It has a good, curved flow, is accessible now and has sfot, approachable tannins. The finale is herbal, with soft licorice in the flavour. 2013-14 * Bottle 1: mild red colour, very Grenache; the nose shows soft, rather simple red fruit, with a sugary sheen to it, and a bit of a floral air: there is not much in support. The floral tone rides on the palate as well – it runs evenly, is undemanding and veers towards lightweight. There is a bit of tannin and raisin at the end. It drinks OK now, but is light Gigondas – I wonder why. A perplexing wine that I retasted three times and then tried a second bottle on the second day (try explaining that to visiting US tasters – 180 wines in 2-3 hours, thank YOU, Maam). This could pass for a sound Côtes du Rhône, with its fruit stopping a little short. On Day 2, the alcohol is more noticeable, it is a bit heated at the end and the wine is undoubtedly light. 2012-13 Nov 2008

2005 ()

2 bottles five months apart, the first **** the second **(*) June 2008: **(*) quite a bright plum red colour; the nose is markedly reduced – there is a stinky top air above some quite suave black fruit, but there is little in the way of variety just now. The palate holds red fruits that slide quietly along, are unpretentious, not on a big scale. It is supple most of the way, a low-key Gigondas. It ends on apparent acidity rather than any genuine roundness, which is a concern. Decant this. 2015-16 June 2008 Previously Jan 2008 **** full plum robe. Nutty aroma that is both wide and deep, toffee airs here as it is possibly closing down. A touch of the brewed, jam taste on the palate – it holds latent black fruit, is submerged today, but the fruit has gras richness. It ends reductively – the fruit closed, sealed at the end. Once woken up, it will be expressive, and there is more to come. From late 2009 or 2010. 2022-24 Jan 2008

2004 ()

quite bright, medium depth red. Springy, somewhat high tone, rather unformed nose – alcohol, leather, varnish, is very primary. The palate dives straight into red fruit, the texture is stiff. The shape is angular, even though there is late fruit here, along with a fiery notion. Alcohol evident here. Still raw wine with some latent richness, is not for the faint-hearted, is a child of a baked garrigue. Try in mid-2008 or later. 2019-20 Dec 2006

1997

matt, subdued darkness in the robe; the bouquet is lightly warm, spiced and open and easy. This combines light spicing with garden, red berry fruit, the length sound, prolongs well enough. There is southern warmth in it. Drink from 2001. 2009-12  April 1999

1996

pretty full colour; the bouquet has scope, good cooked red berry fruit airs, is warm and varied. The extract here is well founded, presents advanced ripeness, the matter greater than most this year. It ends with chewiness, the tannins genuine. It is also wide as it moves along the palate. From 2003. 2014-17  April 1999

1995

still dark robe, black tints. Stone fruit aroma backed by hay, leaf airs, a still young start. The palate is warm, fairly full, continues with good matter along its route. The finish bears dark berry flavours that sustain well, and have a chewy side to them. It is quite upright, and still making its way to full harmony. From 2003-04. 2015-18  April 1999

1994 ()

dark robe; the bouquet has roasted aromas, agreeable oiliness, some tar-pine airs, firm dark berry fruits. The palate works well – there’s a lot of extract, it’s very clear and bears a nice solid foundation. The content is led by dark fruits, is true, still rather square in shape. It’s solid, like the vintage, and can soften, open, give more in five to six years. I drank this with Kermit Lynch, who hated it! 2024-26 Oct 1998

1980

very pretty robe – pale red at centre, a gentle ruby above. Spice-pepper nose, has a settled air about it. “A bit vegetal on the nose,” Jean-Baptiste Meunier. “Damp ash on the nose,” Pierre Amadieu. The palate darts out, has a pointed, conical shape – I note the presence of acidity, nervousness at the end, where there are cocoa, light raisin notes. The acidity of the vintage remains at the wine's heart. This may well get together with more time open. Medium-bodied depth, dry notes on the finish. “It was very astringent and tannic in its youth. This was made with whole bunch fermentation, which we continued until 1997. Now we partly to wholly destem,” Jean-Baptiste Meunier. March 2009

1973

delicate ruby robe, with a near-transparent rim. Animal, sweaty saddle first air, but the sweetness within does not mean the wine is gone – it resembles old cherries and wax. After 20 minutes, the animal side goes, and it becomes a bit more earthy and fungal. After four-plus hours, the nose retains damp, also mineral airs – impressive. The palate has a round shape around its mid to late stages. It ends on a curve, ticks over, and is like tasting old medicinal fruit pastilles. It is humming faithfully, and has a finesse of texture that is striking. A delicate, poised wine that is very good, especially for this vintage. Even after two hours, I rate it classy, and after four hours, its texture is very soft, matched by notable finesse and excellent length. Its acidity has held up well. “This has no Syrah in it – we started that in 1975, so there is a bit of Clairette and Cinsault, plus very old Aramon and very old Carignan,” Jean-Baptiste Meunier. 2016-18 Oct 2010

1971 ()

pale robe; fragile, menthol-cinnamon front air, with hay-licorice behind. After 90 minutes: lavender, game, thyme. The palate is quietly enclosed, tightly-knit, ending firmly. It lengthens discreetly, with the customary Gigondas freshness on a confident finish. It is notably fine, but underlying power is subtly present. There is a tinkle of red fruits that persist in a balanced context. After 90 minutes, it has evolved very consistently. The air brings out more power and extends its length, topped up by an infusion of sage on the end. The herbal notes in these two old Gardette wines of 1967 and 1971 are remarkable, as if captured in a butterfly net and placed in the vat. “At first I found it a bit dusty, but the air has cleared it, and brought out honey, hay and game on the nose, with a hazelnut effect on the palate that perhaps stems from the large barrel raising. This may have been raised for longer than 12 months, and would have included some vat raising, not all wood,” Jean-Baptiste Meunier. This is from La Gardette, which is sandy at the bottom, and clay-limestone higher up – sand being about 20% of the total site. This won a Gold Medal in the Paris Fair. March 2009 Previously May 1974 **(*) big, strong colour; the nose is woody, low on fruit and soft aroma. The palate is dry, and the alcohol is evident. There is nothing technically wrong with this, but it fails to be easy to drink. May 1974

1967

pretty robe, classic ruby. Menthol and a beguiling roundness on the nose – it offers red jam, but has a freshness in it, and some game notes – it persists, shows no fade. After 90 minutes, it has become very pretty, pointing to flowers, red fruits with a handsome foundation and a simmering pepper influence. What a fresh dandy this is! After being buttoned-up, the palate moves to cherry red fruit, a striking clarity and a little late heat. It bears a lacing of fine tannins, and is balanced. It ends on a firm, closed note, with air revealing more and more herbs. The length and final grip are both very good – a wine that offers a lot, down to its complex, varied aftertaste: a very stimulating experience to try this Gigondas. It has a little more acidity than the 1966 just tasted from the Cave. I don`t think many terroirs and climates could create this style of wine when very old. “It is still fresh, the crop probably picked well into October. The baked stones and nuts in the palate flavour may come from its wood – large barrel and demi-muid of 600-litres for 12 months. My father Laurent might have fined this, but it would have been unfiltered,” Jean-Baptiste Meunier. 14°, 90% Grenache, the rest Clairette, Cinsault and Aramon. March 2009