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The Wines

1960s Syrah from Le Méal, whole bunch fermentation, 18-21 day vinification, cap punching, pumping overs, aged new 300-litre oak cask 15-24 months or used 228-litre cask 60+ months (in 2000s & 1990s aged 75% 600-litre, 25% 228-litre casks 10-30% new, rest 1-5 years old for 18 months), unfined, light filtration, 600-1,000 b

2018

(new 300-litre cask, for my personal consumption, “I thought I was going to take retirement, so this was for my retirement”, bottling Jan 2020 or Dec 2020) dark red; the nose is grilled, on oak with firm, vigorous raspberry packing, rose petal, red cherry, notably good definition in the fruit. This is sexy, silken, with very good style in the palate fruit, lovely, suave red fruits, the total noblesse or nobility of Méal. This is superb, pedigree wine, STGT, aromatic, balanced. There are iron-blood notes, with beauty in the red fruit, Méal and its red fruits intact with all the sun. There’s oak on the finish. It will absorb its oak well. From 2027. 2058-61 Dec 2019

2009

(228-litre oak cask, with, incredibly, the malo still not completed, perhaps 50% done) has a dark berry, cherry fruit air, some high tone, and some Volatile Acidity also. The palate has a tension and bite; this is a real Vin de Sud, of the south, almost like Grenache with some Pinot Noir. Its foundation is solid, and it is long, also fresh. There is good concentration in it, notes of kirsch and soaked cherries, griottes. “Eat game with this. The saying of the old timers was that if you bottle the wine after five and a half years, you have to leave it in bottle another five and a half years,” Bernard Faurie. 14.8°, a Big Boy. 2039-42  Jan 2015

2006

(cask) bright black cherry robe; has a subdued but intrinsically elegant nose – shows clear cherry, smoky black fruits. The palate is quietly persistent, although still quite raw vis-à-vis its tannins that are peppery and render the finish a little dry right this moment. Has the energy of a young wine – a stylish Hermitage that needs time. Good length and chewiness on the finish, all clearly presented. From 2011. 2031-33 Dec 2007

2004 ()

bright, sound red colour. Bouquet displays the classic roundness of Le Méal, suave and beguiling red jam aroma. Harmonious start to palate, and a quick burst of live raspberry/wild berry fruit. This holds good core juice, with a silken texture in mid-palate. There is a show of tannin at the end that is lightly done and adds life. STGT. Very beau on a lesser scale than usual. Burgundian shape and nuances. 2027-29 April 2006

2003

(cask) compact, well-filled bouquet -pretty violets, licorice, bosky, is balanced. Well-filled palate, black fruit with some cut. Works quietly, without excess. Its stylish side will develop, which is an achievment in this year of excess. 2011 on. 2028-30

2002 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2001

raspberry/mineral bouquet - solid but not excessive. Good quality - lots of style, savoury and rich core, really delicious. Graceful, caressing wine with full red fruit. Very genuine length. Esp 2008-09 on. Grand Vin. 2033-35 Previously **** square, oaked but stylish nose; tight red fruit, just about takes the wood, potentially a savoury wine. 2007-08 on. 2030-32

1999

polish, table wax aroma; dense start to palate, then firm flavours. Assertive tannins, this needs time. Holds a lot of extract. 2007 on. 2033-35

1998

lovely wild black fruit/tar nose. Full attack, masses of silky black fruit, orderly, long tar/oak finish. Great balance. 2032-34

1997

violet/woodsy aromas, warm, oily sap; ripe, oily texture continues on palate. Well-graded fruit - fine, tasty. Feminine Hermitage. Mushroom aftertaste. A restrained vintage for Méal. From 2005. 2023-25

1996

aromatic, sappy cooked fruit aroma, pungent. Nice red fruits, then tightens, dark berries prevail. Stylish extract. Will expand. 2025-27

1995 ()

violets, warm, deep aroma; good fruit attack, then becomes profound. Firm, full; good tannic chew on finish. Typical 1995 inner strength, firm tannins, time needed, thus. From 2003, decant. 2030-32

1994 ()

blackberry, wood/leather aromas. Good solid wine, chunky flavour. Tannins swirl at end. Full finish. 2024-26