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The Wines

targeted crop from up 25 growers, mostly from La Rode, La Négociale and Les Machonnières at Mercurol, also Virgit at Chanos-Curson, Les Saviaux at La Roche-de-Glun, in the southern sector (min 60%), and Gervans, Larnage in the northern sector (max 40%), Syrah av age 28 years, week vinification, malo in oak, aged 50-100% new 400-litre oak casks (60% new oak until 2004, and 40% 228-litre casks for 12 months) casks 18 months, lightly filtered, first wine 1994, “drink with red meats, lamb, duck, cheese”, 20-25,000 b

2018

(casks) full red colour; the bouquet comes with sweet blackberry fruit, prune, hints of crème de menthe, is rather luxurious, all up front and gleaming. It is way more Southern than Northern in style. The palate bears wavy black fruits with an unfettered delivery, accumulates tannins, licorice in them, as it closes, with a sense of degree, glow on the lip smacking aftertaste. It’s a one-off in style from this extreme vintage. Its ample and free giving nature will please many, but not those who like Burgundy and finesse. This is 30% from Virgit plot at Chanos-Curson, 30% from La Négociale on Les Chassis, 25% from Larnage, and 15% from the Gervans vitrine vineyard. From mid-2022. 2037-39 Nov 2019

2017 ()

(casks) very dark red colour. The nose involves black olives, is dense, the black berry fruits mulled into a thickness of aroma, the vintage weight obvious. The palate is southern in style, hence prune, date flavours, coated matter, gummy, rather thick tannins. It’s unbalanced by the sun and heat of the vintage, but will give appeal to lovers of sweetly styled, rich wines. We’re moving towards a Syrah of the South display here, when the jam and sweetness take away from its natural cut and clarity. The aftertaste is oily, fat, oaked, the oak increasing the sweetness. From 2022. 2032-34 Dec 2018

2016 ()

(casks) dark red colour. The bouquet is broad, invokes oxtail with cooked blueberry fruits, is deep enough for a little mystery. The palate is well bundled together, holds enjoyable richness and easy going tannins that add a late darkness, tar, to the chorus line. This has enough body to go well with a rib of beef, for example. 13°. Now to 2027-28 Nov 2017

2015

(casks) dark, full robe. The nose comes out with vigour, based on sleek Morello black cherry fruit and oak with its varnish, some beefy depth. It can be shapely in time. The palate bears savoury, well fuelled black fruit content, with a ripe tannic structure that help it to live and evolve. It has good balance, will make gradual progress. The tarry-oaked aftertaste needs leaving until mid-2019. 13°. 2029-31 Oct 2016

2014 ()

(casks) dark, sombre robe. The bouquet is a deep affair, presents a chocolate depth of black berry fruit, its oak evident in the midst of the coated berries. There is shade in it, and it can open up and fly over time. The palate is pretty rich, broad, offers squeezy fruit lozenges with a trim tannic presence, and some detail on the finish. It has a tasty sign-off. Allow until late 2017 for oak to subside and absorb further. 2024-26  Oct 2015

2013 ()

(casks) dark red; there is an appealing oiliness and a bright cherry aroma, a liqueur style fruit, on the nose, which is quite sleek. The palate has attractive weight, enough to be serious, enough to be enjoyable. It could carry a little further along the palate, but is a good Crozes-Hermitage from the southern zone, one that speaks of its place. Dark berry fruit lies at its heart. The finale is fresh. It shows oak that becomes more prominent as it airs, is still on the interchange between oak and content, thus. From mid-2016. 2024-26  Jan 2015

2012 ()

sound, dark plum red. Grilled, pork scratchings, reductive bouquet – shows its oaking, and is not yet clear of the influence of its cask raising process. There is a core of liquid black berry fruit. The palate is more supple and together than the nose, even if not in full bloom. It ends on a knot of tar-licorice, oak tannin. Has the richness to allow fusion of oak. A joli wine for lamb, for instance, gives hints of laurel as it ends. From spring 2016. 13°. 2024-26  Jan 2015 Previously Nov 2013 ***(*) (casks) healthy dark red, a promising robe. The nose is richly hearted, is ripe enough to lean towards prune, has a willing core of dark berry fruit with an oak wrap around. The fruit aroma is sleek, has lift and cool spots. The palate works well on texture and fluidity of fruit, extends into a more tannin-oak finale, where it is more raw. The finish is young, and for now abrupt. This is a rather Bordeaux take on Crozes-Hermitage with its oak. It will provide plenty in time. From 2016. 12.5°. 2023-25 Nov 2013

2011

dark red; sizzled sausages, simmered mulberry, a light trail of sweetness across the bouquet. The palate is all over a little quickly, has a medium weight ball of dark fruit, but fails to really leave its signature. It has a small hump of fruit, but the attack and the finish are both quiet. Its core matter has limited length, lacks real depth. Bottled April 2013, so it should have settled by now. From 2015. 13°. 20122-23  Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) (casks) dark red; the nose is still very much on its oak; it gives a stylish show of sweet-noted berry fruit and scented tea such as Earl Grey. The palate draws in a fence of oak with the centre based on wavy, fleshy black fruit – it is a wine of teenage innocence at this stage. The oak is providing much of its structure. It ends on a mature, earthy ripeness, with notes of treacle, date, fig. Pretty promising – its fruit is tasty, has a chicken stock depth. Oak needs to fuse – from spring 2015. 2022-23  Nov 2012

2010

dark red; meaty, game, truffly air - the nose shows abundant fruit, spiced plums that are ripe, cooked when they were very ripe as it were. Opulence hovers over it. I detect some firmness of the northern, granite zone in its red fruit. A little reduction holds the palate back, but the core is a meaty, red fruit such as raspberry and clove-spice bundle. Has a lamb stock aftertaste, pushy tannins that need 3 years. It finishes more dry than rich today – it is closing, getting more pesky. Eat beef and game with this. Decant. From mid-2014. 2027-28  Nov 2012  Previously Nov 2011 ***(*) (casks) dark robe; the first aroma shows oak, even a little green oak; its smokiness overlays some crisp black fruit. The palate is oak-marked and young, but the fruit is well delivered and clear, has fine qualities. Importantly, the fruit shows through for some late moments, so this can fuse. For now the oak is rigorous. There is an oily late stage, so waiting best for an ensemble and greater harmony. From late 2013. 2024-25 Nov 2011

2009

dark, oily, glinting robe. The bouquet is potentially powerful – it mixes in oak, leather, blackberry fruit, cold Chinese tea. Its density equals a life of at least 10 years, has light notes of grilling. The palate is broad, generous, the fruit round, profound. This is a scaled-up Crozes, away from the notion of simple drinkability. It persists thoroughly, with tar and oak additions on the finish, which is wide, and glows a little. The tannins are still rigorous as it ends. There is a sudden blast of good mid-palate fruit. From 2014 for more integration and ease. Decant this. 13°. 2024-26 Dec 2011

2008 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2007

steady, quite full dark red, legs down the glass. Tarry, charcoal dark fruit, a bouquet that is still “dark”, with quite a rich interior – there is brambly fruit with the potential to be varied and mineral-clear. A steady, filled wall of black fruit comes along with the tar of the oak on the palate. It keeps going securely. Is a bit contrived, but OK, but the scourge is the dry finish brought by its oaking. From mid-2010 for better late fusion. 13°. 2017-19 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **(*) sleek, full robe; mulled, rather sappy black fruits aroma – black cherry such as Morello at its heart, along with a little tea and spice – has plenty of oak. The palate has a grippy attack – black fruit with a mineral, violet infusion. It comes along with assertion, has been cellar handled to make a statement. Oak bursts out at the end, with some richness and powerful elements, even baked stones, around it. From mid-late 2010. 2016-17 Dec 2008

2006

(cask sample) black, cherry robe; burnt toast aroma, with an oak top note with a plum, black fruit interior – is a bit narrow, pointed. The palate also starts with a fast connection to its oak: it is peppery and there is an oaked austerity late on. The content is quite smoothly-textured, but it's a battle with the oak. The oak means the wine should be left until mid-2009, but will the content sustain its vigour? It's modern, but overly technical, and simply does not require this amount of oak, especially given the vintage's restrained nature. So much oak is a pity, since the fruit inside is decent. No youth wine: less oak, vicar = better wine. 2011-13 Dec 2007

2005

full red robe; compact bouquet of well-melded, towards jam berries, and a touch of bonbon candy. The palate is still upright – its black fruit has a tannic thread through it, and a late thrust that mixes charcoal and tar. Some late acidity comes out. This is uneven, poses questions more than answers. 2011-13 August 2007 Previously June 2007 **(*) quite a dark cherry robe; the oak leaves a chocolate-raisin tone to the bouquet, which is round in shape – shows loganberry jam, a little pepper on the outside. The palate is ripely fruited, led by prune and black fruits with late tannin to tighten it. Has a fair sweetness throughout, although the tannins are a bit powdery, and it tapers towards the finish – the vintage imprint for the unwary. Has only just enough gras for its oak and tannins – is a touch stretched at the end. From mid-2008. 2013-14 June 2007

2003

matt robe. Soaked, ripe fruit, prune jam aroma, warm, southern leanings. Black, oily flavour, with violet, olives nuance and a touch of garrigue herbs later on. Tannins are evident. This is a wee bit 'tinny', the oak dryness pushes that out and renders the wine taut. From 2007. 2013-14. Dec 2004