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The Wines

mid-slope - granite, some clay, oldest Syrah 1946, part re-planted 2007 (crop in Tourettes for now), destemmed, cold maceration then 20 day vinification, cap punching, pumping overs, aged 30-70% new (2015 new = 30%, a decline), 30-70% 1-year 228-litre oak casks 18-20 months, first wine 1990, filtered, first wine 1990, 4-10,500 b

2018

(cask) dark robe, founded on black with a purple rim. The nose is upright, mineral-flecked, suggests granite in the soil, the fruit cassis-like – it gives a hammock of curved depth at its centre, so this declares the ripeness of the harvest. There’s obvious oaking. The palate holds cool, blue fruit, very good pedigree in the fruit, with fine tannins beyond the oak, which drives the finish for now. It’s very polished in style, and will need some years to infuse its oak. There is good style in its flowing content, and the fruit is top class. 14.5°. 4,000 b. This is €150! From 2023-24, decant it. 2047-49 Nov 2019 GB £650/6 b in bond The Wine Society +44(0)1438 741177 https://www.thewinesociety.com/openingoffer/Overview.aspx?offercode=wrh181

2017

(casks) dark, full robe, black with purple. Black olives and the south greet you on the nose – a warm wall of black fruit such as blackberry jam, a thick paste of it. The palate continues the theme of a pretty dense, filled wine which keeps going well: the flavour brings in blueberry and blackberry, a joli hint of violets, and the tannins are ripe, bendy, even munchable. This gives a good, pretty true picture of Hermitage, has some silk in its texture, strikes a genuine chord, carries a friendly coolness. Some oak-toffee comes through on the aftertaste. From mid-2021. 2038-40 Dec 2018

2015

(casks) full and dark robe. The nose is upright but suave – it gives a streamlined air of black berry fruit, with notes of black olives, mocha, dates, is a mix of northern and southern origins. The palate bears softly textured content that waves along with a fresh purpose, and picks up precise, moulded tannins towards the finish. It’s perfectly correct but doesn’t ignite as the leading 2015s do. The finish is restrained. 13.8°. 6,000 b. From mid-2019. 2033-36 Oct 2016  

2014 ()

(casks) very dark red, black tints. The nose assembles raspberry fruit with a gush of abundance, an open arms appeal. There is a fine air of violets with it, along with oak and licorice connected to its raising. The attack is tasty, detailed, develops a pure quality of fruit with spice and probing tannins that add lift and crunch. This holds good quality gras richness, well established it is. There is a typical granite-mineral, rocky crunch on the finish, a real wham of that. €138. From spring 2019. 2030-33  Oct 2015

 

2013 ()

(casks) shiny dark robe. Hidden pockets in the nose, has a mid-weight berry fruit with a note of blueberry fruit, possible stemmy side. Sample 2: dark, shiny. Has a grunt factor nose – it is dark, gives cooked black and raspberry fruit with a decisive angle to it. The palate bears running, lithe fruit, reaches out well. For now it is firm, rather unyielding, as it stands. There are brief moments of juice along the palate and a small note of gras as it ends. It glows with latent power on the aftertaste, which features blueberry fruit. This is an accurate Bessards wine, with rocky cut in it – it is STGT, true granite wine. Decant it, leave until mid-2018. 70% new oak this year. 2031-33  Jan 2015

2012

shiny crimson-dark red colour. Has a promising, backward nose that gives a light hum of dark berry fruit, is all together, offers a little smoke and licorice, and a minor oaked backdrop. Its shape is broad, properly generous in time. The palate is a cracker - it builds momentum and hands out the southern essence of Hermitage, with a good, strong run of dark fruit and tannin - the manliness of George Saintsbury - as it ends. This is noble zone Hermitage, bang on its terroir. There is a Bessards feel in the late tannins. The finish has lovely freshness. The hounds do bark about this wine. 13.5°. From 2017. 2031-34  Dec 2014 Previously Nov 2013 ***** (casks) dark robe with black tints. The nicely mixed nose has some obvious airs – it shows simmered black berries, buffed leather, also pockets of mystery and an authentic violet-mineral, iron. The palate picks up the violet and iron its debut, has a most satisfactory spine of that, helped by fluid, potentially tasty fruit around it. It cuts a dash, has a masculine flair, élan. The length is good, and brings in fine oaking and cut. The balance is good. A precise, local, STGT wine of lovely finesse and definition, excellent carry and freshness. From 2017. 2029-31  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(casks) dark red, black tinted robe. The nose is promising, concentrated but also free, bears airborne more than terrestrial fruit with floral touches, violet. The fruit resembles black berry, blackberry liqueur de cassis. The palate is tightly woven, sinewed, and a mineral freshness develops as it goes. There is vigour in its tannins. The finish is grainy, nutty, and carries oily dark fruit, a good amount of lip smack in it. The certainty of its gras is promising, and this will hold up well. There is a prominent late dash of oak. From 2016. 2027-29  Nov 2012

2010

dark rumble of red in a dark-tinted robe. The nose is centred around a copious, but well manageable beef stock aroma, shows pepper, Bovril stock, fluid liqueur black fruit, suggests many layers before you reach its heart. Has gras in abundance, offers raspberry, black cherry, oak in the second rank. The palate spreads its gras richness with precise reach; it is all wrapped together, is well-balanced. It has a shade more coating then the regular Domaine des Tourettes 2010. This is Limousine Service Hermitage steered by a chauffeur with a tang in his accent and his hat at a tilt. Grainy tannins and oily berry combine at the end. It is mighty on its freshness and poise. This is an intellectual vintage – not an open book. “It is so pure and refined, so dense and tightly packed – will people understand this?”, Claire Darnaud, winemaker. 14°. 2040-43  Nov 2012  Previously June 2011 ****** (casks) dark robe; oily, sustained and rich black fruits aroma that carries mineral touches and grain. The nose reflects the grounded side of Hermitage more than its palate as it turns out. Lovely debut to the palate – right away it shows serene, silken black fruit that travels a long way, without any bumps. Really good balance, and a caress of fruit – a harmonious, fine wine. Its black cherry flavour is feathery, fine, and the texture is classy. I find it finer than the Côte-Rôtie 2010, a role reversal. This has mystery and guides you into areas of dreaming and fantasy. “The velvet in the tannins is quite remarkable, and I find it authentic, without artifice,” Jacques Grange. From 2015. 2031-34 June 2011

2009

dark, black-tinted robe. Drifting black berry fruit air, licorice and implied herbs, graphite. Smoke-oak, tar infused in rich black fruit on palate, has a chugging density. A shade one-dimensional, needs time to open, but above all vary, step up a gear and break out. Decant this. The aftertaste is rich – there is variety at that stage in the form of plum, sweet herbs, laurel. 14°. I find it more southern and fleshy than the grippy Bessards straight off the granite that is usual. “Of our big four wines, it most suffered from its bottling two weeks ago. From cask it was much more complex,” Jacques Grange. 10,125 bottles this year – abundant crop. 2032-34. June 2011

2008 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2007

red with some light patches in the robe, has a mild black plum centre. There is a hovering air of black fruit, light oaking – this is a rather airy nose, comes with a hint of flowers and finesse. It is graceful and persistent in its way, exudes some cigarette smoke. The palate, like the nose, has a floating black fruit, a fine nature – this is all about finesse and a little mystery – it has the shades and inflexions of a fine granite wine. The texture is interesting. A wine for classical music, for thinker drinkers more than the sportif types. It moves quietly along. 13.5°. From 2012. 2023-24 Nov 2009 Previously Dec 2008 **** (casks) full, bright, pretty robe. The bouquet displays black fruits with life, high tone and a crackly pepper, light charcoal air; there is graphite and a handsome clarity about it – this has style. The palate black fruit runs out freely, delivered with a sense of gaminess. It gains a stocky late imprint, where a couch of matter underpins it. Has local feel and character. The length is solid, and a late floral or violet note accompanies the chewy but largely full content. The end is crisp and definitive, and this is very sound wine, even if it is a touch taut on the finish for now. STGT style of wine, respecting also the vintage. From 2012. 2022-24. Dec 2008

2006

the robe is bit darker and more intense than the 2007 – it also has a richer, more oily aspect, and is both dark and sustained to the top rim. The palate is mega oily - this is a full-up wine, a sensory experience with fruit and intense flavours running in every direction. The fruit is dark, and the flavour also resembles dark chocolate and cocoa, and has a primary state human appeal – a wine of the caves – our ancestors grunting sonatas to each other, since it combines that persistence and rootsy nature with an elegant class. Very striking wine. Its tannins are well involved, and its power is never out of order. From around 2013 – but it drinks on its real guts now, openly. Air clamps it, and lessens its wild appeal after 3 hours. 14°. 2033-36 Nov 2009 "It was a discreet year at first – its power was reserved. During and at the end of its cask raising, it continually gained a lot of puissance (power). Then, I thought, this is a sacré good wine. Remember that it arrived after the 2005 which was very structured, a very good year, a brilliant wine. The maturity was concentrated, a drying ripeness, a sort of over-ripeness on granite; the grapes withered, cracked as the water in them evaporated. As a result, it is jovial vis-à-vis 2007 and 2005, a wine that I feel crept under the radar," Jacques Grange. Previously Jan 2008 ***** (cask) this is dark, a definite black in the robe, topped by black cherry. Has a crisp, quite mobile black fruit aroma that reflects black fruit coulis, melted fruit and juice, also black pepper crackle from the oak. There is a well-judged ripeness in the fruit – it allows both round appeal and cut. Has a palate of good, vinous appeal – black fruit with confirmed richness and circulating tannins and oak. It fills its space well – there is plenty here. Good late glycerol, and a texture of richness bodes well for the future. From 2013. 2029-32 Jan 2008

2005

dark, sustained black plum robe with a full black at its centre – is matt in complexion. This has a big bouquet – it is very wide and filled, occupies the glass; there is the clarity of the granite present, a definite mineral with an underlay of compact black fruit, charcoal, cocoa and chocolate noir. On the palate, it is a big striding wine – the black fruit and the intrinsically rich matter are in thrall to the marked new oak. Is just edging out of the starting gate, if that yet. There is a real firm frame around its deep set heart. This is not a wine that offers negotiation – it asserts a point of view. Will be more diplomatic from 2014. A big scale wine – is it Grand Vin? Probably – it will be interesting to review this from 2010. Some little bird in my mind says a little L'Hermite or a tad of Méal might have completed this granite-only wine in this particular vintage, but it has gained in weight since last tasted, and can organize itself. Is 5.5 stars really just now. 2036-41. See you in heaven. Jan 2008 Previously Dec 2006 ****** (cask) very dark, violet-purple colour; some oak and olives and meatiness in a reduced bouquet. Black fruits with some southern warmth in them start the palate, then it gains a great width in mid-palate, all delivered in a well-constructed way. Some baked stones towards the finish, and towards the end come the more obvious tannins that give a grainy kick that can be absorbed with time. The oak is apparent on the finish, but there is great fruit, clear and crisp within. Mixes excellent ripeness with the Bessards’ classic grain and live character. From 2011-12. 2035-37 Dec 2006 due to be bottled May 2007

2004

prune robe with a top that is turning lighter. Sweet, fragrant jam aroma that is surprising for Bessards – a floral and overtly spiced affair, but I can sense weight under this veneer. The floral theme continues on the palate, with a sweet, rather black jam, quite filled nature. Finishes three-quarter weight. A clear but round shape this year, and has terroir with its pebbly end tannins, right at the end. Pleasurable, interesting, a little boudoir now. I would leave it till 2009 to get more nerve, and even some sous-bois (damp woods) of evolution. 2019-23 “It will advance faster than the other years, but it has an attractive subtlety,” Jacques Grange. Bottled April 2006, tasted Dec 2006

2003

very dark; very varied, quite pesky nose – anchovy salad (what are you doing here, my leeetle fish??), and some violet with oak, but black fruits within. The outer casing is nutty and grilled. (Jacques Grange finds cabbage on the nose, so there!) The nose is deep and wide. Big, bold core fruit, this is a real boxer of a wine. Ends with a well-founded richness. Patience is need for this muscled, virile wine, and it should not be touched until 2010 or 2011 if you seek more suppleness and variety in its flavours and being. The length is good, that is encouraging. 2028-32 Dec 2006 “This is a wine of the high, high heat, and I am still hoping it can gain gourmandise and complexity at a certain future moment,” Jacques Grange Previously (cask) harmonious bouquet - smoky, tight fruit, lots of potential. Black fruit peeps out of a big mass of wine, this is a solid, knit, no chinks do. Licorice finale. Balanced, appealing, long life ahead. 2008-09 on. Picked 28 August this year. 2025-28

2002 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2001

very typical, burnt black fruit, woody tones, garrigue; chunky palate, great width, really solid. Deep core, tight olive/cassis. Oak on aftertaste. From 2010. Strong, clean wine. 2023-28

2000 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

1999

very full robe; very deep, ripe oily bouquet, leathery possibilities, moving to second stage. Very wholesome texture, broad/full with round exterior. Palate hasn't moved. Replete with black fruit, oily and suave, spherical. Great balance, Grand Vin. Will always drink well, but more variety 2009 on. 2026-31

1998

young, closed nose - heated black fruit, pepper, herbs; solid black flavour, chunky, then gets sappy, then chewy tannins. Quite heated, typical, has good juice. From 2008. 2018-22

1997

very dark; ripe crop, plum/prune and alcohol on nose; black flavours, pure, good guts. Length sound, well-integrated tannins. 2014-20

1994 ()

bouquet mixes some pepper, woods, herbs. Black fruit flavours, smoky feel. Bit square and dry on the end. From 2003, has been stubborn. 2009-14

1993 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

1992 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

1991

heat, cedar, leather, nice complex bouquet; quietly firm texture, well-directed fruit in it, good length, very stylish. Delicious. Good balance and life. 2009-12