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The Wines

core Les Bessards (rocky granite), also L'Hermite (S-W facing, granite-clay), Péléat (sand influences, some clay), Le Méal (limestone, some clay), Beaumes (poudingue, glacier soils), Mortine (firm granite, S-W of L'Hermite), most destemmed, vinified steel, wood vats, cap punched, floating cap, aged 5-15% new, 85-95% 1-5 year 228-litre oak casks 26 months (has been extended from 18 months bit by bit since 2006-07), then tanks before assemblage, unfined

2018

1) (95% Péléat, used 228-litre cask) **** dark red; chocolate strength, dense packing, black fruits with mulled depth on the nose. The opening is concentrated on the palate, which has genuine heart, the poise of Hermitage, not forced, style at its centre. It’s both concentrated and elegant, a good wine for the blend, more than working on its own. Salt, iron show on the aftertaste. 29 yrs. 2) (Les Beaumes, used 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark robe; the bouquet has floral, sweet flowers’ airs, Pez sweets, violets, cooked plums, hints of rocks, stones. Like the Péléat, this is 15°, but you don’t get a sense of that. This holds fine red fruit with steady control, sides of fresh tannins, a little of the Pinot in it. It’s nicely fresh towards the finish, strikes a good chord. 31 yrs 3) (Le Méal, used 228-litre cask) ***** very dark; the bouquet is classy, on red fruit which is all together, broad, ripe, inviting. The palate links closely to the nose; its packing has a stylish stream of juice on two levels for now, which is very promising. It lengthens with a sure hand; this is a firm Méal, with no excess, is even understated, absolutely no toppiness even after all the sun, so the terroir has its say. This has meaty depth, and the class of its place, great length, is STGT wine. 38 yrs 4) (L’Hermite, 1950s Syrah, granite, a bit of clay, some glacier soils, galet stones like Méal, used 228-litre cask) ***** dark robe; the nose is graceful, is intricate, serves a strikingly gentle curve of red berry fruit, concentrated strawberry. The palate swims with fine notes of freshness, fibre in the tannins, rock notes, multiple contributors – L’Hermite always accumulates those, is STGT wine. The finesse of the tannins is notable, the balance on the button. This is complex, needs time. 33 yrs 5) (Les Bessards, 228-litre cask) ***** dark colour; the bouquet is dense, sustained, has a smoky darkness, black olives [from Bessards – that’s something], blueberry. The palate is clad with firm, compact content, neat juice, pinpoint fruit, Bessards spine with stylish flesh either side of the spine. It lengthens on cool, iodine notes, fine grain tannins, good freshness in them, has very good shape. This is not at all a Syrah, varietal wine, is truly Hermitage. “It has a grande elegance, no heaviness; 2018 is very fine,” Jean-Louis Chave. It’s a bit ahead of Méal, which is a bit ahead of L’Hermite, but who cares – the blend will be orchestral, excellent, a strong *****. 36 yrs. Dec 2019

2017

the three parts are all in stainless steel vats, bottling end Jan 2020. vat 1, L’Hermite, Beaumes ***** or so dark robe; there’s a graceful curve to the nose, which shows blackberry, a discreet ripe sweetness that will please, wild strawberry. The palate has stylish Burgundian appeal, holds cosy, tasty gras, extends in savoury fashion, a neat, sexy release of red juice, raspberry, the tannins ripe and precise. This is tuneful, elegant, spiced. 32 yrs vat 2, Péléat, Le Méal ****(*) dark red, purple robe. Smoky black berry fruits, a fresh thread on the nose which has good spring and inner coolness. The palate is firm, shapely, bears a good foundation with some oak on the close, the finish a little dry. There is concentration in this; it’s emphatic, grounded, a bit stubborn. 34 yrs vat 3, Les Bessards, L’Hermite ***** dark red; black olives, tapenade airs, a firm couch of black fruit, licorice. It breathes freshness down its sides, iron-iodine. The palate is very stylish, prolonged, has excellent spine. This is a class operator, comes with most engaging fruit, the fruit red despite the heat which usually encourages darkness. It has good grip, freshness in the tannins. This has much elegance, serene quality. 38 yrs NOW, the three together, done by Jean-Louis on the spot ***** very dark; the nose holds good potential, variety – toasting, grilling, black fruits, cherry, vanilla, a pleasing ripeness, fine sweetness and accuracy. The palate is most harmonious, all through, is widely fruited, flows very well, There’s great style in the gras, tuneful clarity and great feel, silky notions. The tannins are very accurate, pinpoint, have their neat place on the bookshelf, extending it, and adding more gentle, gradual depth. “It will bit by bit smooth out and make its way – it doesn’t have the profile of a wine that will close down,” Gérard Chave. “It’s fine, supple, tannins present, masked by the sucrosity which doesn’t take out the freshness,” Jean-Louis Chave. From 2024. 2051-54 Dec 2019 Previously Dec 2018 ***** 1) (Les Beaumes, used 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark red; the nose has a floral presence, mulberry density, raspberry liqueur, cassis fruit, some black raisin depth indicative of warm sunshine. The palate is red-fruited, rushing, has verve and much declaration of raspberry, a lovely vigour, is an alive wine, real good drive and energy in it, and crisp late stages. “It has class”, J-L Chave. From 2023. 27 years 2) (Péléat, used 228-litre cask) ***** dark red; the nose is curvy, enticing, on raspberry fruit, strawberry jam, is Pinot-esque. The palate is tasty, savoury, stylish, holding en finesse tannins that creep along smoothly. This is luxury style wine, slinky, most appealing, well balanced. “It’s from the sands of Hermitage, so is more supple. You cannot find a style like this at St Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage”, J-L Chave. 29 years 3) (L’Hermite, 1950s Syrah, a bit of granite, used 228-litre cask) ***** very dark; there is black cherry depth on the nose, a glistening black berry fruit, with blood notes. It’s a bouquet with a searching depth, but is refined above that. The palate presents an intricate weave of black fruits, smoky tang, rocky fissure, blue fruit late on. There’s great sustained quality juice within. The tannins have strength, fibre. This is amore vigorous than usual L’Hermite, one that carries much potential. It closes on blood-mineral. 31 years 4) (Le Méal, used 228-litre cask) ****** dark red; the nose is reserved, on plum fruit that is typical of Méal, red meat, a hint of violets, pepper. The palate holds sealed tight, layered red-fruited content, the tannins thick and sustained. This is STGT Méal that has intense juice, savoury notions, major heartbeat, fantastic truth. This great style, flair, majesty. 33 years 5) (Les Bessards, used 228-litre cask) ***** dark robe. It’s a big Bessards this year, black olives, the South! There’s persistent black jam, elegance also, while licorice and coffee beans’ airs circulate. The palate shows Bessards more obviously via its early iron presence which is its spine – it immediately shows that, flanked by smoky black berry fruits, ends on blue fruit. This has good cut, and is perfect to accompany Méal. The balance is good. 33 years “I’d like to bottle 2017 earlier than usual to capture the silken textures without heaviness, and I don’t want to dry them,” J-L Chave. OVERALL ***** pretty true to its place in the context of a sun-filled vintage. Méal and Bessards will play a vital role in the stamp of the final wine, they give it its heartbeat above all. 2049-52 Dec 2018

2016 ()

1) (Péléat, used 228-litre cask) **** to ****(*) dark robe. Stewed cherries, blueberry, reduction, meat and blood on the nose. The palate has rigour, good heart, a flavour of cooked plums, sun-filled fruits, light minerality. Good blood here. “It’s meaty, on blood”, J-L Chave. 22 years 2) (Beaumes, 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark red. Smoke-oak, rolling blackberry, licorice, good purity and appeal on the nose that also holds floral-rose dabs. The palate is well-filled, stylish. The length is sound; there are mineral, pepper touches. 23 years 3) (Le Méal, 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark red. Stylish, elegant nose, not full throttle, with an air of strawberry jam. It’s very true to its place in a suave register this year. The palate offers succulent, wavy fruits, a squeezy feel, sweetness on the agenda, florality. This is tender, very spherical, charming and restrained. This has very good style, balance and an appealing coolness, unlike the big hot sun vintages of Méal. “There was only a bit of hail here this year,” J-L Chave. 24 years. 4) (L’Hermite, 228-litre cask) ****(*) dark red, black tints. The nose is inky, shows blackberry lozenges, charcoal, cassis fruit, intensity. The palate holds cool red fruits, lithe tannins that have pep, and an iodine freshness. This will be great with Méal. Has great nerve, character, is STGT wine. “It’s more saline, iodine, ink. It could go to the wild side, so I want to control that, which is why it will receive at least another 10 months of raising,” J-L Chave. 24 years. 5) (Les Bessards, 228-litre cask) ****(*) full, dark robe. There’s a smoky line-up of neat black berry fruits, blackcurrant on the nose, which has typical Bessards restraint. The fruit is notably pure. The palate presents a true, consistent line of fresh black fruits, is a slim and quietly determined, spinal wine. There’s a restrained and gradual development on the finish, extra depth there. 26 years. “2016 Hermitage is very fine, and also concentrated,” J-L Chave. This will take time to weave together, will be the sum of several different parts. From 2024. 2040-43 March 2018

2015

sturdy red robe. Indian ink, bull’s blood, lead pencil, lardon pork influences go whack! above a really deep, lightly fragrant, soaked red fruits, mighty bouquet that carries bags of potential and a multitude of prompts. The palate is classy, right away, sensuous, holds a great filling of smoky dark berries. It rolls well into a mineral and powdered tannin zone at the end. This has tremendous heart, is a glorious Hermitage, one of the best of my life, up there with 1978, for example. The juice is well thick, but never static, the length great. “We avoided the jam, compote of fruits side; like the whites, there’s freshness on the palate; you had ripeness, freshness and balance this year. It’s between 2009 and 2010,” J-L Chave. Bottled one month ago. 2053-56 March 2018 Previously Oct 2016 ****** the various climats one by one: 1) (Péléat, 228-litre cask) ***** dark robe. Black cherry features in a deep nose with rolling layers of aroma, is more deep than usual. There is a cool fruit debut to the palate, comes with sparkling clarity, reaches out well with a sure hand. There is a fine grain crunch from the tannins. It is well balanced, has ace juice within, fine grip, great freshness. “The fruit is silky, gourmand,” Jean-Louis Chave. 27 years 2) (Les Beaumes, 228-litre cask) ***** very dark. Black berry fruit airs, a good and supple approach on the nose, red meat depth, overall freshness. There is a good crunch of black fruit with prune fruit, ripeness and firm, ripe tannins on the palate. It is butty, profound, the coulis fruit style is like a Futon – you sleep well on its firm base. Very long, with a cool aftertaste, some oak there. It’s a little ahead of Péléat. 28 years 3) (Le Méal, 228-litre cask) ****** full, very dark red robe. The nose is a beauty – it is filled with flowers, with raspberry, wide and silken, way to go. The palate is super elegant, its richness effortless. This is stately and really deep, finishes with cool spring water stream freshness. There is a lot of detail in this. This indicates to me that 2015 is perhaps a year of clay more than granite, which makes sense after the high heat in patches – hence the performance of Diognières and the mighty Méal. “It was ripe but not jam-like,” J-L Chave 36 years 4) (L’Hermite, 228-litre cask) ****** very dark. There is a welter of black cherry fruit on the nose, a dab of soaked griottes cherries. The palate gives black fruits, small and glistening berries, holds sustained richness, is intricate, with fresh grain and iodine on the finish. Iodine, inkinesss, salt are a good sign. “You have the ripeness first, then you feel the granite,” J-L Chave. 33 years 5) (Les Bessards, 228-litre cask) ****** very dark. There is some reduction on the nose, with blueberry fruit, black fruit. It isn’t as rugged as usual, has a near southern leaning, black olives, and is very, very elegant. Profound richness comes from within on the palate. With fine crunch in the late stages. It is juicy, delivers clear tang and ripeness hand in hand. It grips firmly with tight juice as it closes, menthol there. It is le Sud, the South, on the nose, le Nord, the North, on the palate. It is very long, and less obviously spinal than usual. 38 years. OVERALL ****** a true, full-blooded Hermitage, broad and extremely long, an arresting glass of wine. To some extent it wears its heart on its sleeve, and Jean-Louis’ task will be to give it shape and a degree of mystery beyond the sun-swept strength. It will live a very long time. 2053-57 Oct 2016

2014 ()

the various climats one by one; 1) Péléat is the first this year, 228-litre cask **** dark robe. Grilled, sultry air with reduction, Pinotl0like airs, flowers. This is mega charming, very stylish, gives a real lovely caress of texture, very tasty droplets. Has very good style, finesse. The end is fresh and clear. 21 years. 2) L’Hermite, 1950s Syrah, 228-litre cask ****(*) dark robe. There is an effortless roll of blackberry in the aroma, has joli depth, has tea and brewed meat stock airs. This is from granite, so is more live than the Péléat. The palate has a fine grain texture with noble and natural juice from its 1960s Syrah, comes from within. There are smoky late moments, belle length; it persists with a very sure hand. 23 years 3) Le Méal, 228-litre cask ****(*) dark red. Closely packed, red berry aroma, with grilling – it is a sturdy, full opening. This has hidden corners; its red berry fruit has a quiet density, and there is a clear snap on the end. This is a discreet Méal, delivers nice quiet crunch on the finish. 24 years 4) Les Bessards, used 228-litre cask **** dark red. The nose has a smoky appeal, prolongs well, has a stately presence. The palate gives good early crunch, dark berry fruit; this has a very clear structure – there is breeze and light in it. Refined, tight, fresh and clear. 23 years OVERALL ****(*) fine, clear-cut, a little tight. A northern wine, indeed. It will be best left until around ten years’ old, to permit a gain in flesh, content, and to allow fusion of content and acidity. It lacks the sunshine depth of Méal from the more sunny years this vintage. “2014 is a year for the best terroirs; there are small wines and good wines this year – the usually not great wines aren’t good at all this year,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2037-40 Dec 2015

2013

the various climats one by one; Beaume is first this year (cask) ****(*) dark robe. Classy, floating aroma of serious depth, is cool-noted. The palate is notably stylish; it is plump, has gras, shows good outer clarity, propels forward well. The finish is spiced. 23 years. Péléat (cask) ***** dark robe. Reduction but a rounded air here – stylish, even flattering dark red berries aroma. The palate is well juiced, has a savoury, chewy nature, is a bit finer than Beaume, is really aromatic and rich and true as it ends. Beau – this is a striking Péléat, and I am not surprised it was served after Beaume this year. 25 years. L’Hermite (cask) ***** dark robe; the nose gives a sense of brewed prune and dark berry, plums – it is a pretty solid but fine nose. The palate is a ball of wrapped up flavour, isn’t evident. The granite asserts at the end, has its rocky tannin there. There are saline, iodine qualities here; it is all very long, an intricate wine, the second best of the bunch behind Bessards. “It is complex,” Jean-Louis Chave. 26 years. Le Méal (cask) ****** dark colour. There is typical density on the nose, which has an oily depth – chocolate and oak are involved, it is a wide and deep do, with lift, though. The palate reveals a stylish depth, a little of the usual Méal sweetness and a lean towards jam. Licorice, tangy finish. The vintage shows especially via its arrow-like ending. Good juice in this. 26 years. “It is a quite direct, pointed Méal,” Jean-Louis Chave. Les Bessards (cask, the high and the low parts of the hill together since there was so little crop) ***** very dark. Reduction in a nose of proper depth, bears ripe black fruit, blueberry, violet, and a savoury, meat stock angle. The palate has cool glazing as usual, with a stylish ball of black fruit; this is elegant and persistent. The sign-off is very typical – mineral, clear, a lovely finish that is salty and spiced. 28 years. OVERALL: ***** the Big Three have all done well this year, and the fact that Méal is orderly, more refined than in the hot sun years, means that the final blend with be very well balanced, orchestrated by Bessards and L’Hermite, with Méal and a notable Péléat furnishing the foundation of really stylish, enjoyable gras at its centre. 2040-43 Jan 2015

2012 ()

bottled last week: dark red. Mulberry/raspberry fruit aroma with a nice freedom, a low-key savoury and bacon backdrop, a note of crème de menthe. The palate favours elegance over strength, holds tangy, clear dark fruit, and there is good cut in the tannins. There are pockets of pepper that remind me of 2001. It moves clearly to the finish, where a ball of gras richness awaits. The clarity can expand over time. The fruit is tasty, and the aftertaste has a fruit lozenge, appealing nature combined with spice. It is showing a very good first flush of youth. “It has a supple side to it, no rusticity – it is both fine and supple; I associate it, like you, with 2001, and it is Burgundian in spirit,” Jean-Louis Chave. From 2021 for the second phase. 2036-39  Jan 2015

2011

dark colour; reduction shows on the nose, the brambly fruit aroma has a stewed nature, with a note of flowers, rose-hip also. This is ripe, forward Hermitage, built on texture, ripeness and fat as its starting point – witness the 14.5° on the label, add about half a point to that. It has what I would term a masculine daintiness, is aromatic throughout. It gives a sense of latent power, the fruit quite soft and seasoned with nutmeg. The finish is the most precise, finely detailed moment, and it ends on violet, rose water, has a lovely, calm clarity. From 2017. 2033-35  Jan 2015 Previously Nov 2012 ***** (casks, the various climats) ***** Péléat (cask) ****(*) sound robe; ripe blackberry fruit air, good richness in it with its reduction. The palate is also on fat, jam-like notes on the attack, before a fine close with grip, has a tender note there. Good fruit. 20 years. L’Hermite (cask) ***** good red; rich roll of blackberry fruit on the nose. Has a kirsch-style palate, with granite cut, flower influences, smoke and licorice at the end which draws in tightly. Classy. 21-23 years. Beaume (cask) ****(*) stylish, fragrant nose, shows an attractive float of cherry fruit; the palate is close-knit, has body and rather dense matter, a crunchy aspect. It is profound most of the way. “It is powerful this year,” J-L Chave. 24 years. Le Méal (cask) **** full robe; stylish, raspberry jam air with a fine floral inlay, needs racking, is full but not big. The palate bears muscled red fruit, has poise and style. It isn’t far from a 1991, I consider. The length is fragrant. This will contribute well to the wine. 23-25 years. Bessards (cask) ***** dark colour; black cherry fullness on the nose, I find a hint of Volatile acidity, so we go on to a 2nd cask of Bessards: full red; the nose has the grain of Bessards, licorice, a good strike of clarity. The palate is stylish, carries sleek fruit, and a tasty soft grain through it. The nose and palate link closely. Long, fine wine. 22-24 years. OVERALL ***** this will be bottled around Jan-Feb 2014. The notable feature is the precision of each climat’s wine – this is a cooler vintage in style, so the parts of the puzzle can all play an orchestrated role. Burgundian charm to come over time. It comes in some contrast to the powerful, muscular 2010, bearing some analogy in style to 1990 and 1991 – although I prefer 2010 to 1990. 2035-38  Nov 2012

2010

(1st tank, pre-assembly) dark red. Close-knit, deep mass, solid bouquet. There is a lot on the palate – it builds up big scale tannins, has a roasted, thorough heart – and will live a very long time – 36 years. (2nd tank) notably ripe fruit, really ripe fruit air – red fruit that is mulled, shows fates as well. The palate is broad, muscular, ptofound, gives a spark of late tannin, It is very dense, but also ends with grip, crunch. 31 years. (3rd tank) dark; this has a lot of Méal, so it gives a full red berry, has solid tannins, a sunny and layered totality. The nose is compact, deep, shows the density of jam in its fruit aroma. The best so far. Storming. 36 years. (4th tank) powdery air. This is Méal/Beaumes and the nose has a raspberry. Flinty mix. The palate is stylish, has an intricate mystery, is smoky, fresh, and long. The finish is sizeable. Intellectual wine. 33 years. (5th tank) dark red; Bessards content here - compact nose, shows licorice, smoked bacon. The palate is steely – has real good grip and carry. Gusto here, proper fruit, has great spine – Bessards saves the world! OVERALL ****** this is going right on track, as per previous expectations. It is due for bottling in  Jan/Feb 2013. The wine works on all fronts – depth, persistence, pockets of fragrance, is very long, nuanced. Très Grand Vin. 2049-2055  Nov 2012  Previously Nov 2010 ****** I suspect will be top grade. A trio of casks to get a small idea of the style of the year, they have finished their sugars, but the malos not yet done: Péléat bright, full robe. Has a grainy, fine aroma, deep. Juicy red fruit and charm here – it spreads out evenly, the clarity is good, and there is a late flow of juice. Beaumes coating dark red robe. Well-balanced aroma, appealing black fruit. deep palate that lingers well, has a plunge of black fruit, is perhaps freer than the 2009, is long. Bessards (the only one this year – the high and low Bessards are together) dark black, red robe. There is a ripe aroma across the nose, which is rich, very wide, shows black fruit, licorice. The palate black fruit is stylish, delivers fine tannins, is a classy, balanced wine. Ends on a juicy note, but there is granite reserve in it. 28-31 years. Nov 2010

2009

full, dark red. Generous, fat curve on the front nose – it has a rich and plump fullness, is thick and sustained. The palate starts on milled, near liqueur fruits, ends on a big cluster of tannins that are strongly grainy. This will be a classic thanks to its ink-like power; its ample and abundant fruit is very adhesive, and there is a stream of Méal-like, forceful red berry ripeness. There is a jungle of elements on the finish, a fissure of stone fruit and granite and strength. Vigorous Hermitage – a big crossroads of influences, is a south-leaning wine. This is long. When I taste the Cathelin 2009 after this, I find this to be a wine of Le Méal, and the Cathelin a wine of Les Bessards this year. From 2018-19 2038-41. “It has perfume, flesh, spice, red meat – it has everything,” Gérard Chave. “It was very turbid before now. 2009 was the only year when we waited for rain to allow us to harvest after the blockage of prompted by the summer heat. We were hoping it would rain, and we picked one week after the rain,” Jean-Louis Chave. Bottled March 2012. Nov 2012 Previously July 2011 ****** various casks tasted from the different climats: Péléat (cask) ***** full, bright robe; wide, expressive, waves of black cherry, griottes on nose. Clear tinkle on start of palate, with a muscular middle, has an aromatic, lasting finale. Lovely fruit, good balance. “this comes from the sand on Péléat, which means there is finesse,” J-L Chave. 2031-33 Beaumes (cask) ****(*) mainly dark robe; oily, rather reductive nose, with marked mineral influence, has tension. Dense, full palate – there is strength here, dark tannin, cocoa in the taste. Hermitage wanting to be southern, is a scaled, probing wine, really solid. Thorough is the word. 2032-34 Le Méal (cask) ****** sweet notes on the nose, nutty, full red jam airs. Rich palate, a ball of gras richness with a cluster of tannin at the end, an aromatic aftertaste of red cherry , still tight. “a sunshine wine on limestone, so there is some tightness on the palate,” J-L Chave. 2033-35 L`Hermite (cask) ****** good, dark red colour; nutty, very careful, precise nose. Elegant red fruit within. Clear lines along the palate, glinting fruit: this is more Burgundian than the other climats, draws in tannins and chewy matter from half way. Offers fine fruit and tannin, finishes reserved, closed. Elegant wine that can become silky, excellent. The best of the bunch so far. 2036-38 Les Bessards (cask) ****** full, dark red. Mineral, ripe red jam aroma, soft licorice notes, unusual bouquet. Pebbly black fruit with breathing intensity and fullness, muscled late stages; this is long and hermetic, complete wine. Licorice on the aftertaste. Just ahead of L`Hermite in quality. “Very lean, tight. Bessards is more pure, Méal more showy this year. Bessards has always been reserved like this,” J-L Chave. OVERALL ****** two key constituents this year for its class – L`Hermite and Les Bessards; their influence will drive the wine ultimately. At first the fat richness of Méal will show up strongly. Heading for a complex future. 2038-42 July 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ****** various casks tasted from the different climats: Péléat (steel vat, after its cask spell) ****(*) dark red. Brooding, reductive, tarry plum aroma. Thorough red fruit on the palate, which builds up as it goes, persists, also bears a measured richness. It is tight-knit, has a baked feel to it, a sun and solid nature. 2031-33 Beaumes ****(*) dark robe. Charming, full black fruit aroma that is really winsome, a sexy, super nose. Stylish black fruit on the palate – this is almost a wine from further south, the deep south – it is 15.5 which doesn`t surprise me. It is full, deep, has a throb of rich red fruit, liqueur notes. It is solid and more fleshy than the Péléat. “Beaumes is often very ripe, my ripest Syrah – it is more limestone than Méal, also more clay,” J-L Chave. 2034-37 Méal ****** full red; wide, nutty nose, a complete wall of dark aroma. This is a big year for Méal – the palate shows some fresh spots, has a thorough constitution, is finer than Beaumes, notably on the finish, where is a good, measured sign-off. Big length here. 24 years+. L`Hermite ****** black robe. The nose is one, a complete display here, iodine, pulp of the grape, nutty airs. “It will go well with Beaumes, since this is more spicy, tight, while Beaumes is on the jam, silken textured,” J-L Chave. The palate holds generous black fruit berries. The length is good, there is spiced freshness on the finish. A big wine, but it flows as well, has plenty of late tannin. 26 years+. Mortine (the strong granite, at the south-west exposure of L`Hermite) ****** dark robe. Reductive, broad nose. The palate is very deep, but it is agreeably fresh, its black fruits rock along. Good vigour and life in the fruit, which runs well into mineral phases. 26 years. Bessards (the lower part with some clay in it) ****** dark, bright. Smoky, reductive nose – black fruit, influences of the deep south, olives, herbs. The palate is rich-hearted, is a really good, delightful wine that is thorough, persistent, fresh. 27 years. “I find this gives me the tone of the final assembled wine,” J-L Chave. Bessards (the true granite part) dark robe. Fine bouquet that suggests reduction – also olives here, black fruits, a touch of mineral. Very grand palate – a real mix of gras richness, ripeness and purposeful length. Live, vigorous, ripe tannins that are crunchy on the end. Class act. I don`t go to seven stars. 33 years. OVERALL ****** this will be a super rich wine, parading ample red fruit, with layers of richness all the way through and along it. It will be enormously well-liked, I suspect, even by people who are not sure about really big wines – it has the poise to be fine as well. 2040-45 Nov 2010

2008 ()

the bottled wine now landed in England at Yapp Brothers: the red robe is nice and dark, has a hint of black in it. 2008 vintage pepper on the front nose, with a mix of freshness and black jam plus licorice beyond, a small note of game and some floating primrose – the nose is complex, varied. Fine red fruit leads the palate, with flavours of plum and juicy spots through it, and a floral drift that connects to the nose. There is a peppered, crackly front to the fruit, and the wine`s shape is upright, but not stiff. The length is pretty decent, delicate. The aftertaste is gamey, offers red fruits, mulberry there. A very respectable lesser vintage wine. From 2013. I am surprised to see it is nevertheless 14°. 2028-30 June 2011 Previously Dec 2009 *** various casks tasted from the different climats: Péléat **(*) pretty red; charcoal, notably smoky top air, fine black fruit present. The palate is a bit stiff, upright, holds black fruit. There are slightly dry, fine tannins. 12 years. Beaumes *** mild red colour. Soft red jam air. Nutty, crunchy fruit on the palate, the length fine. Finishes carefully, freshly. Has more evident tannin than the Péléat. 14 years. Méal *** “Méal always does especially well in the dry vintages because of the clay there, so 2008 was tricky. We harvested 8 casks of Méal this year, against 18 usually,” J-L Chave. three-quarter depth red; lightly nutted red fruits nose. The palate lacks the usual free generosity, has a mineral tang, a direct run, almost suggests a granite origin this year. Minerally aftertaste, sinew there. 15 years. L'Hermite & Bessards ***(*) (assembled last week) dark pockets in the robe; black cherry fruits aroma – I find Bessards in the nose, China ink, flowers, “iodine” J-L Chave. Black berry fruit on the palate, which is a class operator against the other plots so far tasted, prune touches. A good Hermite contribution at the end - extra roundness and spice, quiet length. 16-18 years. OVERALL *** I would call this a pretty good effort in the very wet circumstances. Thank goodness for the Bessards support spine. It will be a charming wine around 8 years` old, one of those quiet years such as 1994. 2025-28 Dec 2009

2007 ()

full, shiny red robe. The nose is on reduction, gives an aroma of big red mulberry style fruit within, holds up safely and well, has some grunty depth and smoking. It is more square in shape than the 2006 tasted alongside it. The palate delivers bright red fruit on the attack; it is young, and not as fleshy as the 2006. Brisk tannins appear on the end. It is still more of a frame than a full wine. It closes with fine juice, anote of flowers. This will slowly gain over time. It is more cleanly struck than the 2006. 14°. 2033-35  Nov 2015 Previously Dec 2009 ****(*) (different tanks, pre-assembly, to be bottled end January 2010) tank 1 *** bright red; red cherry, low key licorice, elegant bouquet. Black cherry palate with a sweet mid moment. Lengthens quietly, keeps ticking over, has fine length. Pure fruit in this. 18 years or so. Tank 2 ****(*) bright, quite dark robe; tight and compact nose, seasoned black fruits. The palate runs directly along cool lines – very good fruit, also typicity here, there is a lovely purpose about it. Really good fruit. 19-21 years. Tank 3 ***** nice bright red robe. Red cherry, coulis style appeal, fine baked red fruit, redcurrants aroma. Scented, berry fruit palate with perfumed finesse, real good length, good Burgundian qualities. Classic and pure, clear fruit of great appeal. 18-10 years. Tank 4 ***(*) correct red colour; close-knit, nutty nose, red plum fruit. The palate attacks with vigour, has a hearty filling, plenty of fired-up fruit, less fine than the previous tank “more closed, more rustic” J-L Chave. Cherry, lip-smacking end, a wine from the middle of the scrum, a ousher. 20 years. OVERALL ****(*) certainly a slow developer, but has elegance, has body, and reminds me at this stage of 1991. Thus plenty of charm in the pipeline here. 2027-31 Dec 2009 Previously Dec 2008 ***** various casks tasted from the different climats: Péléat ***(*) (racked 2 weeks ago) full, dark red; smoky, saline red fruit aroma, octopus ink. Gentle palate, with wire running through it – the red fruits here have a definite point of focus. Good clear and sustained finish. 18 years. Beaumes ***** full robe; blackberry, soaked black cherries, toasted aroma, olives and pistachio; really attractive, beguiling black fruit on the palate, silky, fresh and bright at the same time, good length, lovely width. Bring it on. Lovely balance, and a feathery harmony. 18-20 years. L'Hermite ***** dark robe; broad nose – shows a good ripple of muscular, solid airs – there is a healthy tension and latent quality here, and it is packed with some fundamental underlay. The palate is reserved, but offers intense black fruits with a vigorous burst of that fruit. It lengthens well, and has a clear tang of mineral on the end. Good, sustained finish. A shade ahead of Beaumes. “Granite plus clay means the wine will be more tight-knit. J-L Chave. 22 years. Le Méal ****(*) dark robe; reserved nose, with plenty in it – it is rich, reveals baked red fruits – that baked effect is similar to the other climates. The red fruit on the palate resembles a mix of 70% Pinot Noir, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre! Has a good, compact texture, its density sustained, a quiet throb in it. The length is full, purposeful. The aftertaste is olives. This will be good in a blend – is an engine room provider. “It is more of the south, the garrigue, black olives,” J-L Chave. 21-24 years. Bessards **** (the low part of the hill – granite with a little clay) full robe; insistent black fruit aroma, coupled with licorice, bacon, a pepper snap. The palate has a brisk outer lining, with juicy black fruit within and a surprisingly soft, floral note late on. It persists well, is a steady operator. “The tender side comes from the vintage – this was our ripest zone in sugar,” J-L Chave. 17-18 years. Bessards ****(*) (the main granite, higher part, near La Chapelle) dark robe; smoky, cordite, graphite, violet and black fruits mix on the nose. The palate reflects snappy, but very inlaid black fruit; there is a line of vigour and muscle, some oak present. A wine with good, and typical Bessards spine, without excess. A three-quarter depth Bessards, not one of the big ones, not a wild beast this year. Plenty of late tannin in its close. “2007 is a fruit year – that`s why I prefer to rack the wines now (Dec 2008) because I want to preserve their fruit, which is the profile of the vintage,” J-L Chave. This will be bottled June or July 2009 – so relatively ahead of the 2006. 20-22 years. OVERALL ***** compact, elegant wine, with lingering fruit in view here, likely to charm, and be accessible quite early, a Burgundian style appeal, not a wine of hauteur or distance from the drinker. I reckon the blending will enhance its quality, and indicate the merit of that procedure, rather than the grower producing 6 different cuvées. Could be on the go, with harmony apparent, around 2015. To 2026-30, say. Dec 2008

2006

there is a full centre to the red robe. The nose gives an air of piled up red berries, with a fresh, near menthol centre thread and a smokiness, a hint of flowers. It isn’t fully out and about yet. The palate is also fresh, holds stylish, gourmand red berry fruit with a lightly fluid nature. Holds good, compact potential. It offers already tasty moments in a Pinot vein. There are also gamey notes, which don’t really fit it well. 14°. 2032-34  Nov 2015 Previously Nov 2013 ****(*) 2 bottles tasted. 1st bottle: reduction and notes of Brett. A lot of finesse, but it isn’t really pure, has been open a few hours. 2nd bottle: agreeably shiny plum red colour, a good heart to the robe. The nose is elegant, delivers perfumed notes, has been open 20 minutes; it has a plump, rather Pinot Noir centre, along with surrounds of tobacco and pine. The palate has a very tasty start, a delicacy of rose and its fragrance, has better cut then the first bottle, nicely chiselled tannins, a fresh lining. There is a bosky charge in it, granite influences, the finish good and grainy. Fine cherry fruit comes through as it ends. It is a vintage of finesse, with some accompanying mystery, the length assured. It will be more complex around 2019-20. It is more Burgundian than Southern. 2031-33 Nov 2013 Previously Dec 2008 ***** 4 tanks – 25% each of the final wine - tasted one month before the mid-Jan 2009 bottling: 1) **** bright purple-red robe; suave, cherry red fruit aroma mixed with smoke or graphite. The palate is also suave, compact – this is a fruit-forward wine that ends tight and closed. There is latent vigour in this, more than meets the first glance. 19-21 years. 2) ****(*) quite a full red robe; bright, red fruits, raspberry fruit aroma, out and about. Mulled red fruits on a wide palate – this has a good line of attack, the fruit is persistent, has a lacing of tannin. “I like its character – it is a bit less powerful than tank no 1” J-L Chave. 3) ***** (more granite influence from this terroir) purple-violet robe; the nose is reserved, smoky, has plenty of intrinsic depth. Beau fruit on this, lovely, classy black fruit and violet in the flavour – really good harmony. Ends on interesting fullness, a note of game or gibier. 22 years. 4) ***** purple; good, rounded red fruits nose – nicely knit, a bit cautious for now. Has a black berry fruit attack with a good lacing of licorice and violet – this is structured, the finish is mineral. 23 years. OVERALL ***** Good elements – the theme of each note is a little different, indicating a fusion will be successful. Life to 2030-32, say. “2006 is a very terroir, very soil year – a more Protestant year than 2007 – it will make up into a very belle bouteille, with good class. It is tight-knit, straight and pure – more intellectual than 2007. I reckon it will show its hand in 10 years` time,” Jean-Louis Chave. Dec 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***** various casks tasted from the different climats: Beaumes ***(*) cedary, blueberry, suave nose with reduction smell, too. Clear fruit with a discreet core of richness, good length, oaked aftertaste. Not very big this year, but sound. Péléat ***** more substance than Beaumes in a dense, broad bouquet, also reduced. Red fruit on palate goes on an extended run, runs right on, has live late acidity, is stylish in the making. This will add flair to the wine, the fruit is brilliant. “This started hyper-charming, showed a lot of Pinot character (Pinoté), then it shut up,” J-L.C. L'Hermite (tank) ****(*) quite dark; plenty in the nose – red fruits and sun, some chocolate, is reductive; has a muscled palate that moves along with peppery edging and good flow. Has a wired elegance with low-key richness. La Mortine, part of L'Hermite, at its south-west end towards Les Bessards **** bright, clear red berries aroma; very clear, very granite, very cherry flavour, clear and beau with a lot of fine style and good space in it. Runs in a good sequence, is peppery. Does not have many nuances – moves straight along. Méal ***** good, bright, dark red; good and sealed red fruits aroma with elegance and charm. Reserved palate with good clarity; the fruit is pure and less beefy, less hot than recent years. But it is more tannic than usual, too. A pretty wine with grip, that needs time. Petit Méal, from its most easterly part with more clay, fewer glacier leftovers, larger barrel ***(*) dark robe; subdued nose with some cherry fruit, a soft operator; good structure on palate, goes well with Péléat, has a red jam easy tone. Lower scale than the Méal classic, has some end tannins. Les Bessards ***** so important, this: good black-red robe; low-key black fruit aroma, rounder than usual; is deep-seated but has a soft, almost floral note that is rare. Good, stylish strike of scented fruit on the palate, soft and gracious gourmandise. Not startling this year. “2006 will be a pleasure to construct from all these elements. Bessards is quite similar to the others,” J-L.C. OVERALL maybe ***** a wine of scented appeal, round in the recent house style. Unusual year, with its role reversal of tannins, the switch from Bessards to Méal for tannins this year. Can be drunk on its primary fruit, but ideally after 5 years, say 2011. A wine of 22-25 years life, to 2031. To be assembled late spring 2008. 30 Nov, 2007

2005

full, complete mauve robe; the nose is reserved, compact, tight, but its top air is graceful, smoky and peppery, with thorough black fruit – a bouquet that broods in its lair – has a dark, almost petrol intensity. The palate leads with a “dark”, bosky, resin-ending fruit – the fruit is compact, has a lovely presence, andhas the attribute of clear length. This has excellent balance. It more open now than expected – but will close down, around 2011, for instance. From 2013. I reckon that Les Bessards leads the palate – the granite zones are to the fore in the wine`s profile this year, no surprise. 2034-37 Dec 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****** what a dark robe – black with purple. Has a good, intense nose with some refinement, sits quietly but securely in the glass. The palate black fruits are woven with a licorice spine, very good backbone, a real vertebrae for the wine, with some patches of richness around it. Well-directed, clearly fruited, and has a certain pleasing rigour. Long, assured grip here. I really like these tannins – you can get your teeth into them. Is cool and clear at the end at this young stage. From 2012, but will still be young then. “The tannins are from the granite,” J-L.C. 2036-39. 30 Nov, 2007 Previously Dec 2006 ****** first tasted in Dec 2005, when the young vats were extremely impressive, then in Dec 2006. This is the Real Deal. The climats ran thus in Dec 2006: L’Hermite suave, flattering nose, juicy, supple fruit, flows with grain, clear mulled berries. L’Hermite/Rocoules wide and deep aroma, black chocolate; chunky palate, ripe fruit with serious intent from the tannins, lovely quality in the tannins. “wild sloe fruits,” Gérard Chave. Beaumes good dark robe; smiling aroma, black berry with some gibier underneath. Clear start of black fruit, mineral and leather, a bit straight from its new oak. Péléat dark, spiced elements, a sunny core to the aroma; probing continuity, plenty on the palate, a dark Vin Noir that persists, is a real tight do, and a marked thread of mineral. Plenty of tannins, but are ripely done. Chocolate, oak on the aftertaste. A bit of the 2003 here for Péléat this year. Méal ripe fruit, round and rich nose, violets, is silken. Supple, rich start to palate, with jam in there. Juicy, squeezy richness, sound grip. Tannins are well set inside. “Just racked which has helped its tannins,” Gérard Chave. Bessards black fruit, mint on nose, some red berry; very tight black fruit on palate, is upright, with a crisp texture, a classic Bessards – has the clarity it should bear. Real good length and a fresh finale. Pepper and spice late on. “Always the very element in the assemblage that determines a Grand Hermitage,” Gérard Chave A wine that will be living and prospering over 35 years or more. Dec 2006

2004 ()

red robe, still bright. Clove, peony, soaked red cherries (griottes) airs mingle on the nose, with dried flowers, pot pourri. There is very bright and lucid raspberry fruit also. It continues very well. The palate gives fine, cool red fruits, keen freshness, with a little mushroom earthiness. It grips on the finish. It is a “pointilliste” wine, an accumulation of many little dots of detail. The tannins are breezy, and one feels the juice here was a hard won result. It is a mineral-terroir, floral wine over a climate and sun one, and it keeps its cards close to its chest. “It was more on reduction, but is now more precise. It resembles 2001,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2032-35 Oct 2016 Previously Nov 2007 **** red with some dark plum in the colour, is a full, dark raspberry. Has a soft, rather plump, quasi international aroma – reflects pristine berry fruit with some oak smoke: “sleek” is the word. The fruit is maybe mulberry or wild berries, along with some game in the air. The palate holds broad fruit, rolled-up berries with a sustained, pretty compact appeal. Easy-toned, verging on the delicious wine now – is very elegant and its balance is good. The texture is good and clear late on. Rather a modern, pristine wine with a Burgundian nature. Is not a year for Bessards, which was tired out by the 2003 vintage – is much more on the roundness. The fruit is both supple and a little live. Maybe more new oak than usual. 2023-26 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 **** (the last elements before assemblage, from different tanks) A fragrant, more airy style of vintage, with a clean thread through it. Dashing fruits on the nose; palates supple, with live fruits. Red cherry fruits noticeable, with interesting tannins, that have life in them. Mineral tints in the wine. A w.o.w. wine (what one wants), without complication in its youth. Life of 18-23 years, for instance. Dec 2006 Previously Dec 2005 ***** separate climats tasted as usual before assembly: a wine that can be OK to start drinking from 2008 and run to 2026-28. Péléat - 14.4° this year; red berry coulis aroma, juicy, Pinot style fruit, red fruits in the style liked by Gérard, freshly set finish. Beaumes - crisp, black fruits/pepper mix on nose. Cool weave of black fruit gums and mint with tannins evident. Méal - ripe, bit of game, aromatic bouquet. Supple, Pomerol style texture, rich and fleshy, not a granite wine: "I sometimes think of Méal as the Merlot of Hermitage", J-L Chave. L`Hermite is polished, leathery nose, black fruits, prune, some wax. Measured black fruits, with southern, olives tang, mineral length, is complex. Les Bessards - mint, leather nose, black, berried fruits on attack, rounder than usual, tannins from half way. Dec 2005

2003

full, purple, sleek robe; gutsy, ample bouquet – unusual with its air of black rather than red berries notably present. Has a lithe outer air – there is plenty here, a lot of potential and heart. It is almost possible to smell the primary vinification, the must, and it keeps probing on – it is still like a lot of other 2003s. The palate carries black berries with plenty of depth in the taste, then a grilled note. Has a prune-plum aftertaste. The length is good – this ends clearly, even if there is some alcohol and heat. The black fruit is really well defined, and there is great late cut and finesse. It does not seem tannic, but it is. For the drinker, it is a wine that revolves around the style – you either like this big rendering or you don`t want your Hermitage so “large”. To 2033-36 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 ****** very dark; violet, sustained black jam aroma with a sweet heart, and clear mineral edging. Richly endowed palate, with prune and berries to the fore. Is redondo all through, and warmly packed – the black berry flavour is succulent, the prune scented. Licorice, floral aftertaste. Its mark of finesse appears late on. Already drinks easily in this primary stage because it is so ripely composed. Is at least 16.5 degrees. 2031-35 “You do not drink wines like this much in your life; we never once racked this during its ageing,” Gérard Chave. Dec 2006 Previously Dec 2005 ***** ample, weighty bouquet, with black fruit pastilles here, and some Hermitage style, and a truffle touch. Pastilles flavour again, very thorough, tasty and ample, finishes with sound definition. The tannins come through and bring a meaty, earthy flourish on a bold finish. Pure fruit and mineral in tandem here. Fascinating, unusual wine: "it is low in acidity, is over 15 degrees, but it is fresh," Jean-Louis Chave. Only 9,000 b this year. Dec 2005. Previously (casks) ***** Beaume - gummy fruit, ripe, chunky palate, blood! Quite long, grape skin ending. L´Hermite - knit fruit nose, cooked/brewed black fruit, rich prune flavour. Bessards - shoulders, chunky, penetrating fullness, chocolate, a wave of black lozenges with alcohol, more like the wine you make pour s`amuser. Gasping aftertaste. Good portents for indeed a manly wine, high rating.

2002 ()

bright, pretty quite dark red (is lighter than the 2004); mulled red berries aroma, with lots of life in it – has grip. There are light earthy airs, as if a healthy ripeness was hard to achieve. The bouquet has an elegant shape - is not a big boy with its clean lines. The fruit skips a beat – is maybe just closing down, and conveys some wee green pepper. The palate is rich in the modern way; here is a red fruit, raspberry fest – all on its clean, primary fruit appeal. Holds some late white pepper lining from its tannins. Is Burgundian in style – in the making and in the tasting. The finish is peppery. 2021-24 Nov 2007 Previously *** (casks) black fruit, light pepper, floating bouquet. Pretty fruit on palate, good core, early flourish then tightens. Drier-toned year. Quite meaty finish, plum/black fruit present, too. Length OK, some end tannin. Esp 2008 on. 2020-24

2001

dark red, a lovely robe. The bouquet comes in the same style as 2004 tasted just before, is a bit more open, polished, leads on raspberry fruit, with softened red cherries’ airs. It has a Pinot nature, eases out sensuously, has inkiness and some herbes de Provence. The palate gives a serene run of red fruits, with bright sparkle, has mineral strength below. Very good late terroir from Bessards closes it on crunch, while the upholstery comes from the other climats. This is a beauty, delicious wine with very supple raspberry juice; it’s in a sweet spot now. 2034-37 Oct 2016 Previously Jan 2015 ***** slight evolution shows in its dark red. This has a charming, flower-inspired prune and mulberry, blueberry fruit aroma, a note of black coffee and licorice also. The palate runs with finesse, is delightful, has subtle qualities. Its floral, perfumed dabs are very appealing. The aftertaste is very joli – flowers, cedar, rocks and stones. It gathers way and momentum as it goes. “It has a joli light touch, has quite a lot to say, and lacks five years to be at its top,” Jean-Louis Chave. It ends with a flourish, lovely and tasty. Very attractive indeed. Along with the aromatic moments come tobacco and mineral. We opened this to compare the vintage to 2012. 2034-36  Jan 2015  Previously Nov 2007 ***** still purple in the robe; has a stewed, rather reductive nose – the aroma is a little “high” and obscure – suggests fruit gums, not that noble. After 2 hours, the bouquet becomes clearer, with good grip and plenty in it – smoky and peppery, too. The palate shows reserved, spiced, mulled fruit with lots of live sinew. Red fruits emerge towards the finish – I sense a Bessards imprint late on, where there is good granite tension. This has a lot of character, and is clearly a hand-made wine of a personal domaine. Is a coiled animal, waiting to pounce just now. Has very pretty vivacity and fruit, very fulfilling freshness. Is more skittish than the 1999, and its length is good. The fruit is in a sweet spot today. Parisian rather than Lyonnais wine. Esp 2011-12 onwards for its second phase. 2026-28 Nov 2007 Previously ***** oily, warm cooked fruit/olives, quite plush bouquet. Real elegance, lovely freshness combined with maturity - great style. Beau Vin. Silken texture, tannins are defined, oily, pretty. Good length, mineral aftertaste with some dried fruits. 2024-29

2000 ()

slight advance shows on the robe, which is mainly dark red. The nose has slight game airs in with its crunched raspberry aroma; it is inky, has dried flowers such as pot pourri in the air. The palate holds spicy stone fruits with forest influences towards the finish. There are Pinot associations here, with northern freshness – it has true freshness. The tannins are fine and tasty, have cool notes. Its gras is very beau; it is going well, is a pleasurable wine for gastronomy now. “It is growing its complexity with age; we are now selling some of this since there is so little other wine to sell – 2013 was 22 hl/ha, against 25 hl/ha in 2014 and 38 hl/ha in 2015,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2031-34  Dec 2015 Previously Nov 2007 *** the robe is dark red, with a little purple. The bouquet leads with red fruits – raspberry – with an easy, smoked appeal about them. This has some depth, but is a little narrow, has more acidity than the 2002, and ends with some floral, orange peel airs. The palate red fruit has some life in it, but is not particularly sustained, nor very rich. It gains some roundness late in the day, but edges along at the start of the palate, then becomes peppered – ground black pepper – and mineral. The length is sound, so I would give this a chance to shape itself into a gentle, texture wine around 2011-14 especially. *** for now. From late 2009. 2022-24 Nov 2007 Previously June 2006 **** still full robe. Nose at an unusual stage this early - is advanced and breathes out tea bags with a floral presence. The underlay is still full, and the top note bright, as if a tea and jam ensemble infused with some mineral. Maturing palate, after a sappy attack, there is mineral in this hefty style of wine, then it tightens and tars at the end. Doesn`t dance lightly; is unlike the more spare versions of Chave red in the 1970s, for instance, is more upfront, a more plush form of Hermitage. There isn't a lot of backbone, but this may stay at this stage of early advance for a while, without delcine. The mineral flavour is very marked. The finale is scented, perfumato. 2021-23 June 2006 Previously Sept 2004 **** touch game/animal bouquet, also sappy fruit, some advance. Stylish, loganberry style fruit, starting to vary, air will help it. Compact finish, tannins there also raisin/floral aspect. Not a constant evolution wine, goes up and down, flourishes, then curls up at different moments. General progress, though. 2018-22 Previously *** tar/oil, dry skins on nose. Lithe blackberry fruit, leather/spice. Shows largely on its fruit, has peppered aftertaste. Tight-knit, stops a little. Not a constant evolution wine, goes up and down. 2012-15 Sept 2004 Previously ***** nicely profound robe; open, silky and oily, tender black fruit bouquet; Fleshy, very stylish. Tight-packed, elegant attack, almost "fat Merlot" in texture. Very good end tannin to add interest. 2018-21

1999

there is the start of evolution on the robe, with the red a bit dumb, and some paleness on the rim. The bouquet works sideways as well as down; the red berries are compactly woven, and evoke quince and mulberry, with a little outer pepper. After 2 hours, has become very tight and dense, not open, but broad in form. The palate starts out roundly, with overt muscle and red fruit depth. The tannins are well knitted – but there is still evidence of their quite youthful lining in the slightly hidden red fruit. Good, replete and stylish wine that is broad all through, but comes with a fine touch. Muscular wine, from Lyon rather than Paris. From 2011. 2026-29 Nov 2007 Previously ***** dark red. Smoky, tight bouquet, rubber, nut and tar. Delicious palate, flies out of the starting gate. Tightens and dries at end as oak bites in. Persistent, lasts well. Pebbly black fruit subdued overall now, but good purity. Serious structure. From 2007-08. 2022-28

1998

sound red at the heart of the robe, with just a little lightening at the top: there is still a good, complete covering of red. The nose is very persistent, has a lot of depth in its quite crisp berry aroma – black berries with plenty of zip, life. This indeed is a broad, prolonged berry aroma, with a little earthy underlay that emerges with 90 minutes` air. This bouquet is great – most appealing, and comes in a ripe, savoury, near-Pomerol fashion. Is also still young. The palate is wonderful. Has a silken texture with real good core, and a textured, still young heart, its stone fruits melded with ripe tannins. I like the end, where the tannins carry a good, light pepper grip, as per their unbridled youth. Has done very well with time. This is very typical Chave, with great clarity of fruit. 2023-25 Nov 2007 Previously **** some matt on robe after five years. Game, red meat, nicely firm cooked fruit, peppery edges on bouquet. Blackberry debut, then becomes drier, peppered - shows the vintage. Red fruit - quince, raspberry aftertaste, some chewiness. Turning to a second phase. From 2006-07. 2017-21 1998 Previously Nov 2001 **** touch of advance on nose, some game and fungal - air broadens and warms it. Nicely directed ref ruit, has middle richness, ripe fruit here. Quite expressive, could be little more dense. Esp from 2006 so tannins can soften and blend. 2017-21 November 2001

1997 ()

the red robe comes with some ruby, especially near the top. Has a pointed bouquet, exhales a cone shape. The outer is live and peppery, the interior is smoky and charcoaled, with traces of black fruit at its heart. The fruit content is neither very secure nor prominent. Has live, on its toes palate fruit, with a late pebbly, live tannic burst. The length is OK. There are earthy tones in this, and it lacks clarity towards the finish. There is dart of fruit late on, as if it emerges into the clear after being in a tunnel. Has tightened up since last tried, but can persist, since the fruit is very bright, especially as the air works on it. The wrong time to bump into this wine – it is at a crossroads, and needs to wear off its acidity. Revert in 2009. Sunday lunch – roast lamb, for instance, a good idea. 2019-22 Nov 2007 Previously Nov 2005 ***(*) has a violet, “acute” jam aroma, with a little peel of leather also, some beeswax, with a classy ease to it, and a backdrop of oiliness – is a sympa bouquet. The palate is very much in the vein of an advance to a gamey tenor, shows brewed, slightly piercing Syrah, red stone fruits, with some tightening via a dash of licorice at the end. I am glad about its tannins – they add structure and greater future. A stylish, harmonious wine, with cut, too. Drinks well now. 2016-18 Nov 2005 Previously Oct 2001 **** steady red colour. Rounded, ripe fruit jam bouquet, also rose-hip/mushrooms - is still tight, though. Nicely warm, pleasure wine, with good richness, pretty red fruit like strawberry, some spice. Well-directed, tasty. Sound length, has quiet warmth. 2016-20 Oct 2001

1996

largely dark red robe. Has a smoky red berry aroma – cooked plum fruits, raspberry – it has good, accurate breeze in the eye of the vintage, leaves a small floral trail also, shows cool vintage pepper. The palate links closely to the nose – it is expressive and fresh, dances well, with good definition and very clear expression. It needs drinking with well defined, not sauced dishes – the tannins have wire still in them. It gives very good, fine juice on the finish. It is still making its way. A northern, snappy wine speckled with spice and pepper on the palate, has steady length. 2032-34  Dec 2015 Previously Nov 2007 *** matt hue to the red which is a bit dull. You can detect the acidity of the vintage on the top note of the bouquet, but there exists a good little couch of red berry at first (with air it turns to black berry), and jam under it, and even good old English Marmite (beef-yeast paste, good on toast or with lettuce or in many expatriate situations): Marmite has a deep, tangy air, and fits in with the smoky, live, peppered airs here. The palate is gracious, even if it becomes rather wiry later on. Pepper – green or red – towards the finish. This is a wine on the go, one that cannot stand still. The finish is live, where there are red fruits delivered with a crisp, white pepper flourish. Sound overall, but is a little brittle, and I am not sure it is that well-knit. Will need careful cellaring, not lots of auction room action. It is good to drink all in the round, where one overlooks some of the individual faults. 2019-21 Nov 2007 Previously *** dry-toned bouquet, hint of black fruit with animal, leaves, tea - more upright vintage tones. Mature black fruit flavour, again has a minty, tea aspect. Bit stretched on finish, prominent minerality, rather taut. Some warmth on aftertaste, can still move around and on. 2013-17 Previously April 1999 *** quite dark, pretty colour; violet on top, quite rich underlay on nose. Peppery, quite thorough palate, upright. Firm end flavours, heat there too. Tannins more assertive than usual, higher acidity than 1997. 2016-19 April 1999

1995

still a dark red robe. Dried herbs, aniseed, very tender raspberry airs circulate on the nose. The palate gives a careful display of restrained content with softening juice. It takes to the skies, floats with grace but also fine depth. It has fine detail, floral and rose hip influences, stylish grip, and a very silken gradual increase in warm, sultry juice – that is the surprise package on the end of the wine. 2031-33 Oct 2016 Previously April 2008 ****(*) dark robe, good red. The nose has blackberry with a little tar overlay, a wee bit bit of burn: it is dense and compact now, has cards up its sleeve. The palate is marked by closely-packed red berries – this is a wine of good sequence and lovely richness. The fruit is live and very well defined. 2024-26 April 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****(*) has a pretty red at the heart of the robe, with a lighter top. The bouquet bears white pepper and sealed red fruits with definite tannic traces from this vintage. There is still plenty here, and some floral traces soften it. There is some baked fruit, too; has a beau, cool-aired aroma. This is a peppery, lithe, upright wine with a brisk red fruit heart. The length is good, live, active. There is a pepper thread through it, with good underlying richness of a refined nature. Still peppery on the end. Is very vintage marked. Especially drink this with game dishes, notably feather – bird. Is a Bordelais Hermitage; the 2001 is rounder, but has some similarity in its cut. This may just be starting to settle. 2023-25 Nov 2007 Previously ***** red colour subdued, turning to matt after eight years. Promising, sunny year bouquet, warm/fat. Warm, fleshy wine, delicious. Like sucking a spiced fruit plum jam lozenge. Smooth texture, tightens a little on finish, good length. Declares its style openly, excellent fruit. 2014-19 Previously Feb 2003 ***** decent red, holding well; softly peppered nose, rose-hip, floral with an extra firm edge of liquorice. Good sinew on palate, essentially rounded but still tight and locked up. Will express much more on palate around 2008. Tight on the second half, pretty good length, which will improve. 2016-20 February 2003

1994

***(*) a little ease in the red of the robe; mild, plum-scented nose with traces of tea, violets, red berry and smoky bacon. Delicate, refined red fruit on the palate – has a lithe feel. Supple, now singing wine. There is space, air on the finish, nothing untoward. Pretty wine. 2020-23 April 2008 Previously Nov 2007 **** plum red at the heart of the robe, which has a subdued tone. The bouquet is at a very harmonious, complete stage – has a brewed, almost Bovril (beef stock, good for stews) style, with trails of mature raspberry late on. Reflects Hermitage correctly, has local feel, and a little floral content. The same applies for the palate - it is in the right place at the right time now. Is a sort of shadow of the 1991 – comes in that vein – with a very appealing, deftly silken texture. Flows well, has beautiful red fruit of great elegance. This is bonny, the fruit compact and the balance good. 2021-23 Nov 2007 Previously April 2004 *** a vintage of change - early pleasure getting fragile after ten years. Gently cooked black fruit jam, spice and smoke on bouquet, fairly well-packed. Cool, nice start texture - violets and sinewy red fruit flavour, white pepper also. Just getting grainy and ends quietly. 2008-11 Previously October 1998 ***** dark red; soft, maybe strawberry fruit aroma; Palate is plump, also full of soft fruit, fat and unctuous. Very aromatic, a pleasure wine, delicious. 2011-16 October 1998

1993

garnet in the robe, although that is clear and bright. The bouquet carries soft, raisin tart and prune aromas with a sprinkle of pepper – is pretty wide and elegant, too. Pretty aroma, in an understated way. The palate is soft, as if chaptalised: has a floral start, and a curl of roundness, with a red stone fruit tinge to the taste. Is drinking well now – as a pretty, aromatic, low scale wine. The palate will become just a little dry around 2011, I suspect. Is very good for its vintage, and has surpassed my early expectations about its longevity. 2016-17 Nov 2007 Previously ** mature, tinge of brick robe. Firework aroma, seems to carry evident acidity. Slight cooked fruit, a little early gras. This is rather cobbled together, a slightly uncomfortable wine. Dry leaf, tea finish. 2008-09

1992

brick colour in the robe – this is the first wine of an even number year since 2004 to break ranks and show its age. Has a tea, ground coffee aroma, with some southern sweetness underneath, revealing baked fruits: very much runs along the lines of Earl Grey tea (china tea with bergamot), with the sweetness of chaptalisation, also bacon fat here. Has a probing, caramel, date, a little red berry flavour. There are no big skies here: it drinks well in its restricted panorama, and holds simple appeal. The red fruits are nicely present until the finish. Is savoury, but without great persistence. 2015-20 Nov 2007 Previously *** pale red; viscose, wax, plastic side to bouquet, some spirit has slipped the leash. Gentle red fruit/spice flavour, but lacks core. Grainy, with some roundness, comes through as light jam. Works OK - has fair juice and fleshes with air. 2012-14

1991

advancing red, pretty colour. Very appealing mix of red berry jam and rose hip on the nose, wafts of licorice and fennel, with an earthy underlay that persists. The attack is delicious, this is a “drink me” wine, very expressive, offers glorious fruit. Has a round shape. There is the ultimate fine fruit here, such as strawberry in flavour, coupled with delicate tannin. Very harmonious, is delivered with a light touch. Lovely, complex wine. Good with Chinese Peking roast duck, no sauce, or Laknawi cuisine, lamb chops marinaded overnight, slow cooked so as to contain spice and softness. Not just Gérard`s kid, young goat, dish, you see! 2023-25 Keeps surprising me with its longevity, testament to its supreme balance. Tell that to the heavy extractors, yo! June 2011, chez Chave Previously Nov 2007 ***** this is a real darling, much loved by Gérard. Red, pretty robe that carries its quiet maturity well – has a little top ruby, soft orange. Round, baked fruits lead the nose, with a persistent smoky heart, and a very good, still intense core. There is mulled red fruit at the heart of the bouquet, with some pepper and smoke attached - great variety, and bundles of elegance, great charm and finesse. Becomes more earthy, but also floral with air. Great harmony on the palate, with a very belle live red fruit presence and a silken tendency in the texture. Is lovely drinking now, a real little bébé. Comes more from the Burgundian, Pinoté mould, with its very bonny red fruits and beguiling charm. Very live in its nature. 2019-21 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2002 **** mature red; beguiling, broad aroma - beautifully stewed fruit, generous and flourishing. Aromatic plum/prune. Mature flavour with dry traces - prune/rose/spice. Dry stone fruit texture, is a tidy, well-modelled wine. 2010-14 This is much liked by Gerard, who serves it for lunch with great pleasure. Dec 2002

1990

full, dark red core to the robe, which has a real thorough tone, given its age. There is a wide shape to the bouquet – red berries, with a rich, coulis nature; there is a little aromatic sweet tea, and also a live, slightly acidic afternote, with biscuit and dried raisins as it evolves. The palate sets off with a keen thrust of acidity in its red fruits – really darts along. The red fruit has an angular nature, and is not as spherical or rounded as I recall. The wine settles with some air, bearing the house definition and clear late expression. Is very primary in its way: on this showing, revert in 2009. Its red berry fruit is long, lasting, crisp. It is very young now, indeed a lot younger than it seems, and has more to offer. Rich, but passing through a bit of a transition. 2026-30 Nov 2007 Previously ****** Six star wine here: dark red, thin brick line at top; sappy, moist plum/fungal bouquet, tight overall at twelve years. Very dense palate, great richness - this is TEXTURE! Top Burgundian finesse here. Some heat on aftertaste to reveal its origins. Minted/spice elements on palate, raspberry fruit, Pinot Noir connotations (talked of by grandpa Chave). 2019-25 Previously October 1998 ****** decent dark red, touch of black, now matt. Second phase bouquet - pungent, animal, is deep and round. Sweetly succulent, a feast of flavour. All balance and harmony, has serious length. Lovely silky texture. Grand Vin. 2015-21 October 1998 Previously March 1994 ****** great intensity of colour, very good lustre, with its purple profound. This has a true, young Syrah nose, a real wall of locked-up aroma there, hints of redcurrant fruit there, much promise. There are great surrounds to the palate – it is highly intense, thorough, obviously still restrained, since it is only giving its top layer of flavour. It feels as if it is wrapped up in cotton wool balls at the moment. The depth is probing – when will it be unleashed? Long, unctuous life in prospect. It promises to rank alongside the few famous years such as 1961 and 1947. Its length is fantastic, leaving a lingering crushed fruit on the finale. 2028-30  March 1994  Previously January 1992 the various climats tasted in cask: extraordinary potent fruit and concentration in the Bessards; Le Méal bouquet bit more open than Bessards, lovely depth and delicious fruit attack. Rocoules more floral nose, great finesse, complexity and length - this wine will be a good team player come assemblage in June 1992. Steely, upright bouquet on Péléat, wild, hedgerow fruit and great length - this is a real provider of structure. Lot of dark, berried fruit aroma on Diognières - is very darkly coloured, and harmonious, tasty on the palate - could please on its own. Soft, beguiling, ample bouquet on Beaumes, very nice fruit with quiet, sustained tannin on finish. L`Hermite has sound colour, has some terroir on bouquet, almost a touch of pepper; intense, lovely fruit on palate, agreeable final tannins. These will make up into a memorable wine. Gérard Chave puts it alongside 1952 and 1961. Tasted from casks, the only new one containing the Bessards, in January 1992

1989

more red in its robe than the 1991, with a little pale-pink on the top rim. The bouquet is gaining a sweet nature, a sort of earthy, above all stewed fruit aroma that is broad and also pretty live. Has a little late burst of peppery tannin, a rigour that is appealing. Is a wide and fundamental bouquet, with a hint of the fungal about it. Has a good and round palate, similar to the 1999 – red fruits to the fore, maybe plums most of all. Has a lot of length and life, and a fragrant rose-hip quality on the palate, and great delicacy towards the finish. Beau, live wine that is round and gummy late on, faults and all, since it is less “clean” than the 1995, say, and comes more from the old school of winemaking. Shows great length when drunk with lamb. Some bottles may be better than this one. 2019-23 Nov 2007 Previously April 2003 **** still decent red colour at fourteen years. Rose-hip, violets with smoky, wooded aromas. More open in last year. Scented, older wine flavour, grainy/pebbly. Red fruit finish, and a spicy prickle to it. Is now loosening, having been a true, upright, chewy child of Bessards for a long time. 2013-17 April 2003 Previously March 2002 ***** some advance on nose, more overt tannins than 1990, is broad, bit dusty. Upright wine, raspberry/spiced plum presence, spice greater than 1990. Chewy, upright end, Bessards stamp here. Dry-toned finish. 2016-21 March 2002 Previously March 1994 ***** good, quite stern colour with dark hues – it has moved on from its first purple. The bouquet is becoming a bit mineral, maybe entering a second phase, with just a hint of game entering the bouquet as it advances. Raw fruit of youth still prevails, with some heat on the top of the bouquet. There is a firm flavour and feel on the attack – this is elegant but pretty solid wine. It is less “large” than the 1990, more orthodox, more habitual than that grandiose, off the scale vintage. The fruit is fairly taut, not from the lush school. I perhaps compare it to 1967 or 1979, with a fine style about it and a granular, mineral make-up at heart, the result of the drought and those hard skin, small grapes. 2017-19  March 1994

1988

very good, full plum red robe, and still very deep. The aroma is led by mulled berries with a little “high” note in them, followed by a tinkle of pepper: is very gourmand, with a touch of the earthy, farmyard in it – is most pleasant pour moi. This is a texture wine – bingo! The stone red fruits are laced with spice, menthol and coffee, and proceed with a silken flow. This is showing very well now. It also holds good late acidity in its finish. There may be a trace of Brett in this, but that does not deter me. Others can go back to the laboratory if they wish. 2022-24 Nov 2007 Previously Nov 2004, Berkeley, California **** rounded shape to the bouquet, which bears flowers and cinnamon in its aroma. This grows really well through the palate, and the length is spot-on. Stylish red stone fruits precede a red fruit aftertaste, and the bearing of the wine is very cool and purposeful. Mineral, plum aftertaste – the plum often found chez Chave. 2017-20 Nov 2004 Previously May 2002 ***** mature dark red. Full minty/fungal bouquet, raspberry, spice also. This bottle noticeably tight on palate at 14 years - but I've known softer, more evolved ones. The dry vintage means the fruit is live, alert, has a fresh side. Spicy raspberry here. Prickly fruit, clear finish, getting some quiet sweetness. 2012-18 May 2002 Previously March 1994 ****(*) good depth of colour, mixing purple, some black, and a thorough, lustrous aspect – it looks young. The bouquet is quite tucked up, has a slightly stern side to it, while its aromatic notes are firm, robust. It is moving slowly towards a further phase, and still shows a strong, stiff wall of dark fruit that holds the world at bay. It will show really well around 1999. The palate also starts stiffly; the fruit is solid, the weight sound; there is no really deep core, but it runs on pretty well. This has a semblance of the 1983 vintage about it, when the tannins are quite firm as they are here. Probably the least striking of the trio 1988-89-90. 2014-16  March 1994

1987 ()

red-ruby robe, with a soft tone to it and a clear hue. Rather reductive, red fruits aroma, the fruits are baked red berries with a sweet side to them. Has a sultry, rather earthy air, a touch of the fundamental about it. The palate is round of shape, with an agreeable red fruit heart; carries its roundness well, and consecutively along the palate. Has a quiet, brewed red fruit lining, sound length. Is without great horizon, but is OK. Lots of contrast between the nose and the palate early on – a bit lactic. 2015-17 Nov 2007 Previously March 1994 *** colour becoming matt, lightening. Bouquet rather taut, stretched, has a bosky side, grainy, pebbly, lacks true core. Agreeable palate, relatively more tender than the bouquet. Drinks well now, very sympathique. Excellent restaurant wine, mid-weight, fair length. Richer than wine of many this year. I`d drink this in next five years. March 1994 Previously April 1990 *** middling colour; fruity, typical Syrah bouquet. Palate has sound fruit and vigour, a middle-weight wine that should drink really well within ten or twelve years. Made half his usual amount of wine, with severe crop selection to obtain concentration. The tannins are quite firm in it. Well made under difficulties. April 1990

1986

pretty, quite delicate red, with a little more depth than the 1984. The berry jam aroma is a little “high”, with some game here – black-red berries come with a smoky tilt and have a lot of dance in them, with some biscuity airs as it ages. The bouquet is very prolonged, given its age. Has a harmonious, open and rather fleshy start, and drinks very well now. There is a good mix of fruit and acidity, and it lengthens well. Has come together pleasingly. Shows affinity with the 1991 and 1994. Late on, a bit of Bovril (beef stock) and compact red fruit comes through. Is long, and true. A wine that is mature now, traces of caramel on the palate as witness. 2018-20 Nov 2007 Previously February 1998 **** game on nose, good variety of aroma, leather, prune; great length, has real dark fruit extract. Good grain, drier, upright wine in the way of the vintage. Air broadens it. Drink with game. 2008-10 February 1998 Previously Nov 1991 ***(*) solid plum colour. Bouquet just starting to show some good depth and potential for rich development. Well-knit flavours on the palate, good fruit extract. Bit of a dark horse, this could develop above the vintage's reputation, there are some sound tannins and good weight. Will be more approachable around 1995, but will certainly live for twenty years or so. November 1991

1985

maturing red colour; has a round, shapely nose – it shows fresh and supple blackberry, soaked cherries, has an appealing nuttiness. The palate flirts with fungal notes, and a flavour of fine redcurrant fruit – it is very clear. This does indeed have a Burgundian spark and clarity about it. It extends with a secure step, with grainy late moments that still have a little warmth in them. “This is showing Pinot influences,” Jean-Louis Chave. Drunk chez Chave. 2019-21  Nov 2012  Previously Nov 2007 **** garnet tone to the robe, with red wisps at its core. Has a high, animal-game nose, though possesses a rich, ripe core. The outer aroma is putting-off, but there is a real depth here, and inside resides jam with a little ground coffee. After three hours of air, there is more mineral and definition in the bouquet. The palate charts a similar course to the nose – has a rather sultry, down-home flavour, but the texture is rich, round. The length is good. There is a tinkle of late tannin – just a little grip there, with some pepper. The flavour suggests dark plums, pepper. This finishes cleanly. Because of its stinkiness, triple decant this, and hope. Can be drunk till 2017-20 because of its intrinsic richness. Nov 2007 Previously March 2002 **** fungal, leaf mould, raspberry backdrop on bouquet; mature, quite rich wine. Sinewy black fruit on good attack, also middle palate, then tails away a touch. Getting delicate. Drink ideally to 2006-07. 2010-11 March 2002 Previously March 1994 **** the colour is becoming subdued, still has fair depth, but a few gaps are appearing. The bouquet shows round, very Syrah airs, with accompanying the red even notes of blackcurrant. Some heat and alcohol are present. It is another wine from Gérard Chave that is typical of its vintage. The palate fruit is easy, pleasant – this is not demanding wine, and is Burgundian in style, from the elegant school, with pinot leanings. It is neither in advance nor retreat, is holding quietly together at present. I would give this an agreeable but not inspiring future – its sap is good, and it may lengthen further with more age. It will continue for a decade or more, but drink now to the early 2000s for best enjoyment. Balance will help it to keep going. 2008-12  March 1994 Previously April 1990 ***** dark robe, blacks there, matting a little. Excellent deep berry aromas, lot of potential. Palate very impressive - very well-knit, strong, chewy wine with nicely rounded tannins. Very profound, its balance gives it a life of over twenty-five years, ie 2010 and beyond. April 1990

1984 ()

mild, genuine ruby robe; the bouquet is just a bit reduced, has coffee mint liqueur notes within the black berries, and some bacon, high game swirls here, too. The attack is a bit narrow, has a grainy texture, a pebbly nature. The length is OK – this keeps going. Has plenty of life, and is more aromatic than the 1984 La Chapelle as I recall. A wee drop of late red fruit, with marzipan comes along: its texture is well sealed, so can live still. 2017-18 Nov 2007 Previously March 2002 *** advanced hue on robe - pale red, some brick. Bouquet is quite oily, nicely warm and sappy, with olive style aroma, leaf and mint. Suave, nicely shaped palate with mint presence again. A little stretched, but is more vigorous and live than the Chave 1985 tried today. Touch short on finish. The magnum may add 3-5 years of life. Magnum, March 2002 Previously February 1992 **(*) colour a fragile, pale plum, fading at top. Quite pleasant, but precarious bouquet - some cooked fruit/jam aroma, sweet, typical of year. Agreeable, sappy texture on start of palate - cooked fruit flavours and some final heat. Lacks intensity and its hold is fragile. Well made in a difficult year - under-ripe stalks meant 100 per cent destemming, whereas in ripe years, the stalks are left. Some unevenness emerging on palate - drink it up, though could run for five years or so. February 1992

1983 ()

pale red, bright but pale robe. Dried flowers, pot-pourri air with pure red fruit, such as strawberry, notes of acetate, high tone in it. Has a tarry late moment. The palate has a direct, arrow-like start, also I find firm, acetate notes, a varnish effect, then a farmyard later stage. It comes and goes a lot, gains a gras, assured late stage, so it is more inviting there. Correct for the vintage as it is showing now – the dry, dusty year. It is flirting with life beyond the cliff edge. 2017-18  March 2011  Previously Nov 2007 ****(*) subdued ruby, then red, with some see-through on the top rim. The nose is quite firm, and still complete – shows a mix of baked red fruit tart and flowers, and pursues very well. There is plenty in this very bonny and ample bouquet. The palate is peppery, but is now at a rounded, evolved stage without its initial anxiety. The only moment of real vintage imprint now is an airy, pebbly finish. This is now good to drink with game birds. Has the southern red fruits restraint, a dabble of warmth late in the day that is very Rhodanien. The texture is soft, smooth, and there is a nice, clear and a bit salty finale. Some animal-game emerges on the aftertaste, but this is a wine of great delicacy now. 2017-19 Nov 2007 Previously June 2007 **** plum, rose-hip bouquet that is very typical of the domaine. The palate has a brisk outer edge, but the inner core is rich: this combination reflects the steely nature of this dry vintage, even at nearly 25 years of age. The length is very good, the aftertaste aromatic. 2016-18 June 2007 Previously Nov 2005 California No Rating a magnum, and it is corked. Attempted with Kermit Lynch, chez Panisse, Berkeley Nov 2005 Previously March 2002 **** soft bouquet, some warmth with medicinal edge, the vintage talking. Not destemmed this year. Good density, quite upright with some dry edges. Mature, some roundness near the start, lasts till half way. Some dryness here, likeable though. More the Bordeaux style of Hermitage. Escapes a little near finish. 2010-13 March 2002 Previously October 1998 **** noticeable lightening on robe, brick. Advance also on nose - cedar, woods smells, some southern sweetness also. Welcoming attack, a little medicinal, austere. Just losing its middle. Good autumn drinking. 2004-06 on this showing, has loosened and moved faster than expected. October 1998

1982 ()

fine red robe, tile shades in it. Smoky, tar, firm bouquet, with floral airs – this has a fine, almost refined Bordeaux aroma, great style emerging as it breathes, late pebbly touches. The palate delivers sinewed red fruit, has fine shape, gains width at the end, just squeezes out a little expansion. Classic example of old Rhône, notes of volatile acidity and all. Day 2: still has a spot of tasty, mineral flecked gras richness on the palate, lightly coats the tip of the tongue that survives from its sunny summer. It is floral as well, gracious, fine old wine. 2016-19 March 2010 Previously Nov 2007 ***(*) mature, but still bright ruby colour; the bouquet is broadly shaped, with a quiet sweet heart, and a late prickle of pepper, with red fruits: some mushroom, floral-violet and smoky airs circulate as well. The palate is at a tight crossroads. Has a black fruit heart, and has taken on extra kick as it has evolved. Persists with a clean, clear run. Is still right there, but has lost its earlier sweet core. Its tannins are ripe, and sustain it, even though they are a bit dry towards the finale. 2017-19 Nov 2007 Previously November 2001 **** slipping Royal Mail red; autumn berry jam, red fruits/quince, some gaminess on nose. Palate changes with air - red fruits become more grainy, mineral. Heat, pebbly dryness on finish. Becoming a little fragile, but red fruits are pretty. Has evolved correctly from its plump early days. 2007-09 November 2001 Previously October 1998 ***** fairly tiled colour, quite dense at centre. Warm bouquet, but a bit fungal, upright. Air dries it, makes it delicate and on comes earthy, truffly side. Losing some core on palate, bit medicinal towards finish, heat is unmasked there. Tiring a little. 2004-06 Has performed as expected from its early plump, ripe days. October 1998 Previously October 1986 ***** plum darkness, very intense and sustained robe with a big black base. The nose is really powerful, presents a brooding black fruited, rich aroma. The palate is really powerful, has a surging richness all over it, the balance exceptional. There is a strong flavour of plum, and this bears some Pinot Noir aspects. Served blind by Gérard, I wondered whether it was the 1978, so rich is it. 2004-2007  Oct 1986

1981 No Rating

A Magnum: disaster – it is corked. The robe is a mild ruby, with garnet. Cork apart, this holds a filigree and interesting red fruit. Has an upright appeal, with still a quite rich core, though its fringes are dry. Nov 2007 Previously Feb 1992 **(*) colour quite pale, hint of brick. Bouquet a touch musty, sweetens and shows some berried fruit with air. Only a medium-weight wine, but it has good fruit extract with some drier tannin underneath. A wine to surprise people - can develop further and longer (another eight to eleven years) than expected. Only risk is the tannins drying out and getting on top in that time. February 1992

1980 ()

ruby, brick top to the robe, with good heart. Has a nicely “creamy”, lateral aroma of red plum – is not quite clear, and there is a definite mushroom element, along with some raisin. Is quite rich, but not quite right. There is a round little bubble of red fruit at the start of the palate, then it straightens, and keeps its clarity all through. Is a down-home, not that clean wine, with softness in its nature. Shows dry touches as the air gets to it. A good bottle of this (ie better than this) can live to 2015-16. Nov 2007 Previously April 1994 *** colour still red, present, looks good. Immediate appeal on bouquet, sweet with some richness within. Has leafy aromas in the soft warmth. Starts with supple, secondary flavours, damp style, some tea but persists, and still shows some Rhône vigour. Drink by 1999, for instance. April 1994 Previously February 1992 *** colour turning towards pale red, top is a little see-through. Quite warm bouquet, start of the damp, sous-bois aromas - but still has the richness to evolve further. Palate has become well-rounded, pretty broad and long with some nice tannic resurgence at the end. Drinking well and fully now, a quietly plump wine which can still run to 2002 or past. February 1992

1979

gentle robe, red and ruby. Very good, pretty red fruit aroma with a clear tone, links together rose and mineral, and has a touch of coffee bean. There is red fruit no the palate, with at first a lactic side that could be from the stems. This lactic effect burns off fast, and we get through to red fruits on their own, with some late acidity and tannin. The air brings out a crispness in the red fruits, and lengthens the wine. Its grip is refined. 2019-21 “It comes from a time of stalks being used, and also imprecise harvest dates,” J-L.C. 30 Nov 2007 Previously in London, Nov 2007 No Rating - severe cork on a bottle in Nov 2007. Previously July 1999 *** dark ruby, orange, mature red in middle. Leaf mould, damp woods with tobacco on bouquet. Some spiced red fruit with air. Palate: mineral, also the mould aspect again. Attack has the touch dry, mature Syrah aspect. Liquorice, dry notes on end. True, good length. 2005-09 July 1999 Previously Jan 1992 ***(*) colour pretty well held together. Some rust above the dark plum. Bouquet gains in richness with air and shows a gamey, gibier side. The palate was gutsy six years ago but is now showing fine, evolved almost mineral flavours. Progressing quietly and attractively, this is now a vin de finesse. Will live on gently for another six to eight years. January 1992

1978

the robe is tawny, has a Madeira tone with a lot of heart – looks like a Rancio, a Banyuls with youth, as it were. Holds a wide, silken, evolved aroma, led by plum jam, with ground coffee beans and toffee, also some fungal, not especially clean, notes. The palate is sealed, with red stone fruits, plum, nuts and dates present. It persists really well, the texture is indeed woven and compact all through. Its richness is delivered with a tender touch - this is a very “sensible”, orderly wine. Some animal shows up late on – not excessive. Is a bit fundamental and reduced, a wine of some muscle and shoulders still. At first, there is a fungal manner, then it becomes more round and rich on the finish as it airs. From the old school of winemaking, truth rather than cellar artifice handed out to the drinker. Not for the squeaky clean brigade. 2023-26 Nov 2007 Previously April 2003 ****** Six Star Wine fuller robe than 1983/85! Real cassis, screaming bouquet - very typical of old Hermitage - plus warm surround, and a touch of dust. Full, very good mass, great mix of roundness, richness and tannin. Warm all through. Very fleshy, true Rhône finish. More punchy, grass roots than a 1990s Hermitage - that style similar to the La Chapelles of the 1960s/1970s. 2014-19 April 2003 IMPORTANT NOTE: bottles of this can vary - this is the jackpot. Previously October 1998 ****** decent depth still on robe; great variety on nose - prune, mushroom, pine, essences. Beautiful attack, lovely surge of intense flavour, great flesh, still has some fruit. Final complexity and a bit of fire. Length good. 2012-15 October 1998 Previously April 1994 No Rating decent colour, lightening on top rim. Bouquet smells of dark fruits but "mould" also, a smell that pervades, is musky - old wood influence?? Palate is similar - is marked by a mould or old cask effect. There is some mid-palate flavour, plum fruit in style. Can't be rated. April 1994 Previously September 1992 ****** tender richness in the nose, dark cooked aromas, nothing flash; lovely rounded elegance, hidden puissance. Very classy, great promise, the best of a trio with La Chapelle 1978 and The d elicious Henri Sorrel 1979. Bags of life - 30 yrs and up. September 1992 Previously October 1990 No Rating matt colour, dulling, lots of glycerine; nose has some reticent berry aromas, not very generous. Better on the palate - but lacks thoroughness. Tannins present, quite hot ending. Not sure where it`s going. October 1990 Previously October 1986 ****** very dense colour still, purple and plum, lot of glycerine. Plum, prune aromas, some spice, has moved on from first berried bouquet. Palate starts with a whoosh of flavours, an extraordinary explosion of taste like few wines ever - very rich, wonderful balance, great harmony, lasting flavours. The tannins are so well absorbed into the richness that it is difficult to judge its longevity - 1996-2002? October 1986 GENERAL NOTE This wine was tasted a total of eight times between July 1980 and October 1990. Two sets of comments are given because over the course of this ten-year period, the above split pattern has regularly shown up, for reasons at which one can only surmise - perhaps late versus early bottling, the early bottling being the better?)

1977 ()

ruby-tile robe; the bouquet bears coffee, and has a sweet nature, and straight after opening out come flowers and some quite profound menthol-charcoal airs. Gains roundness with air, and rolls nicely then. There is nice gras on the palate attack, and surprising richness for its age – the flavour centres on black jam with some licorice and spice. The texture is round all the way through, and there is a very good sweetness on the finale. This can do well with Asian cuisine, and its sweet southern appeal is still remarkable. To 2013 or so, but is really there in its maturity now. Nov 2007 Previously January 1986 **(*) orange has entered its colour; excellent raspberry aromas on bouquet, maturing although richness behind them. Fine, approachable style on the palate. Very good in this light year, but needs drinking before 1989. January 1986

1976

has a very clear robe – a good, mild red, mature plum. Holds a toffee, caramel aroma, even Garibaldi raisin cakes or tarts, with a persistent air. The caramel seems to reflect the hot summer. This is good for its age. The start to the palate is surprisingly rich, and bears a coffee, pepper content, with this theme of fair richness lasting all through. Exudes a very bonny sweet, tea and dates (the fruit, not a thé dansant), appeal. Is right there now, with some very good freshness. Very good with tuna. 2014-16 Nov 2007 Previously January 1992 *** colour starting towards garnet, some red traces left. Damp leaves smell, but quiet richness, some dark fruit also on the bouquet. Delicate, elegant on the palate; some richness on the attack, a fairly pebbly finish. Could continue until 1996-8, but will show signs of decline if not well cellared. January 1992

1975 ()

the colour is a little brittle – delicate ruby. The bouquet works across the glass, but is a bit limited – shows some coffee and plum, has a pointed shape, is peppery and airy. The pointed nature continues on the palate – this is a live acidity wine by nature. Has a brisk, clean finish. Its character is rather lean, and it lacks follow-through. To 2014 – what a laugh – see my previous note on its longevity. Off to the bar, then, Livingstone. Nov 2007 Previously July 1980 *** trace of ruby in colour, slight age; marvellous bouquet - like wild strawberries, very fruity. Light on the palate, finishes a bit early. Delicate wine, drink before 1987. July 1980

1974

some rust alongside the red; the palate is fine, has become elegant and long. Bouquet has softened, palate has sous-bois dampness. Very good in a difficult year. Drink now to 1988 for best results. June 1984

1973 No Rating

only very little made

1972

the colour is ageing gracefully, still some depth in centre. Some damp aromas, and alcohol revealed. Fruit is peppery, the vintage ripeness struggle comes through. Quite sweet attack, agreeably easy, though stops a little short. Flavour is a little tired, dropping down. Very good with game at this stage of life. Could go on to 2000 but won't improve. April 1994 Previously March 1992 **** plum colour, lightening to rust at top; with air bouquet thickens and gains depth, has prune and smoky aromas. Very attractive, soft richness on palate, and very good length. Elegant, fine wine, style is like a rich but still upright claret. Near its peak. Will keep going towards 2000. March 1992

1969

the top of robe is lightening a little - garnet, age evident. Start of forest smells on nose, gentle, sweet, stewed fruits, definite age apparent here. Delicate wine on the palate, mineral coming through. Not from a big vintage (first drunk blind), there is nerve on the attack. Decent length, quite vibrant. Mineral finish, the fruit is round but rather jumpy from the year. Drink by 2003. Drunk with a really successful Gérard Chave coq au vin, the vin a 1993 St-Joseph. March 1995 Previously March 1994 ****** the colour is red with touches of ruby at the top – well sustained, given its age, and there is still ife in the wine judging on one’s eye. The bouquet offers fantastic, “sizzling” berry fruit, that is lovely, has a well-defined edge to it. Immense intensity with the darkness of southern climes’ ripeness still present, truly long and lasting. I think the sous-bois or damp leaves will emerge in about half an hour, as more of a bacon note starts to appear. The palate strikes out with fabulous depth and strength of flavour. This is a meal on its own, a truly delicious wine. It rolls on, only fading a mere touch at the end. Lovely drinking, with life still ahead. “It was not a great year, nothing really special. We chose it today as it is showing well now. We decanted it out of its original bottles 2 months ago to avoid sediment,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2003-07  March 1994

1968 No Rating

NOT MADE

1966

Six Star Wine - pretty, tiled, matt plum colour. Delightful, spherical aroma - cooked fruit with great rounded appeal. No richness given up, the drier aromas aren`t there yet. Ripe wild berries the main impact. Air brings some minerality. Immediately lovely texture on palate, round and full. Sensuous breadth and length. Amazing richness for 28 years old. Attack shows very clean fruit, is well-defined with plenty of substance and wrap. Finishes with a nice peppery dryness and is chewy there. Is a meal on its own. "Complex, a lot of soaked cherries - griottes" Gérard Chave. This can run for another 20 years on this showing. March 1995

1963 No Rating

NOT MADE