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The Wines

Syrah from Les Plantiers also known as Le Vignon, 1970, 60%), Les Greffieux (1950s-60s, 20%), Les Bessards (1960s, inc 1910-15, 20%), mostly destemmed (2017 whole bunch), 18-21 day steel & fibre glass vat vinification, floating cap, aged 4-5 year oak 21 months, fined, unfiltered, first year 1985, 3-4,000 b

2018

(cask, malo not yet completed) very dark, black-purple robe. There’s a warm vibe on the nose, which round and persistent, trails black cherry, which is bright and clear. The palate engages well, holds savoury, rolling content, frisky tannins, good fruit bursts; it has liberal drive, the fruit appealing, Morello black cherry at its centre. It’s well structured, promising, a little ahead of the 2017. It may lack a little freshness over time, and be “impressive” before then. 2041-43 Dec 2018

2017

very complete, dense dark red robe. There’s nice depth on the nose, a real swirl of black cherry with some oak toast, gleaming blackberry. The oak is quite firm, evident. This offers a good picture of Hermitage, has a cool thread encouraged by the stems, good spine, crunchy style tannins, free flowing fruit – it is racy and goes criss-cross. The close shows a little chocolate, is a bit dry. This is exuberant, promising, articulate Hermitage. It doesn’t have the silk or flair of the best, but is genuine. Bottled July 2019. From 2022. 2041-43 Dec 2018 Previously Nov 2017 **** (used 228-litre cask, sugars done, malo not) bold, dark robe. Iodine, seashore, mulberry fruits, raspberry, cool blueberry and Indian ink, squid airs gather on the nose. The palate has a square shape, good width and a good stream of fruit, gusto in the glass, late crunch from the stems. From 2022. 2037-39 Nov 2017

2016

(used 228-litre cask) dark red. The nose is interesting, on salt, iodine, blueberry with mulberry. The palate flows smoothly, an elegant run of red fruits, comfortable tannins, a very good snug fit. It ends on a more black-fruited grouping. There are Pinot associations; this is attractive, has good style, roundness, a well-juiced, harmony wine, pure and unhurried, a w.o.w. Hermitage! There’s more iodine on the close. This is the first wine, the vin de goutte, no press wine in it. From 2020. 2034-36 Nov 2017

2015

inky, dark robe. There’s a sturdy intensity on the nose, blackberry fruits, jam, black olives, southern influences. It is prolonged, has a dark, Indian ink air, comes with heft. The flavour assembles mulberry, blueberry, loganberry, has a rich centre, tannins that are smoky and thorough – there’s a flexible couch of those, while it ends on a linger of cooked black fruits. The texture is oily, copious; it runs cross-cross, freely, sustains well on the finish, a little Bessards crunch there. Destemming has taken out a bit of interest, spark, from it that would have lifted the finish. It has a full heart, is a genuine Hermitage. Bottled July 2017. From 2020. 2036-38 Nov 2017

2014

decent, quite full red colour. Has a jolly, aromatic nose, a good, instant pulse of smoky raspberry, strawberry, cooked plums, has a good skip in its step. The palate offers charming, fresh drinking, has a joli spot of red fruit, quiet gain in intensity, liqueur towards the finish. This has charm, gives clear-cut fruit with expression, travels well, invites a second glass. It’s going well now as a fresh, clear Hermitage. There is a light floral touch in this tasty, beau wine. Its clarity sets it up as a **** wine. 2029-31 Nov 2017 Previously Jan 2015 *** (cask, malo not yet completed) dark red colour. Has a comfortable, broad nose which shows red cherry fruit, has sound depth. There are spiced touches on the palate, which holds clear running fruit; it isn’t especially deep. It has decent length in a more medium weight way. It will show simply and easily from 2018 or so. It lacks a beat or two of depth at the three-quarter stage along the palate. 2027-29  Jan 2015

2013

(cask) dark red. The nose is good and promising – has a grilled, meaty angle, a nice cluster of crushed red berries, a ribbon of perfume around them. The palate debut is grounded, has good substance, grippy tannins, the gras richness well centred. It is nicely thorough, and there is a good spot of gras on the second half. It is long, has smoky afternotes. It finishes well, covers the ground, is sustained, and enjoys good tannic support, more so than the 2012 and 2011. From late 2016. 2031-33  Jan 2015

2012

good sound red. There is attractive charm and depth on the nose, which has appealing style, presents an orderly air of berry fruit, a comfortable aroma. The palate holds dark fruit with toasted edges, notes of flowers, lissom tannins. A little late “steel” grip comes along. There are wee bit burnt edges to this, overcrushed berries, tar. Sound, but not striking. There is a minor note of reduction, so decant it. It could extend further over the next two years. 13.5°. 3,000 b. 2028-30  Jan 2015

2011 ()

steady dark red. Has a good, open nose that gives an immediate strike of berry fruit, is a bit animal, has a touch of the hound dog, with a fine clarity in the dark red berry fruit. This is wholesome, showing well now. The attack gives bounty, then becomes more measured. It has a slight waxy, tar note at the end. It drinks well now, shows a wee floral note, Pez sweets and perfume on the exit, then light mineral dabs. Sound, genuine Hermitage. 13.5°. 4,000 b. 2023-25 Jan 2015

2002 ()

(cask) quite direct red fruit nose; red fruit, some gras, pepper, tannic end. 2006-07 on. Mid-weight, direct. 2013-15

2001 ()

dark, leathery, rustic-style nose; cherries, pepper, some frame. Chewy, black flavour, some warmth. 2007 on. 2019-21

2000

even nose, earth, leather, violet/truffle; elegantly full, rounded. Ripe fruit kept in check, earthy, heated end, mid-weight tannins there. 2018-20