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The Wines

65% Grenache, 15% Carignan, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Counoise, 3-5% Vaccarèse, 1-2% Syrah, 1% Muscardin from N-West, S-West facing Les Encostes & La Montagne, Malalangue, whole bunch open tronconic wood vat fermentation since 2007 (destemmed 1999-2006), varieties co-fermented, wild yeasts, 2 week vinification, pumping overs only, aged 40% large 15 hl barrel, 40% 8 year 600-litre oak casks, 20% concrete vat 20 months, then all assembled into concrete vats 14-16 months, total raising 30-36 months, unfined, unfiltered, 10-16,000 b (since 2007 down from 20-23,000 b)

2011 ()

(the vat portion, ie 20%) ****(*) bright raspberry colour; fine fruit with attractive grain purity on the nose – red berry and cherry, grilled, nutty airs – elegant, rounded. This is a wine of the South – it holds aromatic, fine, really pure fruit and glove-like tannins. Stylistically there is Burgundian finesse set into a southern frame, but there is no sense of heat or power, either. Excellent. 22 years. From 2016. (large barrel, with more Mourvèdre than vat example) ****(*) full red, no surprise. Has an oily, beckoning nose which carries juicy and rich black fruit,, with cocoa-coffee seasoning. The palate is rich and well-directed, holds black berry fruit, and is more liberal than the vat wine. There is a good couch of tannin to structure it. The final shows smoke, licorice. 21 years. 11.5 hl/ha this year. May 2012

2010

(casks) clear, dark red; peppery, restrained black fruit in a fine bouquet – it travels a long way, is nutty, elegant, bears airs of smoke and licorice. The palate starts on prune and black fruit, which is very stylish and very clear. Its grain is really tight, and the fine tannin is deeply inset. There is a really good flourish on the finish, where the wine takes off again. Extremely long. It has mineral cut, a lead pencil touch which combines with spring flowers. From 2016-17. 9.8 hl/ha this year. This is 14.2°. “This would be good with cheek of beef, lamb, pigeon,” Guy Jullien, Restaurant Beaugravière, Mondragon. 2032-34 May 2012

2009 ()

(bottled two weeks ago) handsome dark red; the bouquet has the sunny intensity of 2009, a tight-knit black fruit and cherry presence here – it is deep-seated and smoky, spicy. The palate is thorough, full, and persists on a real southern strength, which is just reined in to not be over-imposing. It gives a total photograph of parched garrigue terraces. The palate fruit is black cherry, with firm and grounded notes. The finale is solid, good and complete, led by spice, cedar, cigar notes. This shows the 2009 vintage well in its veins, is a winter drinking wine. From 2015-16. 12 hl/ha this year. 2028-30 May 2012

2008 ()

dark, sombre red. The nose opens on a dusty note, and at first there is a sense of stalk, and a note of pepper that is absent from the 2007. I cam smell dried grape skins, and their influence, which is an authentic vintage touch. After 2+ hours, an air of pot pourri dried flowers and lead pencil comes through in a most charming way. Has an upright, nearly direct palate – the fruit is clear-cut, zingy, and lengthens into fresh tannins, and menthol touches. There is an appealing floral pocket in mid-palate. Its understated energy revives well at the end. STGT wine here, as if the roots deep in the stony soil are expressing themselves: it is strong on clear flavours, with one spot of southern Rhône tarry intensity in it, otherwise it cruises along, is precise, high on pure charm. The tannins are crystalline, refreshing, have a rocky floral and licorice tang. Good now, allow it to breathe at least a couple of hours. Decant, thus. 2025-28. 14°. “I harvested last of all my neighbours, from 15 to 30 October; I especially wanted to let the Mourvèdre ripen,” J Bressy. Jan 2012

2007

dark plum, thorough red robe. The nose has a fine red fruit, cooked fruits, careful aroma, holds latent pepper, and also latent potential: it is calm, but not showing a lot. I find it a nose of Grenache made muscular by the other varieties actually providing “beef” around it. 2+ hours of air release marked treacle, toffee airs, with some mulberry fruit. The palate delivers creamy, fine fruit and light grain tannins that scatter carefully through it, are not at all chunky. Has a steady length, a note of caution, as if it needs time. The grain on the finish is tidy. Decant this, it has the hallmark precision of the domaine. This year you are drinking from above the ground, as opposed to drinking from under the ground with the 2008. 14°. “The vintage when I cut back on cellar intervention; a big, solar vintage – thanks to the whole bunch use and my mix of varieties that includes Counoise, the wine has freshness,” J Bressy. 2026-28 Jan 2012

2006

(600-litre cask, sugars, malo done, 70% Grenache, 20% Counoise, 10% Carignan from N-W facing Gourt de Mautens) **** good colour; closed nose. Stylish palate, with a nice plump note in the fruit, good length. (15 hl barrel from mountain, south-facing, 75% Grenache, 25% Carignan) **** good, bright robe; violet, raspberry, good and open fruit nose. The palate is succulent, again there is finesse here, is long. Fresh and suave. (large barrel, 50% Gren, 50% Mourvèdre) **** very bright purple; closed nose. Well structured tannins within clear fruit; persists well, has formidable tannins, a good marrow, oily centre, is profound and wide. “A vintage of finesse; 40-50 mm (1.6-2 in) of rain at the start of harvest in early September unblocked and softened the tannins. There is a bright elegance to the wines,” J Bressy. OVERALL **** good spine running through this; the fruit is live, clear, well achieved. 2024-26 Nov 2006

2005 ()

dark robe; the bouquet is abundant, gives rolling waves of ripe fruit with a marked intensity, shows minor reduction, along with the sweet depth of treacle or caramel. The palate has a spiced, salted debut, is a real box of spicy tricks. There is a lot matter, flesh in this, plenty to get hold of. The tannins are vigorous, with the spice of ripe Carignan in its late moments and some heat. A grounded, exotic wine that offers aromatic flair after half way, and fine cut, mineral notes at the finish: it has different faces to present to the drinker. The tannins at the end are very fine. It has the robust nature of 2005, but is settling comfortably now. 14°. 2024-26 May 2012 Previously Nov 2006 ***** (vat, assembled three days ago) dark robe; ripe, brooding nose, a little mineral, black cherry, light oaking. Wow! There is big palate intensity, really persistent flavour, and the feel of fullness. It holds black fruits, and hence is different from other vintages that are more aromatically fruited. A wine of an impressively full flavour and quality, right up there. It is structured to live, has great richness. Shows southern, tapenade black olive touches on the finish – length and finesse combine here. “Maybe consider drinking this from 2010. 2005 is very profound – a concentration of all elements – acidity, alcohol, tannin, colour. It will maybe get close to 1978 as time goes by,” J Bressy. To be bottled June 2007. From 2010. 2023-25 Nov 2006

2004

dark robe; lightly grilled, black cherry aroma that has lurking variety, implies berries, violet – the aromas are moving towards the end of their primary stage, just turning to secondary. Clean, quite weighty black fruit on the palate – it flows well; its tannins contain oak late on, the length is good. Accomplished, stylish, well made wine. It is drinkable now, but is clean cut and has plenty of life ahead. Very much on the button. “2004 is a complex, thorough, silky, textured wine – it is a vintage that I like a lot,” J Bressy. €26 to clients at the cellar, is high. 2021-23 Nov 2006

2003 ()

full, black cherry robe; raspberry with a little menthol in the aroma that has depth, is meaty, comes with herb-garrigue influences. The palate holds black fruit lined with tannin, has a good, rich interior, a flavour of black pastille sweets. The berry fruit is solidly packed. It achieves freshness at the end, lengthens on notes of licorice. From mid-2008. “I picked late this year – I tasted the grapes, didn’t look at the alcohol, watched the vines at the end of August – and the pips and stems were green. So I harvested, very slowly, between 18 September and 12 October – each plot was harvested on the exact day I judged it to be fully ripe.” 2018-20 Nov 2006

2002 No Rating

10,000 b “I called it Millésime – it was a fine, spiced, fresh Rasteau,” J Bressy

1998

various vats: (50% Gren, 20% old Cari, 20% Syr, 10% Mourv) very purple. Nicely solid nose, wow – there is a lot here, is very intense. Lot of mass on the palate; this will be the muscle to get the wine going; then enter the more feminine parts. “I only grow 4 to 5 bunches per vine, so the Mourvèdre can reach 14° - I take risks to get this,” Jérome Bressy. (85% Gren, 15% Cari) very purple, very dark robe. Violet, floral scents. Very silky texture, velveteen. This is round but very sustained. Remarkable. It is just so intense, has an amazing amount of flavour. (75% Gren, 25% Car, both 50-80 years) very dark, black and purple. The nose is more tender than the others, has softer fruit. The attack is vibrant, harmonious. Plump wine, with jam in the flavour. I am astounded this holds 25% Carignan. (85% Gren, 10% Cari, 5% Counoise) black-purple. Has a dark, violet aroma, shows quite a lot of alcohol and power – good, tight opening. There is more immediate harmony on the attack, followed by the surge of tannic surround. Definite tannic edge here. More angular than the previous vat. Overall: needs time, will live very well. Its strength is nearly potent. From 2005. 25,000 b this year, the yield only 10-15 hl/ha. 2022-24  Oct 1998

1997 ()

very solid black, dark robe that has a matt hue. The nose shows overripeness, a quite warmth, is pretty deep, and is led by the Grenache red fruit. The palate is tasty, has prune and leathery notions, shows very nice fat, but also a clean texture. Lots of gras here: this is definitely a senior status wine, pretty singular, and I wonder what the burgers of Rasteau make of it and its rather manic producer! Very thorough. It really has a lip smacking finish. 70% Gren, 20 Cari (1920s), 10% Mour, 22 hl/ha this year. 2015-17. 39 Francs ex-cellars. Raised concrete vat 8-10 months. Oct 1998

1996 ()

this is a bit darker than the 1997 – black, prune-plum dark red. The nose is gaining a second wave, is deep, potent, the fruit ripe with touches of pine, licorice, some garrigue herbs. This carries a lot of extract, is interesting. There is a degree of pepper in it, some quite upright matter. It dries a bit towards the finish, which is very chewy. 80% Gren, 20% old Cari, 15.5° this year. It is rather wild. When to attack it? Perhaps around 2004 to 2007. To 2015 or so. 38 Francs ex-cellars. Raised concrete vat 8-10 months. Oct 1998