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The Wines

35% Grenache blanc (late 1980s), 25% Viognier (mid-1990s), 15% Roussanne (late 1990s), 15% Marsanne (2003), 10% Clairette (mid-1960s), hand harvested, destemmed, pre-fermentation skin maceration, oak fermented at 16-20°C, raised 1-4 year 228-litre oak casks 7-8 months, lees stirred, varieties assembled at bottling, malo not completed, 15-16,000 b

2013

light gold colour; has a stewed fruits, cooked peach aroma with hints of nut and sweetly scented flowers. Aniseed is prominent, too. The palate is rich but pretty well channelled. It has a ripe fruit depth that sets it up for Asiatic cuisine, making sure it is serve well chilled. White raisin, brioche, flan combine in the flavour. 14.5°. 15,000 b. €9.10. 2018-19  Jun 2015 

2011

yellow robe, slight evolution. Has a minor air of glazed fruits, poached pear; maybe there is Roussanne present (tasted blind), also some nuttiness of Marsanne and oak toasting. The palate delivers white fruits, peach and pear compote, with a nudge of apricot on the flavour. Sound depth and grip – a wine for steamed fish in ginger, for instance. It can evolve. The finale is well varied, orange marmalade and greengage, white plum present there. 13.5°. 15,000 b. 2018-19  June 2013

2009 ()

(Viognier part) marked yellow colour; apricot jam, orange marmalade airs. The palate is nice and wide, has tannins in it, also grip. Promising. 6-7 year wine. Nov 2009

2008 ()

yellow, bright robe; lime marmalade, peach jam aroma, a little aniseed. Supple, easy palate that ends quietly for now. Has a dried fruits flavour that comes with a late tang, a phenolic close that is firm. Rich style of wine. 13°. To 2015. Nov 2009

2006

quite an obvious yellow colour; honeyed, dried fruits, broad bouquet. The palate has plenty of life, even though it is rather oxidative in style, with orange or tangerine notes. It has a surprising evolution for its age, but matches food OK. The food develops its peach, spice and lime side in the flavour department. 13.5°. To 2010. A change of style from the slow evolution whites so well liked in the past. Nov 2007

2005 ()

ripe fruit, bonbon sweets and mature fruit airs at first; after 45 minutes, peach and apricot come forward, maybe the Viognier exercising its muscles. The palate is rounded, gives direct fruit, has the plump nature of Grenache blanc at its heart. Air brings a more tight, mineral end, more focus and precision. Good length, with buttery final touches. 2012-14 March 2007

2004

fresh, zestily fruited nose – peach and hazelnut. Good gras on the palate, it is stylish at the start and grows well along the palate. Has a nutty, fennel finish. The aftertaste is expressive – orange, honeysuckle 2013. July 2005

1998

full yellow robe that has a good aspect, and legs down the glass. Airs of damp wool (classic old white Rhône) show at first on the nose, but that moves to a more fruited white plum and raisin display; the bouquet has a beau depth, is very well sustained and young overall. Roasted nuts, wax and pear airs come along willingly. This has a waxen, tight-knit nature that is very typical of aged Clairette – the heart of this wine is 1960s Clairette. It is very good, mature white Rhône, with the length to accompany white meats, mushroom dishes, and a real treat would be scrambled eggs with grated black truffle slices. There is tidy grip on the finish. It has aged beautifully, and its freshness and balance are excellent. It has lain in my cellar in East Sussex all its life. 13°. To 2024  July 2015