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The Wines

54-75% Grenache (1925-1975), 25-38% Syrah (1970-75, late 1990s), 0-10% Mourvèdre (2003), 0-3% Cinsault, 0-5% Carignan (1950s) from galet stone covered red clay-limestone soils on Les Garrigues de l’Étang (nord), usually destemmed, 25-35 day concrete vat vinification at up to 30°C of varieties & plots separately, part vat emptying/refilling at start, daily pumping overs, concrete vat raised 15-18 months, can be filtered, several bottlings, organic wine, 21-35,000 b

2017 ()

dark red, good lustre. The bouquet has a closely set aroma of blackberry, requires air and time to open. It carries discreet sweetness, notes of herbs. The palate runs with spiced, full content, stretches out well, is salted in the late moments, the finish a little tarry. There is glow, strength on the aftertaste, the tannins a mite parched. It can come together with time, another couple of years. It’s a manly, chewy offering from the garrigue. 14.5°. 25,200 b. 57% Gren, 30% Syr, 10% Mourv, 3% Cinsault. €12. From spring 2022. 2036-38 Feb 2020

2016

dark colour. The nose is pretty full, but reserved, shows low-key airs of black olives, dense blueberry and cassis fruit, licorice. The palate is immediately juicy, holds noticeable tannins with crunch in their delivery, the aftertaste on a pebbly texture. There’s a live thread from carbonic gas inside it. It’s not an ensemble, is rather disparate parts for now. Fusion is possible, though there’s a sense of the cellar and exertion on top here. 15°. 30,000 b. 56% Gren, 34% Syr, 10% Mourv. From 2020. 2027-29 Feb 2018

2015

dark red robe. The nose reveals blueberry fruit with a menthol coolness, a hint of pepper and musky flowers. It’s a stimulating start thanks to its pockets of mystery and possibility. The palate bears close-knit content, red fruits such as soaked cherries with a pebbly tannic presence. It runs with a fresh tenor all through, and involves garrigue influences, gorse flowers, aniseed towards the close. The tannins are ultimately gummy on the aftertaste. It’s a little under the influence of its bottling, meaning the late moments become enclosed. 14.5°. From mid-2018 to allow threads to draw together. 2030-32 Feb 2017

2013

(vat) bright purple-crimson robe. Dark and red berry fruits show on the nose, along with a slight jammy nuance. The palate is sweet and layered, but the tannins are tough and rustic on the finish. Perhaps a little too much extraction for the vintage? It may soften with a bit of bottle age, so drink from 2017. 14.5°. 2022-23 JL Dec 2014

2012

(vat) properly full robe. The nose manages depth, oaked fruits with a little freshness, and a meaty lower layer; mint and violet combine with some sweet oak. The palate’s early blackberry fruit is succulent and well juiced, sustaining well, before the introduction of live, firm tannins. Well structured wine with a fresh blast, menthol and blueberry together as it signs off. Good garrigue notes, some pine and small spices, at the end. Stimulating wine, more modern than some, is full. From mid-2015. 14.5°. 55% Gren, 39% Syr, 6% Mourv, 21,000 b. €10-10.50. 2024-25  Dec 2013

2011

(vat) dark red robe, black tints. This has a sleekly coated black fruit aroma, one that is young and “shiny”, not especially varied. There is an air of liqueur black cherry at its heart, with a light cocoa note. The nose is promising, will be stylish. The palate debut is smooth, and the fruit carries well, persisting in a good, rolling way. Fresh, plump, young wine that is round and textured, with tannin-pepper moments after half way. The finish is complete. It is easy to like thanks to its fluid, smooth tannins. From 2014, and especially from 2016, when it will be nicely varied. 14.5°. 2023-25. 54% Gren, 38% Syr, 6% Mourv, 2% Cari this year. Good VALUE at €10. May 2013

2009

pretty, full robe; expansive and potential-laden nose – has a good black fruit heart: there is plenty in here. Good bounty on the palate – vibrant fruit, licorice and length. This has all the elements for a good showing. Robust, but polished – it lengthens well and sturdily. STGT wine. From 2012-13. 2023-26 July 2010

2008

rather full robe; prominent cherry fruit, comes with an air of raisin, kirsch, cocoa. The palate is full, even if a little forced into that. Tannins cluster at the end – there is an insistent pocket of them. The aftertaste resembles raisin and date, is also tarry. A ripe crop approach has been taken here – the grower took a risk and waited – bravo. 2017-18 July 2010

2007

(vat) attractive, bright dark red. Compact, nicely streamlined fruit a smoky setting for the nose, inherent tannin there as well. Brightly fruited, active redcurrant, red berry fruit with pepper within, sound end grip. Is firm and clean-cut now, a fresh, upright Vacqueyras, one with sinew in it. Promises to show especially well around 2011. “2007 is truly a handsome vintage,” Patrick Gras. 2016-17 Nov 2008

2006 ()

plum red, the top a bit transparent. Pepper-spice combo on the nose, comes with a red jam foundation, a quiet couch of support. The palate moves along steadily, lacks a little flesh (especially after the 2007), but has some carry to the finish. A pretty true Vacqueyras. Has the spice, live tannin end often found here. Finishes on a steady note, just a bit taut, bitter there. From mid-2009. 68 G, 32 S this year. 2013-14 Nov 2008

2005 ()

dark robe; full, wide bouquet in the modern way, bold black fruit with a pebbly air. Sleek fruit on palate, punchy core, good length and finishes freshly. The fruit is good and clear, the tannins energetic. Mint-licorice aftertaste. 2015-17 75% Grenache, 25% Syrah. March 2007

2004

soft, black berry jam aroma. Scented, floral tone to the red jam flavour. Soft texture, the wine has decent grip. On the go now, the fruit is advancing and evolving already away from its first youthful clarity. Length OK. 2011-12 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah March 2007

2003

violet, baked fruits aroma with raisin and fig. The palate has a sweet allure, with some jam in the flavouring. Is moving along, and although there is heat in it, it is still well-knit. Can be drunk in sips solo. To 2008. Has 3 gm of sugar, the max allowed – fermentation not straightforward. “It is evolving – I don't want it to go too fast,” Patrick Gras. Filtered this year. July 2005

1999 ()

mauve in quite a dense robe; restrained bouquet – mixes sap and straight down the line ripeness, with a top that is dry. Gentle, round fruit on the palate – a suave black fruits taste. The fruit comes out clearly but doesn't have a great deal behind it. Sympa, quite easy drinking. 2006-08 May 2001