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The Wines

55-75% Grenache (mid-1950s, 1970), 25-30% Syrah (mid-1980s), 0-10% Mourvèdre, 0-10% Counoise, 0-10% Carignan, Cinsault from clay, clay-limestone, sand soils, hand harvested, destemed, 18-20 day vinification, wild yeasts, a few pumping overs, some cap punching on the Syrah, max 26°C, varieties assembled after 6 months, since 2012 50% 600-litre oak casks (use of 228-litre casks stopped in mid-2010s) & large barrels, 50% concrete vat raised 15-18 months (100% concrete vat raised before then), unfined, unfiltered, called Réserve des Deux Monardes until 2003, 3 bottlings (end Feb, April, late June), 30-35,000 b

2018

(concrete vat/casks/large barrel) full robe; the nose has a fundamental strength, an earthiness, implicit vigour, is on brewed black fruit. It will fuse and offer more. The palate starts with a sweet delivery of cushioned black fruit content, the tannins mild in the 2018 vein. It garners a little late strength, states its ID there. The length is secure, the aftertaste a little smoky, crisp. It’s good, punchy, STGT Vacqueyras. 14°. 33,330 b. 55% Gren, 25% Syr, 10% Counoise, 10% Mourv. €13.50. From spring 2022. 2035-37 Feb 2020

2017

very dark robe; the nose is reserved, filled, has a blackberry, fine fruitiness, with an oaked backdrop, a note of varnish from that. The palate bears rather stylish black fruit, cassis content with an implication of oak. This would stream with more purity if the oak wasn’t in it – the oak brings charcoal, a distraction and an outside intervention, to the finish, which has a dry tendency. 14°. 33,330 b. 55% Gren, 25% Syr, 10% Counoise, 10% Mourv. €14. From 2021. 2031-33 Feb 2020

2016

dark red; this has a nicely brewed bouquet, blackberry with menthol oiliness in it, good fat in the blackberry. The palate is well together, has prune, black berry jam notes, and a good stream in its delivery, with salted tannins on the second half, licorice there. It has very good life and fluid depth – there’s good cut and suave gras together. It’s superior Vacqueyras. 14°. 2034-36 Feb 2019 Previously Feb 2018 **** (concrete vat/casks) full red colour. Brewed, Indian ink air lead a full bouquet, runs with dark berry fruits, a sense of dark chocolate, mocha. It’s a muscular start. The palate sets off without hesitation on a run of vigorous, peppered content, goes well long, is a ground force, true southern wine. The finish is solid. It gives a compressed juice and iron in its veins, will do well in a large glass in winter with a dish of game. 14°. 33,000 b. 65% Gren, 35% Syr. From spring 2020. 2031-33 Feb 2018

2015

(used 600-litre cask, 67% of the final wine, the final wine will hold a bit more Grenache, has been racked once, in April 2016; this is 45% Gren, 45% Syr, 10% Mourv) shiny dark robe. There is reduction, but real depth on the nose, airs of red meat, forward notes of cooked plum. The palate builds in intensity, has a suave texture, with entrenched core concentration, based on dark red fruits. It’s rich at heart, and lengthens well also. “It will need a lot of time, but ageing may be dangerous because of low acidity this year. There has been a risk of Brett in 2015; we have used 20-25 mg of SO2, which is double that of 2013 and 2014,” Damien Vache. 2027-28  July 2016

2014 ()

this is the middle bottling from April 2016: bright red robe. Cassis, wild hedge berries aroma, with smoke and near pine influences, menthol also, pepper. This nose has the style of a cooler vintage. The palate gets off to a good, crisp start, comes with very beau dentelle fruit, pings along, delivers racy fruit with gusto. I like its upbeat notes. The tannins have a little edge and cut, place a demand. Two more winters will help it to fuse. 14°. “It’s not a wine of great depth, not extraordinary length, but it will give good drinking over the next four to five years,” Damien Vache. 60% Gren, 30% Syr, 10% Mourvèdre, Carignan, Cinsault. From spring 2018. 2023-24 July 2016 Previously Dec 2015 ***(*) (casks/vat) full red robe. The nose gives a rounded sweep of blackberry with smoke hovering over it, suggests oak; there is a note of dark cocoa from that. It is a fresh start. The palate has a fine backbone around which slots pretty elegant content. The finish is clear, a touch spiced. This can amplify over the next 18 months, and will drink enjoyably from mid-2017. It represents the elegance of Grenache well, even though it is much reduced this year at 55%, with 30% Syr, 15% Mourv, Cari, Cins and Counoise. 35,000 b. €12.50. 2021-22  Dec 2015

2013

(casks/vat) medium purple colour, light at the rim. The nose gives red berry notes with a hint of garrigue and herbs behind. The palate is perhaps a touch fluid, has easy fruit; there are grippy tannins on the finish. 14°. From 2015. 2020-21 JL Dec 2014

2012

dark, shiny robe. Has an air of soaked loganberry, dark berries that come with a minted note. This is a pretty pure fruit display, the fruit ripe, a possible note of oak. The palate presents a bundle of cooked stone red fruits, Grenache at its centre. The tannins advance swiftly. There is a light spread of herbs, chiselled pebbly tannins. Some carbonic gas on the tip of the tongue. A good, authentic Vacqueyras, great with country foods, duck. 30,000 b. From 2015. 2023-25  Dec 2014  Previously Oct 2012 **** (Grenache with 20% Mourvèdre present from their co-planting 42 years ago, 600-litre cask) **** good dark, shiny robe. Robust nose – this offers a lot wine across and within the nose. Round fruit on the palate with pepper fore and aft, start and end. Joli vin, good heart. Sound tannin here. 14-16 years. (another Grenache, 600-litre cask, near the house, clay and sand soils) sound red. Has a spiced, free-wheel red fruit aroma. The palate is spicy, has good grain, moves well. It is long, spreads well, is drinkable. 2025-27 Oct 2012

2011

attractive plum red robe. The nose gives the quiet richness of Grenache, along with spice and herbs. It breathes a full, hearty aroma. The attack is crisp, bowls along on red fruits, raspberry, spiced plum. This is a big, grounded wine, not far off being heady, and is slightly hard work. 2021-22 July 2016 Previously May 2013 ***(*) dark red, legs. Has a wide, sustained nose, a solid black fruited aroma – the nose is deep, earthy, shows some damp forest notes. The palate starts out on a roasted note, is peppery and chunky before a gummy, rather drying late effect. The shape is square, but there is more variety to come with some red berry fruit peeping out on the finish. This is proper sit-down wine that needs some initial patience. 14.5°. From 2015. 70% Gren, 30% Syr, 35,000 b this year. 2023-24  May 2013  Previously Oct 2012 ***(*) (concrete vat, first bottling Dec 2012, second bottling April 2013) healthy red. The nose gives rather soaked red fruit, with a spiced top note, plum fruit foremost, along with baked bread or brioche and a suggestion of game – this has a simple appeal. There is an easy roll of Grenache plum fruit that is spiced, while low-key tannins come forward. It is nearly ready, with just a little tidying to be done on the finish – a light grain there now, but its fruit can go further. It is 75% Grenache, and is indeed very Grenache-marked, has an easy length. Uncomplicated drinking. A magnum and a longer wait would suit this. “It hasn’t changed, has been very stable,” Christian Vache. The finale is smoky. 75% G, 25% Syr this year. 2020-21  Oct 2012

2010

good red robe; has a little inky intensity, prune, leather, smoky dark fruit, and a post-raising nuttiness – a bouquet of serious dimension and potential. The palate has a salty tone in its black fruit, is intricate, has live tannin through it, in pockets. It ends with agreeable grainy chew. This has a serious structure, and is notably persistent. It has some mystery surrounding it – good. Its tannins can soften. From spring 2014. 14.8°. Bottled Dec 2011. 2022-23 Feb 2012

2009

good, rather dense red. There is a mingle of game and reduction with blackberry, tar, coconut, rose flowers, with the an underlay of soaked red cherries – griottes. The palate has good depth, body, a flavour of prune with a sunswept second half, which is more baked and grainy. Nice and broad, very 2009 on its second stage; STGT wine with good, free-wheeling fruit. 75% G, 25% Syr this year. 2023-24  Oct 2012

2008

plum red robe. The nose has airs of soaked fruits and rose hip, has damp outliers. The palate is tight and peppery, with a spine of fine tannin. It drinks clearly on red fruits, even if it doesn’t possess a lot of gras. It has tension. OK for grills, meat in sauce, cold meats. To 2018  July 2016 Previously Oct 2012 *** bright red, quite a dark robe. Has a jolly red cherry, deep cherry and floral air, with pepping up from clove and pepper, a bit of dust present. This has lively, up-tempo black fruit with slight dryness in it. The finale is expressive, fresh. Suited to grilled foods. The fruit mixes black berries and plum, leading to a tar, crisp finish. It drinks well, and will be a touch more rounded in one year or so. Good, drinkable wine with mineral touches in it, and pockets of sweet gras richness. Interesting. 2017-18  Oct 2012  Previously July 2010 *** pretty, full red robe, brighter than many 2008s. Pepper outer air to the bouquet, but it is swiftly supported red jam fruit and a reassuring depth: the fruit is like mulberry, is appealing. About ready in 9 months. Direct, assertive red fruits on the palate – these breeze along with clear lines, and have some residual juice. This is very coherent, thanks to its peppery fruit that is nice and true, and persistent. The finish also needs a winter to move the live, pebbly tannins into its body. 2015-16 July 2010

2006

prune, violet, rose-hip aromas in a full and pretty bouquet that is wide and filling. The palate softens with air, showing simmered blackberry fruit that is followed by a late tang of licorice and mint at the end. It drinks with supple style now, the finish is long enough. It can be served cool as well. 2014-15 Feb 2009, London Previously Jan 2008 *** quite full red mixed with mauve. Cherry fruit with an easy going air on the nose, and a touch of nuttiness (the Syrah did its malo in cask) – the bouquet is nicely broad, and will expand further by early summer 2008. The palate`s simmered fruits come with a light jam texture, and this is a wine that works on refinement rather than power. A gracious succulence makes it OK to drink solo. Red berries show through, and the finish is round and a little sugared. Reliable quality – w.o.w. wine. To 2013. Bottled Nov 2007. Jan 2008

2005

full, black-toned robe. Chunky and full bouquet with primary, gummy fruit on show. A bit reduced, so stinky, has light amounts of pepper and licorice. Herb-black fruits flavour, darts around with an intense core. Good late pull through, black juice shows up on the finish. Nice and long, the tannins are full of running. More together by late 2008. 2015-17 March 2007

2004

first stage colour evolution; reductive, rather sweaty bouquet – baked stones, licorice across it, incipient heat. Holds live-wire red fruit that is now at a mature stage. I sense this could have been more expressive last year, the fruit more alive. It drinks fine now, food is needed, though. The length is OK. I wonder if this was an indifferent bottle, when noting how the wine was only 18 months ago. On this showing, drink this up before 2012.  Sept 2009, London  Previously Feb 2008 ***(*) bustling red robe with a good core to it; mixed, varied aromas compose the bouquet – linger, and you find flowers, fruit cake, spice, some alcoholic power. Is not overdone, and with its southern warmth comes an elegant air. The palate red fruit presents a solid face – this is a thorough wine, with just a slight dislocation at the end as it gets a little airy. The attack works well, showing red cherry fruit pepped up by a little cinnamon. Is a pretty virile wine, wuith the Grenache given a healthy kick by its Syrah: the effect is to lengthen and ground it well. Will be more prolonged on the finish in 2009 – is in some transition now. Nice and honest, on the STGT routing. 2017-18 Feb 2008 Previously March 2007 **** dark colour; meaty, smoky bouquet with sizzling bacon in the glass. Punchy black fruit, with its content deep and thorough. Raisin, prune, chocolate, roasted finish. A flourishing wine, very good for the year. 2015-17 March 2007

2003

raisin-prune aroma, with smoky, black stone fruit also present. Good nerve on the palate, works along cocoa, tea lines, and has good, brisk tannins. Pepper-licorice aftertaste, and has the tarry nature of the vintage. 2012-14 March 2007 Previously July 2005 ***(*) baked, plum aromas. Good, lively fruited, quite potent wine that drinks well now, with black fruits, prune and violet to the fore, and heat within. The texture has an oily seam from its alcohol – there is a marked suave feel. Wholesome wine, with herbal touches in it. Balanced and accomplished – this drinks well young. 2013-15 July 2005