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The Wines

60-70% Grenache (1962-1992), 20-25% Syrah (1982, early 2000s, 2012), 10-15% Mourvèdre (1985, 1989-95), part destemmed since 1998, total destemming from 2001, only wild yeasts, 2-week vinification of varieties apart, twice daily pumping overs, Syrah can be cap punched, varieties assembled May after the harvest, raised 80% vat, 20% barrel 18-30 months with 2-3 bottlings, unfined, unfiltered, 22-45,000 b

2016

(concrete vat) sober, quite dark red robe. The nose has a meaty aspect, airs of cooked plums, on a Grenache trail, sweetness present. The palate isn’t fully formed, has dips and highs, offers a little thick juice here and there. The tannins are rather searching on the close. The second half of the palate needs arranging; it can’t live on its first flourish alone. 13.5°. 48,000 b. From mid-2019. 2029-30 Feb 2018

2015

red robe, three-quarter depth. There’s a good swirl of raspberry fruit, mulberry with clean and clear lift, appeal on the nose. There is minor baking in back, which is alleviated by a touch of floral, rose. The palate gives a solid run of close-knit matter, the juice emerges discreetly, is thick, surrounded by still grippy tannins. It ends with kick, darkness, has attitude, and heart. The nose doesn’t prepare you for the kick ass palate here. Decanting a must. “It is on more spices than fruits, the style of the vintage. 2015 is a sublime vintage, among the very Grand Vintages,” Guy Ricard. 1st bottling April 2017, 2nd bottling June 2017. 13.5°. €11 is VALUE. 2036-38 March 2018

2014

shiny, quite dark red. The nose is close-knit, has an aroma of a thick coulis of blackberry with a bonny floral hover, cooked raspberry at its core. The palate gives pretty immediate supple gras richness, and continues with that style. It is more innocuous than provocative or stimulating. Its tannins are quite fine, almost edgy as it closes, with a spot of bitter – Guy Ricard’s word. It’s been in bottle since the end of 2015. 14°. 2022-23 July 2017 Previously Dec 2015 **** (vat) dark red robe. The bouquet is well filled, bears several layers of red berry fruit, plenty of potential, more to come. There is an undertow of game, grounded influences. The palate centres on punchy, spiced Grenache led by the noble juice of old vines, then a resounding finish, flashes of blackberry there. It is wide and long, a good, STGT vin de terroir. It very much shows the quality of old vines fruit (tasted blind, I may be wrong, but . . . ) 14°. 40,000 b. 70% Gren, 20% Syr, 10% Mourv. From mid-2018. 2025-27  Dec 2015

2013 ()

(vat) purple-garnet hue. Peppery, spicy, Syrah-inspired nose. The palate is sweet, but there’s a herbal edge as well. The tannins are a little tough and drying on the finish. From 2016. 2020-22  JL Dec 2014

2012 ()

(vat) full, dark robe. Baked, quite hearty nose – it is broad, offers airs of violet, soaked fruits, has some North African power, and also a slightly dry, peppery side. The palate resembles eau de vie on the outset, bears clipped black fruit with a gradual tannic squeeze and increase. The aftertaste is peppery. The fruit needs to advance further along the palate. It has an inner intensity, exerts muscles, has potential. From spring 2015. 35,000 b. €10.40. 2022-24  Dec 2013

2011 ()

(vat) healthy red robe, nice plum heart. The nose carries the fat of 2011, bears toffee notes that are sweetly wrapped into it, and red jam airs; the fruit glows nicely. The palate links to the nose, holds fleshy, gourmand fruit, favours texture over crispness. A juvenile wine, needs a bit more time. The tannins are very pliant, pretty wide. There is light bite, grain on the aftertaste. Has some character; the finish is restricted for now fruit-wise. From 2015. 14°. Only 22,000 b this year. 2023-25  Oct 2012

2010

shiny, rather full red. Aromatic, wide nose, gives juicy raspberry fruit – the fruit beckons the drinker, has sun and appeal, not excess. Spicing, cinnamon runs through its red plum fruit, ends on good tannins which bring their own tune of grain and freshness. Good length and movement along the palate, the balance has the 2010 quality. The balance means that it can be drunk earlier than usual. The tannins will be more involved in it in 18 to 24 months. From 2014. 14°. 2026-28. Bottled spring 2012.  Oct 2012

2009 ()

quite a dark red; spicy, smoky, “free agent” aroma that contains licorice, herbs such as thyme, sweet herbs. Lots of variety, already an STGT wine here. The palate is well-knit, combining red fruit with pepper and dust and herbs through its veins. This is authentic to a T. The tannins are grainy, in a good old school way: expect them to yield gradually. The length is solid. I give this marks for character, and one for lovers of true wines, no pretension attached. From 2014. 14°. 2024-26  Sept 2012  Previously July 2010 ***(*) (vat/barrel) red, black, purple tints in the robe; Has a polished Grenache fruit aroma – black cherry at its heart – which is good and plentiful. Also reflects lees, raisin in this young state. The fruit persists well on the palate, and picks up tannin as it goes, in an orderly way. Ends on sound weight. Its tannins are stiff, so leave until 2013. 2021-24 July 2010

2008

quite a dark robe; raisin, grainy, nutty aroma – it is upright, but eased by floral, spice and red jam airs beyond the rather stiff first curtain. The palate red fruit is agreeable, has a wiry texture within, and frees up towards the finish. A fine grain wine that drinks well now. It finds some extra depth as it goes. 2015-16 July 2010

2007 ()

dark robe; wide and persistent nose with a robust core – it is not fully open yet, shows floral-violet airs and traditional Grenache virtues – a sympa start. The nose is inviting, then the palate delivers good, pure and ripe fruit with a Grenache stamp about it. Ends on a perfumed note, but gets a bit curly after it has been open. At base, it is refined and interesting, a genuine traditional wine. I think it can clear itself up, is a bit transitional now. From mid-2011. 2017-20 July 2010 Previously Nov 2008 *** (vat) full red mixed with purple; has an oily, curvaceous, mulled fruits aroma – the air is like raspberry liqueur, without side effects or any additions in its current primary state. The palate is also a red fruit festival - plum and soaked griottes, red cherries are forward; it has some alcohol, eau de vie manifestations towards the finish. A smoothly textured wine with a touch of a late charge in it. For bottling 2010. 2017-18. Nov 2008

2006

sound red robe; three-quarter depth, red mulled fruits aroma, comes with an approachable air, is broad without being profound. The palate holds restrained red fruit such as mulberry and raspberry – and continues securely enough. There is grainy texture in the late tannins. From end 2009. 2016-17 Nov 2008. This is a different bottling to the Jan 2008 tasting wine. Previously Jan 2008 ***(*) (to be bottled in five weeks) dark, bright red robe. The nose shows mulled raspberries, with some bounty and a complete air – is not expressive today, broods in the glass. The palate proceeds with steady fruit and sound richness, nothing too racy or startling. Ends with some flair, a raspberry jam and spice infusion. The tannins are still live, but are largely melded in, since they are ripe. This can be drunk young because of its woven tannins. From 2009. An honest do, STGT wine. 2018-20 Jan 2008

2005

red, full robe, some maturity. Plum, prune, spice aromas at the start of an interesting phase – it is varied, smoky, shows inherent garrigue airs, is starting to yield now. The taste is plum at first, it mixes supple then a resident reserve. Good grain in this. The tannins are evident, but its matter keeps going purposefully, ends freshly. There is a bit of mineral in the texture. Likeable terroir, STGT wine, has the vintage imprint, and good muscle for the future. Gives a good buzz – I like this. 14°. 2017-19 Nov 2008 Previously Jan 2008 ****(*) very thorough, full and dark robe. There is a sprinkling of white pepper on top of a very well set black berry fruit nose, with a touch of bacon present. The palate is wide and rich, and still largely closed. Has a very good core of black fruit that is clear and also possesses genuine richness. There are black berries, and very likeable depth, and the all-important freshness, too. From 2009 will be opening a little. The balance is excellent. There is plenty of overt tannin, but this can integrate around 2010-11. “I would love to make this every year – rich wine, with red and black fruits, length and no excess alcohol,” Guy Ricard. 2021-24 Jan 2008 Previously March 2007 **** toasted, garrigue herb bouquet, with extra stuffing from a mix of smoky bacon, chocolate and licorice – certainly the evidence of a big, properly ripe vintage. Palate kicks off with black fruit that is herbal and a bit sweet. Real good flow here, has classic, and ripe tannins. Black berry jam at finish. STGT wine. 2015-17 March 2007

2004 ()

mild red plum robe with lightening at the top; the first bouquet impression is the vintage – that overt, pepper-spice combination of the year, with live red fruits and currants behind – is a little aggressive. The palate starts widely, with richness present; is not especially intense, and runs towards a finale that is rather straight. It's heading for a mineral destination. The fruit is clear-toned and spiced, and there is sinew in this. Wait a bit for it. Best in autumn/winter with birds or game. From late 2008 or 2009. “It varies a lot now. It was better last year in 2007, and from June 2008 will be sorted out,” Guy Ricard. 2015-16 Jan 2008 Previously March 2007 *** smoky, rather upright aroma, the fruit is pebbly and leathery, with spiced herbs. The palate is quite rich in the middle, but the shape of the wine is that of a cool vintage, where the ripening hasn’t produced fat and jam-laden grapes. The attack shows stone fruit with a cool edge. Lacks some richness. From late 2008. 2011-13 March 2007

2003 ()

still quite a full plum colour; soft, not at all burning nose – a little caramel and gentle cocoa in the aroma, has some space and is unusual for a 2003. Well-set black fruits on the palate with a pepper theme after half way. Concentrated licorice on the end, with “dark” notes in a pretty wide, toffee-tinted finish. It moves on through with purpose, is a wine of some character and out of the usual sequence of styles. Has assembled itself with age. To 2016-18. Jan 2008 “I wasn't one of those at the seaside on August 15 – I was ready to go, and I finished picking on the 4 September. It started life on black fruits, and I find it atypical for a 2003,” Guy Ricard. Previously Sept 2005, London *** middling red colour. Baked, brewed red jam bouquet, shows a potent inclination, not pebbles. Strongly brewed wine, there are dry tones here, is not for the faint hearted drinker. Gutsy and virile finish, has an assertive black extract flavour, tangy and meaty. Needs two years to calm. Texture is generally oily from its alcohol, glycerol. Not fully balanced, in the vintage mould. 2012-14 September 2005, London

2002

50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 20% Syrah this year, with no Vieilles Vignes cuvée: oily, chocolate tone on the nose. The palate has a prune jam start, and is dark and tarry. Tightens up, and has the cool side of the vintage. Rather burnt finish. Fair, punchy wine, esp from 2007. To 2010-11 March 2005

2001

good colour, dark tints, is taking age well. Appealing, scented black jam aroma, broad and open. Well-softened palate, has nearly reached an overtly rich phase, though tannins still restrain the final stages. This is rolling along well now. Has bnoth good core and good local feel. Plum, rose hip finale. Good phase in its life coming up now. STGT wine. 2014-16 September 2005, London Previously March 2005 ***(*) nicely round nose, has really good life and character with herbal aromas present. Good verity on the palate – black fruits with a leathery side and good juice. Has really good vintage style, and its acidity freshens the finish. STGT wine. 2016-17 March 2005

1998 ()

quite a dark robe; grainy, pebbly nose with dry tones and herbs in it. Measured dark fruit on the palate, with a nice reserve about it. Tight , good intensity with no cellar force attached. The tannins need two years, so leave until around 2003-04. 2009-11. “I find this very typical Vacqueyras – the Mourvèdre for length, the Syrah for fruit, the Grenache at the base,” Guy Ricard. May 2001

1997 ()

65% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah this year: fair red; has an open, springy nose with give in it – has a good bit of fruit and not too much dryness. The palate is nicely accessible, with good surrounding matter. A careful selection of the crop is apparent here, via its clean lines. Its black fruits are passed by the end tannins inspired by the Mourvèdre, which tighten and dry the finish, but bring a fresh definition to the wine. Very good, very interesting for a 1997. To 2007-08. “I only bottled 70% in 1997 – sold 30% in bulk. The crop became extremely ripe, and there was frost on two plots of Syrah as well, which explains the high percentage of Mourvèdre” Guy Ricard. May 2001