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The Wines

65-75% Grenache (1917, 1919, 1929, 1931-32, 1945 on Les Armouriers), 25-35% Syrah (1950, one plot only) from La Garrigue de l’Etang, plot name Le Couroulu, part destemmed since 1998, total destemming from 2001, only wild yeasts, 18-21 day vinification, daily pumping overs, 1-2 part vat emptying/refillings at specific gravity 1000, Syrah can be cap punched, raised 65-100% concrete vat, 0-35% barrel 24 months, unfined, unfiltered, can be bottled in 2 go’s, magnums, jereboams & 5-12,000 b

2017

(vat) dark colour; the bouquet is butty, compact, has airs of black coffee, sleek black and blue fruits, warm oiliness, savoury notes. The palate marches along, has a firm, direct line of black fruit with low-key but ripe tannins in behind. It ends in a smoky manner, with some seasoning necessary to meld the finale. 75% Gren, 25% Syr. €14. From mid-2021. 2033-36 Feb 2020

2016 ()

(concrete vat) full red robe. The nose is a good, rounded whole, offers sunny, appealingly sweet berry fruits, is a good start. The palate sets off on gourmand, tasty red fruits, raspberry notably with a kind flow of tannin that integrates well, the finish peppery. This is a good unit, more on safety than inspiration. There’s a note of carbonic gas in there, pepping it up. The late cherry fruit is refined. Honest, open Vacqueyras, good with red meats. It can develop. 14°. 13,000 b. From spring 2019. 2028-29 Feb 2018

2015

the dark red robe with a good sheen is inviting. The nose is a winner, with the sap [sève] from the old vines immediately apparent, has a really well installed richness, effortless depth, is very natural and refined, plum fruits to the fore. The palate presents also a fluid, rolling gras with pockets of menthol, pings of clarity towards the finish, the tannins peppered. Mulberries and notably soaked raspberries feature in the flavour, while that darkens towards blueberry as it goes. This traverses the palate, leaves a vivid imprint, is wholesome, a knife and fork wine. 14°. From mid-2020. €14.90 in bottle, €32 in magnum, both VALUE. 2037-41 March 2018

2014

(vat) dark red robe. The nose gives an immediate air of blackberry coulis, with a scented prune note and black pepper. The palate has carbonic gas pepping it up, but runs with quiet strength, goes long. It is fresh and dentelle, the fruit pretty generous and live. It ends on trim blackcurrant fruit. It is still in the cellar, has a little nuttiness. The finish is very fresh. 14°. 12,000 b. 75% Gren, 25% Syr. From mid-2017. 2026-29  Dec 2015 

2013

nice plum robe, pretty full. The nose has a soaked raspberries, plump aroma, very much in a naturally ripe roundness. It will vary, is juvenile, gives light airs of dried herbs. The palate is attractive, appealing, via its gras richness and fat, with a little late tannin extending it. It has wholesome qualities, sun present. The tannins bring a late stream of freshness, cooked plums, very Grenache-inspired, in its flavour. This holds good matter, genuine depth, has the beau coating of old vines and their sève or sap. “There is not a bad amount of terroir in this; we harvested on 10 September, not that much later than usual,” Guy Ricard. From spring 2017. 2029-31 July 2016 Previously Dec 2014 *** (vat) bright purple colour. This is dark and austere on the nose, with a spicy nuance. The palate is peppery and spicy. It is tight and firm, but lacks some juice and fruit. It finishes mouth-puckeringly dry. 14°. From 2017. 2022-23 JL Dec 2014

2012

(vat) dark robe, a mix of purple and black. Leesy airs, but the quality of the black fruit is sound, reflects an aroma of small black berries, licorice. The palate is in a natural state, shows carbonic gas; the fruit is wholesome, fluid, tasty. It ends with generous abundance, tannins involved – an extra firm depth there. It can knit together well. From 2016. 14.5°. 70% Gren, 30% Syr. 5,000 b. €14.50 at cellars. 2025-26  Dec 2013

2011

(vat) good, full robe; clear, inviting fruit air – raspberry with sweet invitations; the fruit depth is good, and there are lightly baked, firmer surrounds, with drifts of licorice. The palate has an intense start, a red cherry fruit centre, offers fragrant soaked red cherries as its flavour. Decent length, and fine tannin, with bone. It gains an extra dimension on the finish, widening and giving nut-grain moments before a pretty clear-cut sign-off. It doesn’t have great structure, in the vein of 2011, but has a bit more juice and flesh than the classic 2011. From 2015. 14°.  Only 6,000 b this year, 70% G, 30% Syr. 2024-26  Oct 2012

2010

dark robe. The nose is big, inky, wide, offers prune, leather, violet – it is deep and traditional. The palate is broad and textured on the debut, has fat content at its heart. Its tannins are a little rough n’ready, raw on the finish – the main setback to it is there. The finish is dry, and this isn’t a collected whole at present. Try from mid-2015. I reckon there is a certain post-bottling confusion. 15.5°. 2025-27  May 2013 Previously Oct 2012 ***** (vat, bottling next month, Nov 2012) full, dark red robe. The nose is centred on blackberry jam, is without chinks, but not heavy. There are scented notes on its fleshy, juicy matter; it holds good, tasty, licorice style tannins that come purring in after half way, are absolutely smooth and effortless, like the hum of a Rolls Royce. The spread across the palate is silken. Really striking flow, comes with touches of violet, simmered red berries on the finish. STGT wine, the last impression of herbs and flowers. Ace wine, great balance. From 2015-16. 14.5°. “The wine was hyper concentrated in 2010; the old vines only yielded 16 hl/ha – they had coulure (flowers but lack of fruit) and very small grapes, very little juice, but enormous concentration on both Grenache and Syrah,” Guy Ricard. 2030-32

2009

dark red robe. There is a good ripe heart to the nose, pure and ripe. The core is Grenache plum fruit with a mixed bag of herbs, a note of licorice – it is broad and shows potential. The palate spreads widely, and carries charge in its full prune fruit. It ends on a small note of freshness, so keeps moving despite its weight. A broad and sustained wine, solar and grounded. I find it a bit dour now, and its full concentration contrasts with the freer style of the classic 2009, which is cheaper by about 12%. Decant this, also wait until 2015-16. 14.5°. 2025-27  Sept 2012  Previously Oct 2010 ****(*) (vat/barrel) full, purple-black robe; has a shiny, involving black fruit, black cherry aroma with very good ripe Grenache at its centre, and it is not overdone at all. Really bonny fruit start to the palate, comes with a smooth texture, and will be silken as it ages. Very pure, most appealing. It holds grand ripe tannins that deliver a youthful exuberance. From 2013. 2027-29 Oct 2010

2008 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

2007

complete robe; nicely sweet, rather savoury nose that shows a rounded black fruits air with the presence of weight in the form of beef stock – this is a fine, appealing bouquet. Oily, inky debut to the palate – it shows a robust, insistent mid to late stage, ending on charcoal-chocolate. It spreads widely and well, offering vigour and a sprinkle of oak. The fruit is successful, but the whole needs to meld together. From mid-2011. 2019-22 July 2010 Previously Nov 2008 **** bright, full dark red; there is simmered blackberry, a joyous bounty and purity in the aroma – which is not floppy, more orderly and poised. There is a little of the baked garrigue in this, with licorice, too. There is a tremendous debut of blackberry fruit on the palate – it is drinkable now, so tasty is it. The fruit really persists a long way down the palate, before ripe tannins show late in the day. A wholesome and balanced wine, even if it is intrinsically quite potent. From late 2010. 2020-21 Nov 2008

2006

bright red with black traces; has a blackberry or soaked black cherries aroma, has a fleshy air, is quite forward in style, with some smoke behind. The palate fruit is enclosed for now – the frame tightening around its fairly rich red fruit start. There is grain on the finish – a sense of change or evolution in the wine. There is sinew and charge in the wine, particularly evident from half way on. The length is correct. It needs to sort itself – I don't feel it is on full form today. Try from mid-late 2010. 2018-19 Nov 2008

2005

largely bright black robe. The nose is wholesome, reflects pistachio and well-set black jam, prune: it is lying low today, but there is good tinkle in the black fruit, also some licorice. Graciously, fully-lined palate – black fruits with a hint of earth and game around them. It is broad, a wine that strains on the leash late on – wants to burst through. Peppery implant towards the finish, menthol. Clear aftertaste. There is a clear sweep of movement in this, a wine with authority and pedigree. 14.5°. 2019-21. This is the first lot to be bottled – the next will be in early 2009. Nov 2008 Previously Jan 2008 ***** (vat) very dark, black cherry-berry robe; oily, mulled or crème de fruit, liqueur aroma – wide, sustained and rich. Very prolonged palate of tasty red fruits – griottes, the soaked cherries are in town; has very good oily nature, and an aromatic aftertaste. Is very rich – notably more than the 2004 Vieilles Vignes. Travels as one from the nose to the end palate – a very good sign. It will please and impress in equal measure. From mid-2010. It has more tannins, but also more graceful tannins, than the Classique 2005. Very good bounty here. Very persistent, and closes generously. Allez Vacqueyras! 2024-28 Jan 2008

2004

very shiny, quite dark robe; the nose is markedly closed and hard to capture: perhaps a little black fruit and game, but it is wide. Has a pretty rich, continuous start, with plenty of side tannins: comes out more rustic than the other vintages 2005-2003, and is rather uncontrolled. Hearty, full wine, whose tannins are punchy and unrestrained. Has evolved only slowly. This is a a Wild Ride. From mid-2009. Bottled nine months ago. “I like this, it's a wine for the lads,” Guy Ricard. 2018-20 Jan 2008 Previously April 2007 ***(*) dark robe; smoky, black fruits aroma a little herbal, is still tight. Well-founded black fruit on palate. The wine is closed now, the fruit tight. There is some vigour within, and it needs leaving until late 2008 to show more easily and carry more variety of taste. Well structured wine; this sample contrasts with previous tasting. I suspect the wine is in transition in its early days. 2015-16 April 2007 Previously *(*) quite dark; fairly graceful black fruit aroma, with a little violet and baked stones. Firm black fruit on palate, but is rather austere. Rather dry end tannins, with a cooked fruit, raisin, tar aftertaste. Try in 2009 and hope it integrates the tannins and softens. 2013-16 March 2007

2003 ()

plum with a little darkness in the robe; bears a mild, jam aroma with some latent kick in it: is rather hidden now and the shape is square. The palate black berry runs smoothly off the bat, then it picks up tannins and pepper from half way to the finish. Starts to open and express late in the day, and has a licorice, black jam and menthol finale with a curve of richness there. From late 2009 for more cohesion. Catch this before it dries on the finish: its singing years will up to 2013 or so, but can live to 2016-18. Is not at all a consecutive, smooth operator of a wine, and has its own, outside the crowd, character. Jan 2008 Previously Sept 2005, London ***(*) full, lustrous quite dark red colour. Bouquet full but holding back: it is pebbly, herbal, hung meat in nature. Immediately rich impact on palate, well-filled wine, broad flavours here, on the black stone fruits in style. Good heart, with its black fruits. A little tar, and a small dry zone on the aftertaste. Good and gutsy, genuine, beau vin. Drinks heartily now, even young. From 2007 will finish more softly. 2014-17 September 2005, London

2002 No Rating

NOT PRODUCED

1998

pretty potent nose: has a heightened aroma of vigorous black fruit: is restrained now, will give more from 2006. The palate commences with knit black fruit that is approaching a funky status. The length is good: this has retained the cohesion of its flavours. There is a prune-olive presence, and it is rich all the way through. 2015-16 March 2005 Previously May 2001 **** very intense colour; dry air to the nose, with some white pepper: within it is very dense, with jam and olives. Has a very thorough palate, with a lot of dark black fruit jam and a nice touch of cool chewiness. The tannins emerge at the end, and prop it up well. The fruit is firm for now. From 2004. 2012-14 May 2001

1996 ()

quite a firm purple colour; the bouquet has the dry airs of 1996, and its evolution reveals fruit and game-anmial notes. This is a very pretty, quite soft wine. Has a squeeze of roundness towards the finish, and has been quietly vinified. Very good middle palate to this, and it expresses itself naturally, STGT wine. To 2009-10 May 2001