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The Wines

1950s-1960s Syrah from Les Bessards, Le Méal (the noble west end), L'Hermite, destemmed, 4 week vinification, malo in oak, aged new 228-litre or 400-litre casks 20 months, unfined, filtered, a selection of casks, the most powerful ones, of the Gambert de Loche wine, first wine 2004, 1,500-1,800 b

2017 ()

bottle number 0003: full red colour; the bouquet has a sturdy make-up, grilled notes, oak-caramel, smooth black fruits within. It’s quite a weighty start, but there are some cool nudges to encourage its development. The palate carries density in part generated by its oaking, a sweetness from that source. It bears pockets of red fruit, has a meaty constitution, and is firmly grounded on the second half. Allow until 2023, decant it. I find it still very much in the cellar, so patience is certainly necessary. 14.5°. 2037-39 Nov 2019

2015 ()

dark, inky robe; The bouquet produces a mineral shaft within its southern influences, the black olives and close packing of black fruits. Oak is up front, and there’s grilling, too. The palate presents an immediate wave of very tasty, gourmand matter, black berry fruit at its heart. It keeps rolling well, the length very strong. The aftertaste brings in chocolate from the oak. The longer the wait the better, to reduce the oaking, and render it more fruited and local. It finishes notably well. From 2022. 2040-42 Dec 2018 Previously Oct 2016 ***** (new 228-litre casks) full, very dark robe. The bouquet is a mass of black fruits with hardly a chink of light in them – they are piled high and deep. There is a hint of oakand beef stock behind. The palate is a bounteous, crammed event with cosy, almost stately, black berry fruits going wide and long. The texture is admirably smooth, and the finish all en rondeur. The tannins come forward with stealthy assertion, and the aftertaste is lightly aromatic, with an inkling of mulberry and freshness. It conceals its inner power pretty well, has real depth. 14°. From 2020. 2033-36 Oct 2016


dark robe; The bouquet is well filled, not showing much chink of light today, as one might expect. There is a deep cassis fruit, several layers of it, with a soaked black cherries and savoury, roast pork attachment. The palate is full but mobile, runs with sleek black fruit, presents a polished case. The aftertaste is criss-crossed with fluid fruit. The oak comes through late on. From 2018-19. It’s just a bit on the made in the cellar side, so the longer you wait, the better. There are some cool, mineral touches before the finish – encouraging. 2030-32  Oct 2015 

2012 ()

(casks) dark red; liquid blackberry fruit air with oak smoke, licorice and mocha depth and darkness, a hint of prune. There is also a slight game-black soil hint. The palate has a monochrome debut, bears subdued but sound fruit, with very close attendance from its oak. It frees a little after half way. It takes the upright Bordeaux approach, which renders it more international than local for now. It needs time to become more fleshy and friendly, too. It will be OK – wait. From 2017. 2025-26  Nov 2013


full red; soaked cherries air (griottes) - a good open aroma, with sun in the glass, a ripeness of fruit. It is deep , oaked and even a little heavy. The palate is coated with liqueur-like fruit, a sustained ripeness from that. This package denotes the cellar just a bit more than it could, away from the vineyard, the intention for a Big, Full wine at the outset that will do well in certain markets. There is a rolling intensity that persists, and it ends on a small collection of grainy tannins that peek out. Copious, generous, long Hermitage that will live well, and be most interesting past its eight birthday, once the rather flashy youth has passed. It accentuates sun over granite. From 2019. 2034-37  Dec 2014 Previously Nov 2012 ***(*) good, full red; there is a comfortable depth of mulled blackberry on the nose, has sweet notes – pretty ripe berries come to mind, their skins gleaming, and there is a strike of licorice. The palate is similar via its mulled fruits, their sweetness and jam style in keeping with the nose. It seems facile now. All is mild in this town: the tannins are present, not intrusive, and it ends roundly, with an oily theme and a note of game. It lacks a little character, isn’t local and needs to inspire more. Given the benefit of the doubt. From 2016. 2026-27  Nov 2012


dark red, purple. Smoky, dark, fungal nose with oak still very much in the picture. Mixes blackberry, tar, fruit liqueur, licorice. The palate is lithe, vigorous: the fruit is clear, goes up and down, its oaking in the director’s chair. It hasn’t got going yet – it requires imagination for its future since I find it mainstream more than local. There is pretty lucid, occasionally juicy, smoky black fruit along the palate, but it doesn’t have a real sizzle factor. From 2017. 2033-35  Nov 2012


very dark robe. Broad-shouldered bouquet, with a chocolate front load now, plenty of depth and possibility. There is a pure strike of blackberry fruit in it, also meat. It is an enclosed style of bouquet, a quadrant, for now. This is a Big Operator on the palate – I can sense its rather full stretch fruit and drive. It is wide and serious in its final stages. It is showing a little more than its first base matter, has not really shifted much. There are moments of classy fruit, but it is hard to escape the sense of man’s intervention here, over that of nature. It needs around 4 years to turn away from its vinification. From 2015. 13.5°. Bottle 539 of the 1,500 b. 2029-31  Nov 2011

2008 No Rating



very dark; broad and compact black fruit aroma, good weight, comes with a ripe, oily top air – it is potentially open in style, will give well. Dark fruits with chocolate and smoky licorice feature on the palate; has a well-judged level of richness and tannin. There is a long run after the mid-palate, as it ticks over without exiting. A manly Hermitage, but not demanding at the same time. Still has oak on the finish. Good possibilities. From late 2012. 2027-29 Nov 2009


very dark, a real intensity of black fruit, prune that is ripe, dripping and toasty – there is also beef stock and blackberry in a successful combination, chocolate and varnish. A Beaucoup nose that is more full and wild than the smiling 2007, and I note game airs hanging in there as well. Ample, richly textured, full gourmandise fat wine here. The black fruits are set on a round and generous level. There are scented late moments, as if an elegant lady has just walked in, bearing understated perfume in her trail. Interesting wine, lots to taste and think about. It is not for Rhône habitués with its generous, oily tea-flavoured palate. Why can`t Jaboulet make wines like this? The answer lies in Bordeaux. A bit on the stretch late on, but is going the right way, from mid-2011. At heart it is STGT. 2027-29 Nov 2009

2005 ()

very dark, sustained robe, starting to show matt and a coffee top rim. Seasoned, lateral, firm bouquet – licorice, smoky coffee percolating front aroma, firm black fruit under. This nose is still very primary, is on its first delivery, and has no acquired secondary nuances, graininess or dampness. The palate has a fresh line of black fruit and tannin, an upright stance, but very good clarity, very vintage specific. It ticks along with reserve and hauteur, unlike the southern 2006 Epsilon, its robust countryman. It reflects the dry vintage in its tightness of fabric and the precise cut of its jib. Has a classic structure, length is good, fine black fruit emerges at the end. Not for the sweet tooth brigade. From 2012, has lovely possibilities. 13°. 2030-32 Nov 2009 Previously June 2007 (casks) **** (casks) really dark colour; rich tone to the bouquet – is oily with some high tone. There are inky, black fruits, mulled black berries and mulberry, with smoke form the oak. There is plenty of gourmandise on the palate – rounded black fruits, tannins that are ripe, and the length good also. Is cleanly made, and has the vintage`s great bounty in it. From the texture, I would judge that the Méal portion is on top, but there is also some decisive peppering from its tannins and oak – thus a spine exists. Nice fidelity to its place, with good late life in it. Fingers crossed for after the bottling. Esp 2010-11 on. 2023-25 June 2007