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The Wines

1979, 1890, 1895 Syrah from granite soils at Saint-Péray & galet stone soils on the Rhône river side of the N86 near Saint-Péray, plus 2% 1990s-2000s Cornas, whole bunch fermentation, 12 day vinification at up to 30-33°C, pumping overs, twice daily foot cap punching, malo done in 10-12 hl barrel, concrete vat raised 6-8 months, then 10-12 hl barrel 2-5 months, fined with 1 egg white for 400 litres, unfiltered, 3-4,500 b


dark red; has a gourmand, overt and broad bouquet, coulis or liqueur of black cherry, is Southern in style, with black olives in play. It has a thick, a bit hard, aspect for now. The palate debut is firm, tight knit, bears a concentrated fullness, black fruits with some juice emerging. The tannins are thick but ripe. It’s a lot of wine for a Côtes du Rhône. It can arrange its finish in the next three years, shows late iron, gives a clack there. It’s structured, serious. 13.5°. 2035-38 Dec 2019


gleaming dark red robe; the nose is rather chunky, on cherry fruits, raspberry, is dense, a bit unyielding, has a dab of rock smoke. The palate is also compact, firm, frees up enough for black berry juice which is thick. There’s a surge of wide tannins at the end, the close gummy, layered. This is structured to live, and not be drunk early. It brings on vegetal assertion, and is demanding on the close. “It has a bit more flesh and length than Le Vin des Amis this year,” Olivier Clape. 13°. Bottled Aug 2018. From 2021 – it’s best to wait. 2034-36 Dec 2018

2016 ()

1st Bottle: attractive robe, black with violet tints. Black pepper, floral airs, black cherry. The palate is tight, dries early. 2nd bottle: raspberry, violets and roses feature in a nice, open bouquet that is going well, has a hint of black cherries, licorice. The attack is springy, delivers a good surge of flavour, cool fruit and good, crisp tannins that crunch on the close. This is vibrant, clear, beau. 13.5°. Bottled end Aug 2017. 2026-28 Nov 2017

2014 ()

bright red robe. The nose is really lively, gives a good, surging blackberry and mulberry fruit, has some helpful vegetal crunch to lift it. This is fresh dance wine – it holds lots of clear run fruit with a quiet late powder crunch, and notes of violet, peony. It is naked, beau, clear. The stems play a good role in freshening it. Bottled early Sept 2015. This received just two months in barrel. 12°. 2023-25  May 2016 Previously Dec 2015 ***(*) dark robe. Has a soaked cherries such as Morello air, a supple bouquet with wee notes of game and reduction. The attack is broad, holds live mulberry, raspberry fruit with some still challenging but tasty tannins which have juice in them. Menthol comes through on the close. This has a juicy heart. “It’s rare to have juicy tannins in the Côites du Rhône; this had two months in large barrel/foudre this year,” Olivier Clape. 12°. Bottled early Sept 2015. 2024-25  Dec 2015

2013 ()

nice dark red robe. The bouquet is curvy, gives an expressive aroma of red fruits such as raspberry, has some hidden reserves. Purity in the Syrah’s red fruit is noted. The palate is mineral-infused, centres on red, tangy fruit, then leads into a licorice, granular close. This is a close, neat pack, a rocky wine. Raspberry and some late glow bring down the curtain. This could step up a bit more over time, especially on the second half of the palate – that is factored in on its rating. 13°. Just 3,000 b this year. From mid-2016. 2025-27  Jun 2015


dark red colour. Discreet black berry-cherry fruit aroma – the nose shows simmered fruits, has an earthy aspect, isn’t really out, comes with a graphite, licorice tang. The palate has mineral through its veins, the black berry fruit tight and clear. This resembles Cornas at first, then has a gummy, broad, firm late stage, its tannins round. It widens on the end in that manner, not like a Cornas there. A wine for la table – lamb, grills. Decant this. From spring 2015. “The rolled galet stone soils mean it is closed ,” Olivier Clape. €10.50 export. I actually prefer the Vin des Amis on the grounds of price. 2020-22  Dec 2013


deep, shiny dark robe. The nose shows good style – it combines Indian tea, treacle, black berry fruit, licorice, violets, and smoky game. The palate starts on a mineral, kicking feel; the fruit gains, has different stages as it goes, ending on a tight cassis leaf and bud. It ends on strict tannins now. There are grilled notes. This is a wine for specialists, not for the mass public since it needs time, decanting and understanding. It offers interest for the future. From spring 2014. “it was very reduced at 3 months’ old, early on; we had full vats everywhere, and the wine needed air during its raising,” Pierre Clape. 13°. 2021-23  Oct 2012


dark, inky robe. There is a broad swirl to the very attractive nose, which has an inviting roundness and fullness. There is a mixture of flowers and cigarette ash, tobacco; there is a light note of game and reduction. The palate is nice and compact, with lots under the bonnet – Va Va Voom, indeed. It ends on floral, violet and mineral cut. Lovely, classy wine that has excitement, good cut, a mineral finish, which is still a bit demanding. 13.5°. 2023-24  Oct 2012 Previously Feb 2012 ***(*) lovely, inviting dark robe. Tight, compact, streamlined dark fruit aroma which reveals shiny black fruit with a secure depth about it, and a mix of licorice, smoke and bacon. The early palate fruit is bright, has real buzz in it. There are good, slightly stiff tannins. It is very good for an attacking drink now, off we go. It moves up a gear stealthily, since there is a real classic structure through the palate. Good length – this runs strongly to the line. Its depth brings in chocolate on the finish. 13.5°. 2020-21 Feb 2012


dark red, a good robe. Strong chocolate air, a brooding mass of ripe black fruit in behind. The palate shows acetate, has an austerity about it, a sort of false minerality – “that is from dry skins, grilled grapes, so we ended up raising it more in vat than large barrel, with only two months of barrel this year,” Pierre Clape. Decant this, even 24 hours ahead. It is firm, has a tarry end, but there is decent gras within. From mid-2012. Waiting best – until 2014 or so, in my view. 2018-20 Nov 2010 Previously Dec 2009 **(*) (cask) bright red. Black cherry, soaked cherries nose. Tight black fruit on the palate, a lot of early tannin – so much so that it veers towards the astringent. Fresh finale. Decent heart in this. To 2016. Dec 2009 34.5 hl this year


fair red, purple touches. Elegant, floral aroma that comes with a little pepper, a lean tang also. A little width across the palate as the fruit runs along, is still enclosed, finishes tight and pebbly. Flavour of red fruits here. Will improve, so wait until spring 2011. 2015-16 Dec 2009 31 hl this year

2007 ()

bright, quite dark robe; reductive top air to the bouquet, but clear fruit within – ripe red cherry, with fundamental notes – implies it is not a big year, but it does have shape. Maximum three-quarter depth red fruit on the palate, aided by its clean lines. The length is steady. Decant this, or wait a good few years, for instance until 2012-13 – the 1999 Côtes was still closed in late 2007. I can't think of many Côtes du Rhônes structured this way any more – proper, gradual evolution red wine. Bottled August 2008 – “we could have bottled it later; it is now on reduction, and has been since the end of October – it was on its fruit more before that,” Pierre Clape. 2017-19 Dec 2008

2006 ()

the aroma mixes cassis and raspberry liqueur, and is nicely sustained, and has a bit of meat around it. The palate starts tight and wrapped up, then it becomes more tannic, prior to a nice burst of fruit at the end. This has character, and great, oily fruit. Gutsy wine with a berry finish. “It is starting to come round now,” Pierre Clape. 13.3°. 2012-14 Dec 2007 Previously June 2007 *** (cask) lively, broad bouquet with brisk fruit within. Nicely rounded start to palate, the fruits has good shape, and is followed by some ripe tannins (licorice flavour). The length is correct. Ends with a mineral grip. A very classic structure – lots of aroma, a round start, then ripe tannins and a firm finish. June 2007 “This is a wine that can get there,” A.Clape

2004 ()

the robe is a tiled red colour. Treacle, spice, game, red fruits such as strawberries in syrup, red cherries assemble as a good mix on the nose. This drinks well, comes immediately on soaked red fruits, with fine tannins to accompany them - the rolling fruit combines well with the fine tannins. This is nice! Drink it with your chums. It is a tiny bit dry on the finish, but air will help that (it has just been opened). “2004 was a juicy vintage, with nice balance,” Pierre Clape. 2023-24 Oct 2016


there is still red in the robe, which has a good centre. There are “high” notes, red fruits with a coulis depth on the nose, a hint of animal around it. The palate gives a well shaped run of red fruits with some crystalline tinkle, some damp vegetation. Its juice doesn’t hesitate, criss-crosses it well. There is good little punch from its tannins, and it’s still right on its game. It bursts with good vigour in a peppery close. After a while open: great richness and exuberance. 2024-26 Oct 2016