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The Wines

from Rocoules (limestone, some clay), Péléat (clay-limestone), L`Hermite, Maison Blanche (loess, dead soils, windswept, so obvious aromas), 80-85% Marsanne, 15-20% Roussanne, 80-90% oak fermented, raised (up to 33% new), rest vat, assembled after 18 months, 15,000 b


1) (Péléat, steel vat, from cask one month ago) ****(*) shiny yellow; has a nicely full, engaging nose on apricot, brioche, dried fruits, roast nuts, good range of prompts. The attack is bold, savoury, with fine gras central to it. It lengthens on peach stone, firm white peach flavours, apricot, Marsanne tang on the close. This holds good richness. 27 yrs 2) (Rocoules, steel vat) ****(*) yellow robe; refined, reserved nose, lime fruits, a hint of tropical. The palate is elegant all through, the close round, silky, white fruits and nuts in play. It gains depth on the finish, has a very grippy exit. This holds good potential, style, the fine freshness very accurate, ping it goes. 28 yrs 3) (Rocoules, higher up than the previous) ***** yellow robe; roast nuts, peach, light butter, floral airs feature in a bouquet of charm. There is a lovely glide along the palate, a salted spine, the texture silky. It’s very serene, has most appealing length, the flavour on brioche, apricot. It’s extremely fine.  29 yrs 4) (L’Hermite, steel vat) ****** fine yellow robe; the nose is intricate, classy, has dine rather than obvious nuances, shows greengage plum, cooked lime, a hint of toasting. This has very, very finely tuned freshness, is very pitter patter in approach, very pointilliste all through, max refinement. White fruits, peach lie centrally, with a nutty note, quiet grip. It has lovely class and an absolutely tuneful bearing, is tender, fine, is Grand Vin. 34 yrs  Dec 2019 OVERALL: you only have to read the views on the separate elements to realise that, pre-blending, this is a supreme Hermitage blanc, with finesse high on the agenda. Now it’s down to the Master Blender Jean-Louis and his skills. Dec 2019

2017 ()

yellow robe; the bouquet is ripe, oily peach prominent, apricot and vanilla, and notes of roast nuts, toasting. There is fine carbonic gas through the palate, with a flavour of white fruits, custard-flan, with savoury late moments, peach notes, infused tea, strength towards the finish, good foundation there. It has a curl of gras, tasty gras, followed by good late citrus, orange clarity. This will gradually come together, the length sure, refined. Bottled Aug 2019. From 2025. 2047-49 Dec 2019 Previously Dec 2018 ****(*) 1) (Péléat, Marsanne with Roussanne, Marsanne 100+ years, steel vat, taken out of used 228-litre cask a month ago due to risk of heaviness this year) **** fine yellow robe; has a peach, nutty air, strength in depth, is toasted. The palate delivers a silken texture; I feel some power – this is assertive. There are nutty moments, floral hints, quince tang, ginger from the Marsanne. There’s power on the exit. It’s 14.5°. 24-26 years 2) (Les Rocoules, its clay part called Les Mûriers, also steel vat, Marsanne with Roussanne, 100 year vines) ****(*) pale yellow; the nose is more refined than Péléat’s, is grilled, has cooked lemon present. There’s sound depth on the palate, nice grip, plus serene gras. This is plump, extends into a salted close, with a hum of late strength. 26-28 years 3) (Rocoules, the slope part, the mother rock close to the surface, wine of grip, cut, 6-year 228-litre cask) ****(*) yellow colour; pear-apricot, grilling, beeswax and soft floral tones combine on the nose. The palate is refined, good and elegant, is a real silken operator, ends with spearmint clarity, precision. Its oaking will enter. 27-29 years 4) (L’Hermite, 6 year 228-litre cask) ***** yellow colour; the nose is delicate, a mix of prompts, is complex, apricot and honeysuckle, lime and white raisin in the picture, a mix of the sun and the sky. “It’s more on white flowers than honey,” J-L Chave. The palate gives an elegant, serene flow, comes with quiet inner strength, foundation, the length good. There’s a touch of sun here. This is grounded wine, has precise juice of refined depth, nevertheless. OVERALL ****(*) I would go directly to 8-9 years’ old on this, not earlier. 2044-47 Dec 2018

2016 ()

1) (Rocoules, used 229-litre cask) ****(*) firm, filled nose with cooked lemon, tangy orange marmalade, good lift. The palate holds suave gras, gives a partial release of it. This has very good foundation, runs truly on that to the finish. It’s a feet on the ground wine, with late substance, real firm depth. “It has attractive freshness,” J-L Chave. 75% of the crop was taken out by the April hail. 21 years 2) (Péléat, used 228-litre cask) **** toasted, nutty, peach, quince, dried fruits airs mingle well. The palate is savoury, has flavours of banana, vanilla, peach; it picks up live freshness. This is joli, well controlled, is a firm Hermitage blanc. 19-21 years 3) (L’Hermite, used 228-litre cask, only 3 of the usual 15 casks this year) **** peach, white flower, a nudge of apricot on the nose. There’s a very good thread of freshness and direct delivery on the palate. It’s a bit missing in mid-palate, is spinal, then regains a spot of stone fruit gras. This is more direct than usual, holds tasty, neat gras, the aftertaste nutty 20 years. “The white vines have become more precocious, and are pruned earlier, leading to more vegetation early on – hence they suffered more in the April hail,” Jean-Louis Chave. OVERALL **** could rise to ****(*). Bottling due July 2018. A finesse wine on the agenda, with spinal support, not an obvious affair. Will deserve refined flavours on the plate, and should be striking around 2028. 2036-39 March 2018


yellow robe; Smoky, white fruits, toasted airs on the nose, ginger, white flowers, peach, the clarity of aniseed in a good mixture. There’s slinky, very appealing ripeness within the bouquet. This offers good style right off the bat, a serene run of white fruits, with extremely neat gras richness, lovely roundness, and a calm posting of its virtues. This is ace, formidable, has class, balance, is Grand Vin. “It’s rich with no heaviness, is successful,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2041-43 March 2018 Previously Oct 2016 ***** 1) (Péléat, used 228-litre cask, Marsanne with Roussanne, Marsanne 100+ years) ****(*) yellow robe. Has a rich nose, white peach jam, apricot, real depth. The palate is muscled, has a nutty flavour, with peach, Mirabelle plum, cooked lemon, comes with good grip, is in on itself. 26 years. 2) (Rocoules, used 228-litre cask, limestone at high part, more clay on lower part) ***** yellow colour. The nose is ripe but graceful, comes en finesse, with lemon fruit, apricot, light oak-vanilla, has tang. The palate is supple, holds elegant gras richness that is well sustained, caresses the palate. Very sinuous, sensuous, offers a lovely roll of fat, fine flesh. 25 years 3) (L’Hermite, used 228-litre cask) ***** yellow robe. Ginger, peach stone, has tangy freshness, floral grace, white flowers present. This is aniseed on wheels on the palate – it is most graceful, tender and rolling. This has excellent elegance with supreme gradual grip and a rise in intensity on the finish. The aftertaste is fresh, but also glows from the ripeness of the summer. OVERALL ***** full, also graceful. Lots of wine for the future, with finesse and elegance in the mix. Oct 2016

2014 ()

1) Péléat, in tank to keep its freshness, has been in oak ****(*) the nose is broad, beau, wide – there is toasting, hazelnut and apricot – it sustains well. This has a bold flavour, holds beau gras richness, is long, runs freshly and stylishly. The flavour centres on peach and pear. 21 years. 2) Rocoules, used 228-litre cask ***** yellow robe. There is inner richness on the nose, which is sustained, rounded, peach and cooked pear present. This has handsome depth, with a drumbeat of gras richness. It holds up well and is fresh after half way. Has real good heart. This is proper good Hermitage blanc. 25 years. 3) Les Mûriers, part of Rocoules, the most limestone part of it, used 228-litre cask ****(*) full yellow robe. There is a compote, stewed fruits richness on the nose, butter, cooked fruits, ginger. There is good tension, grip on the palate, with genuine cut and minerality. The exit is dentelle, up. There is a saline thread here. 23 years. 4) L’Hermite, used 228-litre cask ***** yellow robe. Has a supple air, white fruits, good gras present. This is stylish, has good grip and holds close-knit content, is very long indeed. This glides along, has a flavour of cooked white fruits, has precise detail. The best of the four. There is light tannin on the close. Complex, as usual from L’Hermite. 25 years. OVERALL ****(*) this is a very good vintage for the white. The wine has abundant style, and inner depth, length. I would not be surprised that this emerges in bottle as a ***** wine when tasted at six years’ old, for example. 2039-42  Dec 2015


fine yellow robe. Licorice and aniseed show on the nose, lime, toasting, juice of apricot. There is an air of white flowers, hawthorn blossom, but the bouquet is pretty closed just now. The palate starts with delicacy, gives flavours of white fruits, compote or stewed fruits. It runs with a fresh line, has supple gras, is a bit restricted now. This is delicate more than solar wine, provides a good accumulation of detail. It has its own meatiness, and has plenty to give over the years. It is a little tucked up after its Sept 2015 bottling, three months ago. “The spring was bad, May and June not great, July better, August OK, also September. We harvested mid-October. The yield was tiny – 15 hl/ha – due to coulure (flowers not converting into fruit) especially on the old Marsanne vines,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2042-45  Dec 2015 Previously Jan 2015 ****** the separate parts tasted, bottling September 2015, one year later than usual, to absorb the acidity: Péléat (tank, was in cask until three weeks ago) **** solid, white plum-greengage aroma. Has an alert, springy debut, smooth gras richness within. It gives gras and liveliness on the finish. 23 years. Rocoules (cask) ***** typical Rocoules foundation on the nose – it is compact, gives a flan-apricot air, is tight-knit. The palate has a live start, bears solid gras richness with a lot of heart. This is very full, very long. 27 years. Rocoules (a 2nd cask) ***** oak-toast-grain aroma – it has a fresh note as well. There is more chalk on this part of Rocoules. There are live pockets in a sturdy frame on the palate. This has a deep base, is sturdy, has a lovely texture, is serene and long. 26 years. L’Hermite (cask) ***** intricate, varied nose, gives quince fruit, freshness, spice, smoke, tobacco. The palate bears fine juice, with elegance and finesse accentuated. There are droplets of white, smoky fruit. This is long, fine, and sums up the meeting between the granite and the clay. “It gives white flowers – hawthorn, may,” Jean-Louis Chave. 28 years. OVERALL ****** there is a great variety of classy contributors; the combination of gras richness and style is a winner. It will be extremely long, is Grand Vin. Jean-Louis will have fun blending this. From 2019, thanks to its balance. 2045-49 Jan 2015

2012 ()

in the white fruits. The palate starts stylishly, attractively; it is open for now. It holds a good underlay of gras richness – it has foundation under the floating appeal. This is nicely weighted, isn’t very big. Charming and stylish, the length is good. Can be drunk now, but will be very interesting from 2020. 14°. “It is a classic vintage – it is quite supple with the bitter tints that give freshness, a rich but not heavy wine,” Jean-Louis Chave. Bottled Sept 2014. 2038-40  Jan 2015


yellow robe. Varnish, soaked white plums, dried fruits airs combine with verbena, tilleul (linden), brioche baked bread, aniseed, spice and Comté cheese. There is plenty of potential on the nose. The palate bears generous gras richness and body in a rolled up, withdrawn wine. It is elegant inside. The finale is lucid, dentelle, the aftertaste bringing forward aniseed, some licorice. The tightness on the finish is impressive. Come back to this when it is 12 to 15 years’ old for all its possibilities. “It is more serious than the 2012,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2035-38  Jan 2015 Previously ***** the separate parts tasted, assembly in the New Year 2013, bottling spring 2013: bottom of Rocoules, the crater part of it, tank **** fine yellow. Lime fruit, the nose has a good, clear aroma, shows oak and gras richness. The palate offers more solid gras, substance, is quite powerful. 18+ years. Péléat (tank) ***** floral, floating hazelnut air that is pure, has a buttery side. The palate grips tightly, bears a tangy Marsanne, has a very true Hermitage peach-apricot flavour, lengthens well, ends freshly. STGT wine. 20 years. L’Hermite (tank) ***** floral, graceful aroma, gives an air of crème patisserie, strong hazelnut, also apricot. The palate is refined, very joli, could be drunk solo. It is both balanced and fine, has a white peach flavour. Balance is striking, noble terroir wins the races. 21 years. Rocoules, the higher, central part of it (tank) ****(*) fine air – light toasting, peach and honeysuckle here. The palate has good central gras, is well-filled and orderly, flows well, goes on with nice length. Good grip in a firm finish. 20+ years. L’Hermite (the ex-Terence Gray vineyard, 1-year 228-litre cask) ***** good roll of aroma in a wholesome nose that shows oak. The palate gives appealing richness that has cut, citrus, in it. It flourishes at the end, which is fine. This runs on well. 20 years L’Hermite (1-year cask, Roussanne) ****(*) spice and nerve in this, a wine with cut, shows lime and flowers. It grips earlier along the palate than a Marsanne. 19 years. OVERALL ***** this is going to be a refined, potentially complex, streamlined Hermitage blanc. The vintage and the styling of the separate plots leads to understated depth, the floral and airborne white fruit elements offering a caress of the palate and the mind. These wines usually develop only slowly chez Chave. From 2018 for the start of variety. 2031-35  Nov 2012


glinting yellow robe. The nose is striking – it is ample and complex, varied, with plenty of hidden corners. Butter, peach, flowers, oak line up on parade. The palate has a light touch debut; this is good, linear wine with a cloak of matter and the spine to direct it. While linear, it is also full, and there are no bumps as it travels. The finish is complete and round, bringing forward white raisin, peach and a note of “fine steel”, an aniseed splash. Interesting, plenty to enjoy and muse about. From 2019. 2039-41. “There was a lot of coulure in 2010, and the beauty of it was the balance, even with a small crop. The work of the assembly was to give it a bit more weight without heaviness. It resembles a good 1996 or 1991,” Jean-Louis Chave. Bottled Sept 2012.  Nov 2012


(the crucial blending will take place in 1 month's time, the wine on sale from Jan 2012); “I am 80% there on my blend during the raising, but the last 20% determines everything, and is the difficult part,” Jean-Louis Chave. Various tanks tasted from the different climats: Maison Blanche (steel tank, after its cask spell) **** oak front air, definite gras within the nose, has complexity in it. Palate is rich, shows nerve, the acidity is fine, finishes widely. Engine room wine in the final blend. “It is a bit more powerful than usual,” J-L Chave. 18-20 years. Péléat (steel tank) ***** finer nose than Maison Blanche – apricot and a measured ripeness, also muscle in this. Explosive burst of fruit on the attack, holds a flan-like richness and a late tannic side; this grips well. Lot of display here. 20 years. “the limestone encourages greater grip,” J-L Chave. Rocoules (steel tank) ***** really fine, inscrutable nose that suggests damp wool with delicate white strawberry, is mineral forward. Nicely broad debut with lingering, persistent fruit, dried fruits, grip. Good acidity at the end. Still a sealed book. Marginally ahead of Péléat. 22 years. L'Hermite (steel tank) ****** full, quasi opulent nose – fine nut notes, honeysuckle, lime. Intricate palate, with a fine clarity. Solid, long finish. Very clear for 2009. “It has a bit more acidity thanks to being high up on L`Hermite,” J-L Chave. OVERALL ***** it will be full, but will surprise with its relative clarity. Hence a well-proportioned wine, with great length. Concluding comments not much changed from Nov 2010. 2036-39 June 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ***** various vats/casks tasted from the different climats: Péléat (steel tank, after its cask spell) ****(*) pale yellow. Fine, very fine nose, nut, also floral airs. The palate has comfortable richness, a real centre ball to it, this is fat. “It is gras, without being heavy,” J-L Chave. Spiced finish, good length, some heat on the end. Maison Blanche, a little Rocoules (steel tank) ***** solid nose, open on the front, is reticent, waiting to show, but I sense its width and for now, hazelnut. Pretty, full attack – there is real richness here, it can be the engine room. Has a rich finale, resembles a red wine. Chunky finish. 26 years. Rocoules (tank) ***** this is Big. Wax, varnish, nut airs. Good release of firm white fruit, in a charged up wine that glows at the end, then finds finesse. Has a bold finish. 28 years. The Maison Blanche adds freshness to Rocoules, Rocoules is very solid on its own. L'Hermite ****(*) (tank) interesting complex nose – white pepper, hazelnut, fair freedom in it. Nice and fresh wine, its balance good. Shows light flan notes. Has sinew, nerve. 23 years. OVERALL ***** a very good and very typical Hermitage year, with the abundance of the hillside in the glass. It will live well, and once Jean-Louis has assembled it for his usual goal of elegance, it will be complex and entertaining, a serious wine indeed. Will be suited to fine cuisine, and is high class. Its heart will be formed around the solid beat of Rocoules, but L`Hermite and Péléat will float around like beguiling butterflies. 2036-40 Nov 2010

2008 ()

the bottled wine now landed in England at Yapp Brothers: lustrous pale yellow robe with a fine aspect about it. Has an oak-forward nose, which is fine, so toasted; there is low-key white fruit behind, a suggestion of lavender, light herbs, spice touches. The palate delivers fine fruit in a pebbly texture – this is not at all unctuous, and reflects therefore the weather of the vintage and the ripening cycle. The palate is oak-flecked, holds a dried fruits flavour, and there is a gradual emergence of flan towards the finish – a little gras. There is a spiced grip on the finish, the length is fresh, breezy, wax and flower influenced. This does not show overt gras, is a fine style of wine. From 2015. Patience will be rewarded. 14.5°. 2034-37 June 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ****(*) yellow robe; rich, candied nose – shows butter-spice airs, pear also very evident. The palate is also a rich, rather waxen ensemble, has a light late touch. It widens towards the finish, where it offers good clarity and a weave of sinew. This would be great with Asiatic foods, “Shanghai crab with light spice” (J-L Chave). I reckon it can improve as it ages. Esp from 2017 onwards, 2030-33 “It was very easy to assemble this – there were not a lot of competing directions: it was tight-knit, with good vivacity and a good texture, plenty of richness, but a good balance about it. The yield was very small – the lowest ever – 5 hectares gave 80 hl – we had rain at flowering, coulure (flowers not converting into fruit, mildew on the flowers). It should go down well with people who often find white Hermitage too overpowering. There is no heaviness in 2008 - the risk is often of that if you have a very, very ripe crop: it is a fine balancing act,” Jean-Louis Chave. Bottled Sept 2010. Nov 2010

2007 ()

full yellow robe. Has a smoky oak top air, peach, high white fruit airs, near damp wool. The nose is on the move between first and second stages, has a quince tang, an air of cooked pear also. The palate bears stylish gras richness and content with a smoky, hazelnut, near petrol element as it ends. This captures the fullness of the hill from within, so moves well, while an artful assemblage of the different climats has been performed. The Roussanne adds freshness in its final furlong. This is complex, intricate wine. It has a fine frame, is almost wiry. Very fresh, it will live very well and develop only gradually. Its length is very assured, and there is still oak on the exit. 14.5°. 2034-37  Nov 2015 Previously Dec 2009 ****(*) yellow traces in the robe. Soft, honeycomb, hazelnut and white peach aroma – a winner. Early grip on the palate, has a still firm structure, is rich within. There is glycerol in the texture, but the focus drops at the end for now. There is a lot of typical Marsanne bitter, cut at its centre. “You have to wait for this – 1997 was a bit like this, when the grapes ripened at the end of the season from concentration, which meant a lot of sucrosity in the wine. To have the glycerol, you have to have the alcohol. We picked into October in 2007. It has acidity, but it comes in glimpses.” From say 2014. 14.8°. 2029-32 Dec 2009


has a fine, quite full yellow robe. There is still some oak on the first bouquet, with a flan-apricot interior, nougat, hazelnut, dried fruits – classic Marsanne – and a wee note of quince. The palate strides out on a wholesome platform of open gras richness and stylish content: reach for the fish in sauce, the Vieille France cuisine. It is savoury, round, elegantly full, will please drinkers, being open and enjoyable. An appealing light saline clarity comes along as it ends. It is more southern and sultry than the 2007. 14.5°. 2033-35  Nov 2015 Previously May 2009 ***** steady yellow robe; gentle layer of caramel, white fruit, pear baked fruit tart – the bouquet is very youthful, very primary, subtle and Marsanne-forward. The palate is rich and sealed-up, with interesting acidity, good thrust. Has lovely late width – shows its class there – this is very long. It can be drunk now for fun (expensive fun) and zap, or from 2014-15. A beauty, just moving along since last tasted. 2034-36 May 2009, London Previously Dec 2008 ****(*) nutted, forward, rather pretty debut on the nose – there is coconut, honey, dried pear, baked fruits here, too. The palate runs cautiously, is discreet, whereas after 4 months in bottle I expect more frisky fruit here. The palate is wide, though, and its content firmly set. This persistence shows it will be a slow gain vintage. It will live well. From 2014-15. Bottled August 2008. “The assemblage wasn't easy this year – one direction was to alleviate the big elements in it, and keep its freshness forward; I find it a bit like the 1991 white – it is beefy but well constructed, and elegant within its power,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2033-35 Dec 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***** different elements set to be assembled in spring 2008: Péléat, mostly 1920s Marsanne (tank) ****(*) light pepper, tight dried fruits aroma, discreet hazelnut; a little exotic taste, coconut, with good length and a very fine nature, that fineness is its hallmark. Nice heart, good late grip. Rocoules (tank) ****(*) reserved, but sideways elegance on the nose; pretty, tight-knit wine with some alcohol here, the length sustained by its power. Well-wrapped, buttery towards the finish. “This is less mineral than Péléat,” J-L.Chave. L’Hermite ***** (tank) buttery, floating nose; interesting wine, good variety of gras and sinew. Good, clear and peppery finish. Stylish, very complete, interesting wine, the most com-lex of the three so far, the most nuances. Maison Blanche (3 year oak) **** there is sinew in the aroma, a tightness in with some butter; tight but elegant grip on the attack, pursues a regular route, does a steady job, is not a star, but is a steady contributor. A bout of late freshness comes through, not a flashy wine. “Maison Blanche is the link wine for the other white climats, and would be the base of our négociant wine called Blanche,” J-L.C. OVERALL a wine that leans towards finesse with a good, unctuous character, good length and sound stuffing, one that may well amplify as it ages. 20-23 year wine, capable of great charm around 2014-16. About a ***** affair. Previously June 2007 (cask of Rocoules) fragrant, nutty nose. Rich-toned palate with good grip. Dec 2006 “We had a very healthy crop”, Gérard Chave


level yellow robe. The nose is restricted, below the parapet. It gives a sense of power within, but is not expressing fruit – is more on the waxen, tight, perhaps hazelnut-almond run. Calissons d`Aix (from Aix-en-Provence, where I used to live) spring to mind, with their marzipan. As it airs, the bouquet shows a lot of breadth, a good augur for the future. The palate has a chunky, solid start – this is a punching wine with its deep-seated content flecked with some mineral. It is very unformed today. This is a vintage that works around power rather than finesse – it is a touch obvious, its length is good, and it needs rich foods. 2028-31 April 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****(*) waxen aroma, with white fruits, the bouquet is discreet and tight with a mix of white pepper and butter lurking within. The palate gains weight of expression as it goes, is nutty above all, is dense but not heavy. A structured wine, that is firmly sided and manly. From around 2012. “I find this quite powerful, tannic and tight,” J-L.C. 2029-31 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 (casks) ***** a lot of texture across the various plots, smooth and rolling, with a good couch of matter and a good heart from the Rocoules. Aromas reflect hazelnuts, honey, flowers, have some latent power. Acidity levels are good. In the vein of 2003, but 2003 is maybe a bit richer. Delightful elegance from the Marsanne and Roussanne on L’Hermite. Can live until around 2029-32, for instance. Due for bottling July 2007. Tasted Dec 2006


pale yellow robe. There is subdued, reserved, but latent harmony in the nose, a definite sense of poise and balance: Out comes a little dart of white fruit, along with high tone, notable wax, and butter. The palate – oh yes, what a gourmand do. It has a really good roll of delicious flavour, and is both alert and polished at the same time. There is a sprinkle of hazelnut at the end. Good acidity, great balance, and this is Grand Vin in the making, one that is deftly delivered – great blending by the Chaves. Fabulous richness with its consequent seductive caress here. Veal sweetbreads very good with this. 2033-36 April 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***** supple, white fruits aroma with lots of charm; has a little mineral subtext. White fruits, spice and good grip on the palate; this winks at the drinker and runs along elegantly, with a becoming reserve. The length is very good – there is a lot of stylish wine here that is complex and full of nuance. Wide, classy and balanced, and carries the deftness of touch until late on, where there is a very clear finale. A contrast to the powerful 2005. Hazelnut comes through at this young stage. I can envisage this rising to near 6 star status as it ages and unfurls. 2028-32 “A particularly good year,” J-L.C. Nov 2007 Previously Oct 2007 ***** orange peel, honey with depth to it, and butter in a very profound, lurking bouquet. The palate is immediately broad and engaging. Has a rich core, some hearty alcohol, and is wide and sustained. A lot of aftertaste, is nutty and ripe there, with raisin and flan, a sort of Sultana fest. This is followed by typical late Marsanne bitterness that is perfectly correct: yes, it is very long. This is a big wine, with a red wine structure, most evident with its big and chewy finale. Has good nerve and lots of body, and will clearly live on. Drinks OK now, on a lot of power, but really it should be cellared until 2011-12. 14.5° on the label. 2032-35 October 2007 Previously (casks) ****(*) Rocoules (cask) - rich aroma, very good structure on palate rich and tight. Péléat (cask) - a tangy aroma, dried fruits with a mineral and very long finish. L'Hermite (cask) - white flowers aroma, fine and persistent, harmonious, spiced palate, my preferred contributor. Maison Blanche (vat) - flan, weighted aroma, with zip and direct, peach/nut pairing on palate, some tannin. All tried Dec 2005, yields of 35 hl/ha this year, and the promise of a poised, well-filled wine of good balance and life of over 20 years.

2003 ()

a sound yellow colour here; the nose is withdrawn – there is apricot with high tone, a bit of candy or bonbon, and an underlay of honeycomb – and a certain finesse is purveyed. The palate is nutty in taste, and really persistent, with a good lining of what is close to being tannin, and acidity on its sides. A wine of grip, and a thorough hazelnut imprint – it is beefy, with a wee bit of heat, burn and smoke evident. All this is consistent with its last tasting 16 months ago. Ends in a chunky, grippy way, a no hiding place wine that bears some sherry, dried white raisin notes late on. It isn`t really expressing itself today. This would be ACE with one of Gérard`s young goat dishes. Yum yum. Esp from 2010-11, more the latter. 2030-35 April 2008 Previously Dec 2006 ***** a bundle of mixed aromas in a full, but refined bouquet – white fruits, flowers, a buttery backdrop. There is also a smoky, nutty nature to it. The palate grows in weight as it goes, reveals white fruits, white plums. Is very sustained, but has an air side also. Exposure to air unmasks some alcohol, brings on traces of end heat. Length is good, has a pebbly, pear-tinged finish.. From 2010 for more exuberance. 2033-40 “I How long will this live? I will not be here, I suspect. I would like a ris de veau or sweetbreads with this, it suits rich foods,” Gérard Chave Dec 2006 Previously Dec 2005 **** well-fashioned nose, very bonny, butter mixed with mineral and a light lacing of apricot. Good core to the palate, elegant and attractive. Taste is butter, some greengage fruit, flan. Has not really got its length together yet, and there is some alcohol revealed on the finish, with a heated moment there. Is 16 degrees plus. Has a lighter touch than the Chapoutier range this year. Esp 2009 on. 2022-25. 7,000 b only this year. Dec 2005. Previously (casks) Big, complex wine, powerful content, eg from Rocoules at 15-16?. Set to receive more oak this year, notably the L´Hermite/Maison Blanche/Péléat portions. Plenty of richness on show. Likely to run for at least twenty years.


a bright, lustrous yellow. The bouquet is rather on its oak, although it is redeemed by hazelnut, fresh apricot and some mineral snap: it is very primary now. After 30 minutes, a little evolution peeps through. The palate has a mild, almost fresh out of the cask taste, then tightens and dives down towards the finish, which is not yet broad. Has a really fresh finale, and a pebbly, slightly bitter Marsanne nature at the end. 2023-26 April 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****(*) a magnum in London: confirmed yellow robe; has a round, nicely rich aroma, with a hazelnut, flan, apricot nature with butter and honey – quintessential Marsanne. This is gracious, and exhales its richness. Squeezy, rich start to the palate, a real caress – is round and plump, open and very much here and now. The length is good, and its fat appeal comes through really well. Has plenty of fibre beside the fat and the finesse. There is a good lining of acidity, and a mix of flan and pear towards the end. At a sweet moment now, with a closing-up on the cards, perhaps around 2010. 2024-26 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 **** salty, tangy nose of dried white fruits and flowers, still very primary, and not pursuing a defined path. Gentle, refined texture, a wine that runs on very well with a smooth flow. Some honey, butter in the flavour. Softly textured now, with a nutty end. Can vary and become more nuanced around 2012 or so. The finish is clear-cut. 2022-24 “The 2002 whites had more lively musts than the 2003s; I would eat chicken without a cream sauce with this, nothing too rich,” Gérard Chave Dec 2006 Previously Dec 2005 **** soft and refined bouquet, offering melted butter with a tweak of apricot, and spice. Very soft, creamy and sensuous flavour of flan and vanilla. Pretty, stylish wine, length is correct. Served blind chez Chave - this seems like a 2002 in its open manner. Tender wine, it goes well with Spanish Jamon de Jabugo Pata Negra - the raw ham softens and lengthens it, and brings some fennel and grip on the finish. From 2010 for its second phase. To 2022-25. Dec 2005. Previously **** melted butter aroma, light spice topping. Fair style, a dried apricot/almond mix is well-sustained, elegant. Perists well, opens with air, orange marmalade end. Will show its worth and broaden over time. En finesse. 2021-26


the yellow robe is darkening. This has a honeyed, young bouquet, liquid honey in the aroma – it is savoury and lightly nutty, with a wee Riesling hint, a touch of beeswax. The palate has a spiced, nutty make-up, a flavour of tangerine, then a note of ginger towards the finish, where it grips well, almost tenaciously. It has stealthy length. It is detailed, not broad brush wine – an accumulation of details, small points, precise contributors. The aftertaste is salty, on the up. Beau, long, subtle wine. “The spice gives the freshness,” Jean-Louis Chave. It has freshened and gained potential longevity since last tasted six years ago. 2038-41  Jan 2015  Previously April 2008 **** yellow core to the robe – there is some advance or lightening at the top, but it is full enough at its core. Has a loose, “cool” aroma which reveals wee damp wool airs with peach and apricot, and a springy hazelnut note along with mild honey: it is not very exuberant, but it is wide and offers potential. Likewise, the palate is restrained, with a nutty flavour foremost, some dried fruits in it. This is more a sinew than a fat year, but there are layers of complexity in this: the palate is upright and gives the sense of loose elements in circulation, rather than anything more knit. Leave it until 2009 summer onwards to allow it to meld for its mature stage. 2023-26 April 2008 Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) just moving to a second phase on the nose it is scented, with a caramel tone, a full aroma but suave, too. Notes of honey, citrus fruits, dried apricots and spice. A little melon and banana on the palate, is still an upright, structured wine, that gives out a wee sense of late chewiness, some late hazelnut on a clear finish. There are lots of different flavours and some mystery in it. Good wine, with the structure to live; is not a full-on year, unlike the 2003 and 2005, but has lots of class. 2023-27 “This is beginning to become interesting,” Gérard Chave Dec 2006 Previously ***** elegant, fine bouquet - flan, white fruit, spice/apricot. Good balance here -spice/toasted aspect on palate, restrained middle richness. Has a red wine structure, with a tight, near tannic end. Lot of life ahead, not a tearaway. More from 2009. 2023-27


greengage/mint/aniseed and wax aromas, not so usual. Mix of orange/almond in middle, some burnt fringes - that bitter side of the Marsanne. Stone fruit style now, expect wax-honey, more variety later. 2010 on. 2022-25


mild, stable yellow colour; has a soft, hazelnut aroma that has a feather touch in it, with good late grip and purpose. There is salty Roussanne evident, as well. The palate works on a weave of rather punchy “fruits” – it is at an in-between stage at 9 years` old. It mixes acidity on top and richness underneath, and holds up well, persists. There is some late power, but the richness on the finish is refined. It is holding back now, but there is a lingering intensity. The taste is formed around hazelnut, with the Marsanne at its heart. It is sweeter and more pliant than the 2001. 2024-27 April 2008 Previously ****(*) meaty, broad, quite brewed bouquet - citrus/greengage, has moved from early floral. Honey/vanilla on palate, plenty of fat, bonbon, butterscotch. Slow-burn, if drunk young, decant it. 2019-23


full yellow colour, a rich aspect. There is a swirl of white plum, honey, nuts such as cashew, aniseed and orange peel on the nose, which goes on a deep trail, is a great bundle. The palate has a tight, 1998-like debut, with orange and citrus touches, also apricot. The gras is firm, and it has compact content, inner strength. It flourishes freshly on the finish, is very long, grips still, is young and silky. “It’s been a difficult wine, always firm,” Jean-Louis Chave. 2030-33 Oct 2016 Previously Apr 2008 ****(*) there is some cork taint in this bottle. The colour is a pretty mid-yellow. The cork on the nose is “soft”, and obstructs some mildly scented apricot, with wisps of honey floating in the air. Despite the cork, the palate is rich, and the wine is broad and nicely complete. It holds a good line of acidity with rich matter present – an ideal combination. There is a little late heat, but the whole affair is round. A wine that prolongs well, a mix of the rich and the fine. If no cork, this would be ****(*) and I would suggest life until 2022-25 April 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****(*) the bouquet is on the move, is wide and persistent, with quince and cooked fruits, wax and some pear and banana flambé: is at an interesting stage, just on the turn. More hazelnut emerges with air. Holds a scented, aromatic white fruits flavour, is very beau. Starts quite firmly, then softens and becomes discreet. Good grip here, has a sultry flavour, and is getting wholesome as it ages. 2022-25 Nov 2007 Previously **** apricot/white fruit, oily bouquet, less upright/tight than previously. Firm, good matter, poised to unfurl. Good frame, refined richness, has hidden power. Full, good length. 2014-19

1997 ()

yellow, light butter coloured robe; there is evolution on the nose, which is marked by damp wool and also reveals some possible oak residue via a vanilla aroma. There is some grip and cut in this bouquet. The palate is coated with a honey and almond flavour that has a gentle drop of finesse. There is a marked Marsanne presence in the flavour, but Roussanne in the construction, rendering it fine-boned. This still has cards up its sleeve, has a smooth outer and a robust inner. It is more delicate than the 1998. The length is pretty and rounded, and the wine bears a graceful touch at the finish. It works well via its texture. Savoury Chinese food good with this. 2020-23 April 2008 Previously March 2004 **** sappy, generous melted butter and pineapple, some dry cheese bouquet. Buttery start, then a touch of the bitter; orange peel/greengage fruit. Still has mineral and sinew within, good. Dried fruits end. Has absorbed its oak. Fermented for a very long time. Can tick over for many years. 2017-23 March 2004 Previously **** crème brulée aroma, cooked pear, honey; unctuous, fat wine, maybe a touch less gras than 2000. Lot of glycerol - this is plenty wine, some oak traces. Real length, driven by its power. 2017-22


gentle white fruit/apricot/quince aroma with mint, light butter. Restrained, even at seven years. Nice acidity, more live than most years, good length and warm, clear finish, with some heat. Very stylish, elegant. More open, more fat 2008 on. 2014-17


tangy white fruits such as quince, also honey and some mystery, hidden areas on the bouquet. The air brings out the hazelnuts. Beguiling, soft richness on the palate`s start, with good grip and structure late on. Very refined freshness late on, leading to a nutty, lingering aftertaste. There is a seemingly red fruit, wild strawberry-violet touch on the palate, with glints of minerality later on. STGT wine. From now on it will be varied and will be expressive, right out of itself. 2019-24 “It has achieved aromatic complexity, and the glycerol has softened in favour of the minerality,” Gérard Chave Dec 2006 Previously ***** nicely oily peach/spiced honey bouquet, very sappy, ripe. Wee touch of spice and verve in the white fruit, rounded with some almond on finish. Very good grip. Floral/honey at end, where is almost tannic, plenty of chewiness. 2020-23

1994 ()

yellow in the robe; attractive, rounding bouquet that shows mango jelly, light honeycomb, dried fruits, comes and goes. Fine grain palate, has flan in the flavour, is delicate, aromatic, fine, very bonny. Still contains the nerve of the vintage. I like its grip and tender acidity. “It is drinking very well now; sweetbreads, ris de veau with this,” J-L Chave. I would like texture dishes – mushrooms, butter involved, veal. 2020-22 June 2011 Previously **** prominent, well directed white fruit aroma, some fat. Mid-weight, good frame around it. Broad, quite seductive mid-palate. 2010-15 The Chaves also amused themselves in 1994 with a pure Roussanne from their vines on L'Hermite. This stayed in cask for 2-3 years, and contained some residual sugar: ** honey, a little fungal in the undertone. Nice burst of flavour early on, then it shortens up a little. Flavour contains cheese elements. Gains on the palate, and can run on over time. Scented lime/greengage flavour in the fruit. Good with truffles and autumn foods. To 2013-17. "It was a lovely wine, then it re-fermented in the bottle," Jean-Louis Chave.


has a great colour for a dodgy vintage that is 15 years' old, rather a nutty Mosel – the yellow is harmonious. The bouquet is formed around a classic Marsanne hazelnut aroma and it is young, too – with some Riesling petrol scent here. It is what I term a sofa cushion of a nose – sink in and enjoy the butter trimmed with lime and beeswax – a very pretty mix of maturity and life. The palate is led by hazelnut in the flavour, with the acidity of the vintage hard on its heels, so it tightens and draws to a rather sudden close. There is an almond aftertaste and a discreet, salty persistence on the finish. 2016-18 April 2008 Previously **** slight yellow robe; gentle aroma, an earthy evolution, buttery aspects. Palate widens nicely, has a very light toasted almond finish. Tasty, nice discretion with a suave fullness. Very good length, not at all flashy. 2009/13 Previously * bit of straw, greengage bouquet; medium-bodied, some white fruit extract, rather fragile ending. Nice, quiet flavour, with a degree of ripe fruit. 2006-2011


gold colour. Has quince and vanilla, a paste of quince (pate de coing) and apricot featuring in the bouquet. The palate spreads and shows supple gras richness, a confirmed glycerol. I note the freshness on the finish, is very exact there, nothing straggling. It retains plenty of core richness. The flavour veers towards the tropical – guava-style fruit – but the finish comes up with mineral. There are dabs of honey in it, as well. Fascinating wine that immediately turns your mind to the question “what am I going to enjoy eating with this?”. The list is extensive -  lobster, truffled ris de veau (shortbreads), chicken aux morilles mushrooms. There are vin de paille instincts in this wine. To 2028-32 is probably optimistic – it is really going well now, though. Impressive. Nov 2012  Previously April 2008 ****(*) gold-yellow, mature robe; the top note on the bouquet just after opening seems to be led by the Roussanne and its salty, tangy air. Underneath lurks some classic mature white northern Rhône damp wool aroma. The bouquet is broad, and there is also orange zest and marmalade in it. The air brings a bit more honey, with pear traces on the nose. The palate still darts out, its nerve and acidity apparent down its spine. The texture is gourmand, smooth, especially towards the finish. This clearly comes from a more acidic year, rather than the sun-butter school. Ends as clear as a bell, its length is consistent, the flavour is direct all through. Air coaxes out more richness on the palate. The next question is what to eat with it – maybe our old friend foie gras, or a good funghi dish, wild mushrooms. A wine of character. 2019-21 April 2008 Previously **** Drink to 2010-16

1991 ()

fragrant, floating aroma, lime with a tiny sherry touch, but is fresh, with a cool imprint. Refined harmony on palate, has a complex set of flavours - some plum, apricot near the stone, a lot of elegant white fruit, understated style to it. Nutty, very long finish that is clean. Silken roundness to the wine, has started a petrol-style phase. To 2017-19. June 2006 Previously **** To 2007-13


the colour has become a pronounced yellow. Has a very ample, harmonious nose that is broad, with very nice limits – it suggests a confident harmony. It is somewhat tangy, and complex – there appears to be brine, lime, hazelnut and honey – and fills the glass. The palate sets off with a fresh, dried fruits flavour that carries a prolonged tang late on, and hazelnut comes into the equation before a good, decisive end. It retains its richness all through, persists and delivers well. It is a 2005 with more refinement - a big vintage with fine delivery. 2025-28 April 2008 Previously ****** Dec 2005 chez Chave a bottle with a little cork was tasted: yellow, gold tints on robe. Rounded, mature aroma, firm, dry cheese like Comte, apricot and some cork. The palate shape is broad, round, and this is generously fat wine. Ends a little short - the cork effect - the flavour within is apricot and butterscotch. Dec 2005 Previously ****** some yellow on robe; very round, full bouquet - butter, honey - rich, even robust. Lovely, delicious fullness on palate, with good end grip. Fine mix of flesh and fresh. Long life ahead, is very persistent. 2017-22


the yellow colour is full, not yet golden. Honey, brioche baked bread, dried fruits – a thorough and well-sustained bouquet, has a comfortable caramel air, salt and lavender with it. The palate has a tight, nearly muscular start, which is broad – there is a lot of wine here. This is a tight fit wine, even with decanting, it retains its solid structure. The ending is firm, complex, shows vanilla and dried fruits. A real stayer of a white Hermitage, with the liaison between red wine and white wine closer than usual. Up to big flavours, robust foods. Guinea fowl in raisins comes to mind, wild mushroom risottos, veal chop in rosemary, cheeses also. 2025-28  March 2011  Previously April 2008 **** cork present in the bouquet. The colour is yellow, with some heart to it. Quite refined hazelnut in the aroma. There is fair richness on the early palate, and then it swiftly tightens up before halfway. The length is OK – this has a red wine structure in its frame and manner. The aftertaste is peppery. Of course, there is cork – these are features that lie beyond it. 2024-26 Maybe 4 stars on this showing, but room for more. April 2008 Previously Nov 2005 ***** bright yellow robe; Toasted, notably nutty nose that is very young at 16 years, has a little dried fruit in the background. Greatly woven texture on the palate, shows the smoothest of harmony with a quiet kick. Elegant, with a tannic outbreak towards the finish. Is showing beautifully, all wrapped in silky abundance. Has plenty of living still to do, tight as a drum, beautiful length. The Marsanne is elegant, folks! 2019-22 Nov 2005 Previously **** mid colour, some depth, glycerine evident. Subdued aroma, some ripe white fruit. Restrained palate, in its shell now. Some final heat; curious mix of potential richness on bouquet, dumbness on palate. Much more around 2001. 2011-15

1988 ()

yellow, largely unchanged robe; has a woven, grippy nose, and a little of the damp wool as it ages. There is some pear and hazelnut, and latent power along with the finesse here. The palate starts with a veritable clamp, and the feel of sinew – there are white stone fruits threaded with acidity. The finish is tangy, fresh and good. Live and interesting wine that is not sully cohesive late on. The palate has a buzzy nature, darts around and culminates in a mix of life and power. 2022-24 April 2008 Previously Dec 2005 **** A bottle tasted chez Chave in Dec 2005 was not right: bouquet is direct - varnish, mentholet, peach aromas. Rather austere, stern palate, finish is bitter. Previously March 2005 **** damp touches on bouquet, aroma floats well, tangy dried fruits, trace of nut. Gently broadens with air, and damp wool effect calls Viognier to mind. Wholesome, refined palate, relay good length. Great finesse. Light spice in the flan flavour. Complex, well-balanced. A mineral wine of sinew, not one of flesh. Not evolving in the way I anticipated. The hazelnut effect of the Marsanne is prominent. Previously April 2002 **** marked yellow; dumb, honey/fungal bouquet, quiet presence. Interesting flavour - still tight structure after 14 years. Chewy finish, has ways to go. Drier texture than usual - reflects the year. 2009-12. Previously September 2000 ****** started out firm, needing time. By 2000, the nose was apricot, light honey, damp linen with air. Such class on palate, pure silk, wonderfully smooth. Touches of apricot, crème brulée, good length. This wine is like good theatre. At 20.00 you go in, worried and tired. At 22.00 you leave stimulated and fulfilled. Grand Vin. 2012-16. September 2000


3 bottles, 1st bottle corked. 2nd bottle, more advanced than 3rd bottle: rather rich colour, shades of pale gold. This has a stonking great bouquet - a lovely richness surges out, a deep background to it. Some dampness of age apparent, and the fruit resembles greengage plum. This is opulent, rather musky. The palate is more retrained than the nose, holds itself together quite tightly. There is a little mineral on the finish, and it is a wine that is better with food, obviously. It is moving along. 3rd bottle: sound colour, straw, paler than bottle 2. The bouquet has lighter touches than bottle 2, and is well held together. The palate is solid, has good structure, but also runs with some freedom. Good length, balanced finish. Obvious bottle variation for this wine, so caveat emptor. The best can live until 2007 or so.  March 1994

1985 ()

shiny yellow robe. Has a saline, up in the air nose with white plum, quince, aniseed; it is very jaunty. There is also citrus in fine, floating, airborne breezes. The palate is more tight than the nose. Hazelnut comes in big expression with red wine depth and close-knit content. This has striking length, grip – it is knuckled and still remarkably young; it also houses the balance of the vintage. 2030-33 Nov 2016 Previously April 2008 ****** the yellow is little changed or advanced. The nose is savoury – expresses butter, lime and hazelnut of great finesse and class. It holds a top note of clarity that is striking for its age. This sings a beautiful song – there is such class in this very varied bouquet, it is grand. The palate is The Business. It delivers a loose-limbed, stone fruit-hazelnut flavour of supreme clarity. It persists exceptionally well, with never a maladroit moment. It is fresh and so bonny within, and is good and balanced that it can be drunk on its own, or with fantastic fresh fish such as turbot. Long, fab, really beautiful, with lovely late grip. I drank a case of this in Deauville with my friends in 1990 for my birthday, before lurching off to the casino – never felt a thing, wonderful wine for great memories. 2023-26 April 2008 Previously ****** gold, wholesome colour. Bouquet stabilises with air, shakes off sherry and moves to apricot, strong garden fruit aromas, and raisin. Extraordinary richness on palate. Massive wine, apricot style flavour runs along, then final acidity to sustain it. Could tick along till 2015. Excellent with beef and spice, rice dish in Singapore. Sublime richness, from another era. 2013-17


has a yellow, barely changed robe. The nose combines flowers and game – wow, what a rare combo: it is very ensemble and confident, not loose at all. There is lime and salt, and great variety – this is very broad for a lesser vintage. The palate swings out with a citrus tang in the flavour thanks to its acidity. An upright, fine-boned wine that is as clear as anything on the finish – this has character. Most interesting mix of fresh, underripe Marsanne and Roussanne together. It keeps going, and is termed La France Profonde by some at the tasting. Lobster with turnips a great dish for this. It is not oxidised at all, thus a true affidavit of the glycerol powers of Rhône whites, for so long sneered at by the fashionistas. STGT wine, from days of such low intervention. 2016-18 April 2008 Previously Oct 1986 ***(*) good sound deep yellow, early straw traces. The nose offers a faint air of acacia, flowers with a note of alcohol coming through. The palate is very softened, doesn’t bear much acidity, but motors along with some latent power present. Served blind by Gérard, I thought it was a 1982, so it is drinking well already. 13°. Raised part 3-year casks, part vat as usual. 2006-09  Oct 1986

1982 ()

dark, rather golden robe already. The bouquet has an oily, toasted, honeyed air. The palate is not yet really defined, seems to be in a transitional phase now. The length is sound, there is some gras, but there is a possible lack of acidity in this. Its ripeness may pull it along, though. 2002-05  March 1984,  The Garrick Club, London

1981 ()

pale straw colour. The bouquet bears big, fat aromas, an air of apricot fruit, a gentle note of hazelnut behind. This attacks well on the palate, is full and with enjoyable nutty flavours, and a bitter tang from the Marsanne to back that up. This good, and is lively just now. Can age well. 2006-09  March 1984,  The Garrick Club, London


very pale gold robe, yellow tints in it. The nose is bright, lively, with lurking aromas of dried fruits, hazelnut, perhaps a gentle floral note. The palate bears nutty flavours, typical of Hermitage. This is interesting wne, the flavour very genuine, the wine true to its place. Very good balance. This will live well and please with refined dishes – can go with poultry, turbot, the top class fish. 2003-06  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London


firm yellow robe, not yet gold, though. The bouquet is starting to emerge, has a middling depth with roast nuts, dried fruits. As it airs, it really starts to come right out, soft white fruits there. There is lovely balance on a very elegant palate; it is a touch short, but is fine. I take that back: after 30 minutes open, there is very good richness on the finish. 1997-2000 26 Jan 1985 Previously March 1984 ***(*) gold robe, some lemon tints in the colour. The nose is very pungent, evolved from a grass roots depth, intensity – it is rather strident, cheesy also. The palate has very early traces of old wine, with a little dryness. This stands between middle age and old age now, has marched on already from a light vintage. It may settle and re-find some inner backing, is right on the evolution trail now. 1995-1998  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London

1976 ()

gold robe, gold already. Airs of apricot, a touch of vanilla feature on the nose. The palate offers very delicate peach-inspired flavours. Despite some high summer heat, this is a wine of great finesse, very good balance, and lovely final acidity. 2000-2004  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London

1971 ()

straw-gold colour. There is some initial dryness on the palate, a very slight flavour of hazelnut. There is some late Marsanne tang-bitterness. I would return to this around mid-1986 to mid-1987. It is just a little shaky. 1995-1998  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London


good, bright, bonny robe of pale gold, straw. There is almost some petrol in the nose, which has real depth, and is easing quietly along. It promises to give greater complexity over time. There is real quality and finesse about the bouquet, yes indeed. The palate is still very well knit, after nearly 30 years. There is excellent grip, good underlying fruit with almost a citrus feel to it. It floats along, especially in the early stages of the palate, though there is a quiet residual power at the end coming out to support it. It is even firm on the finish. This will live on, towards maybe 2009-14. Storming, noble wine, very true to its warm origins.  March 1994  Previously March 1984 ***** gold colour, some yellow present. The nose is very attractive, features some lime fruit. The palate has a citrus early flavour – this is young, motoring along well, is good and lively, really good for its age, and its gras is stylish. Very good indeed. Ideal with Vieille France cuisine – sweetbreads, turbot in Champagne sauce, pork cuts. 2001-2005  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London

1952 ()

damp, citrus effects on the bouquet, along with an inherent hazelnut feature from the Marsanne; this is showing some age. The palate is chewy at first, big in dimension still, and its richness prevails over any drifts towards the dryness of time or old age. Elegant wine, still has a lot of merit, is showing very well indeed. The length sustains well, with a most appealing southern glow as it ends. Can tick over well. 1997-2002  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London


extraordinary depth of colour, a pronounced, dark gold, apricot almost. The nose is supremely rich – shows some caramel, honey with dried fruit airs behind, a vague hint of flowers. The bouquet holds its richness really well, almost gains even as it breathes. The palate picks up the dried fruits theme, gives a little edging of nuttiness. The richness is superb, remarkable, the balance lovely – this just goes on and on. The hazelnut, nuts theme emerges more with time open. Very successfully driunk with asparagus. Served blind by Gérard Chave: I think it has come from a hot summer, is a corpulent wine – 1921, perhaps? It turns out to be a 1929 made by his grandfather, and is wax sealed “to stop the insects getting into the cork.” Still so full of life, and benefits from not having to travel at this time of life. Talking longevity, the alternative would be to have cellared it in a castle in Scotland for the past 30 years. 2004-2009  May 1986, chez Chave, Mauves  Previously March 1984 ****** deep gold robe; the nose shows burnt aromas, resembles Amontillado sherry. On the palate there is still a good balance, a note of dampness – not surprising at the age of 55 years! This is beautifully elegant, bears lovely finesse. What a beau vin, a real beauty, utterly memorable, grandiose. Perhaps the best old Rhône white I have so far been lucky enough to encounter – it surpasses the 1961 Hermitage Chapoutier blanc. 1996-2001, but I bet it can quietly keep going for longer.  March 1984, The Garrick Club, London