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The Wines

60-70% Grenache (oldest 1930s), 15-20% Mourvèdre, 10-15% Syrah, 5% Muscardin (av age for these 52 years), from La Gardine (N-W), plus Combes Masques (N-W), Grand Devès (N-W), crop cooled pre-fermentation, 3 week vinification, pumping overs, Mourvèdre cap punched, aged 33-70% 2-7 year 228-litre oak casks, 30-67% concrete vat 12-16 months, unfined, filtered, 130-170,000 b

2018

(casks/vat) dark red; the bouquet has a chunky, full nature, carries lines of black fruits, depth of blackcurrant fruit, prune, licorice, oak. It’s a solid start. The palate rocks along well with bounding matter, liberal delivery of that, black fruits in the driving seat. It reaches out well, is sustained into the aftertaste. The tannins are nicely ripe and clear, too. There is oak running through it, so it must be left until 2023. 2043-45 Oct 2019

2015 ()

(cask/vat) shiny, full red robe. The nose has a discreetly ample setting of blackberry fruit, with some black olives, prune present also. It’s broad, well set. The palate scampers along with a bonny wave of black stone fruits that have a light floral adornment. The balance is good, and I find this a nourishing wine; serve in a large glass, give it a good swirl. The shape is rounded, the content lissom and full, the finish long and nicely fresh. Lovely wine. 14°. From late 2018. 2029-31 Oct 2016 

2013 ()

(cask/vat) deep, bright purple-black colour, legs on the side of the glass. The nose is restrained, but gives the impression of depth and intensity in the glass, has a dark fruit and licorice nuance. There is a lovely volume of fruit on the attack, followed by a touch of vanilla oak. The tannins are firm and long. Its oak needs to subside, but the volume and ripeness of the fruit suggests this will not be a problem. Modern but within bounds. Harvested 7 September-10 October, 65% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv, 5% Muscardin, 67% vat raised, 130,000 b this year. 14.5°. From 2017. 2028-30 JL Oct 2014

 

2012

(cask/vat) sleek, shiny full and dark robe; the fruit aroma has “sheen”, a glistening appeal – its black cherry and blueberry lie low, but there is the definite promise of a stylish evolution and variety to come. Oak features, also a bonny salty touch. This is indeed stylish, the palate connecting closely to the bouquet’s sleek fruit, with a gentle pick-up of tannin and some oak. Extreme and consistent harmony here, is a very well balanced wine whose shapely fruit travels a long way. This very good pedigree fruit elevates it to 5 star wine. There is a fine assembly of its several precise parts, flowing fruit, excellent tannins. Leave it until mid-2016 so the oak can absorb. 14.5°. 30% vat, 65% Gren, 15% Syr, 15% Mourv, 5% Muscardin this year. 160,000 b this year. 2028-29  Nov 2013

2011 ()

dark, shiny red. The bouquet glistens well, is inviting, comes with a fluid blackberry air, and a wee trace of vanilla. The palate sequels from the nose, delivers juicy blackberry, along with food, live tannin that provides late energy and life. There is plenty on offer, is a wine of sound heart. The finish is more complete and vigorous than several 2011s. Modern style Châteauneuf, juicy and wholesome. 14.5°. From mid-late 2014. 2026-28  Dec 2012

2010 ()

(casks/vat, bottling May 2012) dark robe; the nose is sealed up, is tight-knit but well packed – it is smoky, has rich fruit buried inside, a tang of licorice. The palate offers a blackberry flavour with a salty freedom of flow. It reaches out well, is unfettered. This is going to be good and supple, pleasing wine that will do well in the restaurant trade. The tannins are super ripe, the balance good. From mid-2013. 2026-28 Dec 2011

2009

(cask/vat) good red, purple robe; baked, broad nose – all together and compact, has reserves, shows baked, dry, earthy garrigue airs. The palate contains sparky fruit, has intense moments on the late stages, a build-up of heat and “darkness”. The tannins are ripe, but smouldering. There is a sense of alcohol spirit through this. The finale is a bit dry. From late 2012 to be ensemble. 2020-22 Oct 2010

2008

purple, dark red; a clear bouquet resides in the glass for now – has a smoke snap, blackcurrant and blackcurrant leaf, a slightly grilled undertone. The palate also has a grilled start – black fruits come with a fresh, pebbly tannin after half way. Not complex, but all cleanly done, even if a bit forced. It has length and tannin pull. Profit from its fruit around mid-2011 onwards. 2018-19 Dec 2009

2007 ()

nice full robe; sage, rosemary herbs aroma – red meat and coffee, a scented trail of tea, also licorice – this is varied. The palate runs mildly and softly, gains a firm hand late on. The length is good and fresh, helped by a line of tannin. This is a restrained 2007, one that is a bit quiet now – it is based on clarity and fine tannin. From late 2010. 14°. 2019-21 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 *** (vat/cask) dark, lustrous cherry colour; there is an overt air of black jam in the bouquet – blackberry and soaked cherries – and it comes with such a sweet air that it is almost like smelling blackberry jelly. The palate is very similar – it has sweet cassis fruit that comes with a simply presented juiciness. A primary wine, with the one taste for now. The length is OK – there is a murmur of late tannin. Easy going, early wine that is full of fruit. Burgundian Châteauneuf-du-Pape that is sympa, but a touch one-dimensional. 2016-19 Nov 2008

2006 ()

dark red, good robe. This offers a jolly, blackberry, deep and sweetly done aroma with earthy surrounds – this has good youth about it. The fruit is still fresh clear, well present. There is a tasty roll of prune and herbs, a coulis of blackberry, on the palate; it gathers in tannins, fruit and acidity very well on an interesting finish, which shows plenty of variety and vigour. Good length, the finale fresh and juicy. This is singing well, with fire still at its centre. 14°. 2022-24  Dec 2012 Previously Nov 2008 *** bright red; the nose is slumbering – mature raspberry, cherry, kirsch with a grainy, unfinished business overhang; it is quite wide, and holds up confidently. Red fruits abound in an open manner on the palate; it is agreeably tasty, and drinks fine now, though it can soften its tannins and its finish with another year or two. The fruit is well-poised, but for now leads into a snappy, drier texture and minor power in the final stages. Thus from 2010 spring. 2018-19 Nov 2008

2005

dark robe with some black at its centre. The bouquet expresses streamlined black fruits, a crackling black cherry air. The palate has a pretty rich base, but is now in thrall to the oak, so that the result is a dry texture from half way along the palate. It narrows down now, but has some scope and length. A wine that runs directly and crisply in the vintage style. There is a late licorice, black pepper moment. A touch mainstream, and will be worth leaving until 2013 or so if you want more local tone. From 2010. 2022-24 Nov 2007 Previously March 2007 *** (final assemblage, 1 month before bottling) fairly full robe; reserved bouquet with an elegant leaning – suggestion of fruit and herbs. Soft, safe start of rounded fruit, then lengthens OK, holds ripe fruit – isn’t especially punchy. Leave it to gain more fibre rather than with this overt fleshy character – so try from 2009-10 onwards. Baked stones, a little caramel at the end. Patience best for this. 2022-24 “The 2005s have progressed steadily with raising – that lasted 16 months this year - at first we thought they would need a lot longer since they hold so much content,” Patrick Brunel March 2007 Previously Nov 2006 *** dark, bright robe; nutted, oaked, modern bouquet, is full and needs leaving until 2009 to realise itself and to settle. Clean fruit in a big palate – there is a cherry flavour with oak strips in it. Rich enough core, has a cherry, nut aftertaste, not very local. Chewy, persistent finish. From 2010 for more sense of place and also oak integration. 2019-21 Nov 2006

2004 ()

quite a dark robe; nutty, black fruits aroma – rather mainstream, is low key and suggest that it’s from the southern zone of the appellation. Reserved palate, the fruit isn’t convincing. Clean but pedestrian – lacks strong character. Clean and made well enough, but I’d like more soul. Maybe more to this by late 2007. 2014-17 Oct 2006

2003 ()

red-plus colour; closed bouquet with lurking herbal tones, but it’s deep, with a chocolate edge. Time – maybe 3 years – will liberate it. Immediate, full hit on palate, comes in an upright shape but has nice length, and a licorice finale that suggest the presence of Mourvèdre. Palate has bite and is decisive. The flavour is of herb-tinted red fruits with a crisp end. 2019-21 May 2007, Moscow

1998

maturing but still quite full plum red colour; the bouquet has a scented, iris, violet air above its red stone fruits – it is reaching a steady, mature stage. The palate shows sinew, as if the southern sector is live and present. The tannins are a little live still, and there are leathery touches alongside the subdued red fruits. A wine at a broody moment, and more clear by mid-late 2009. Drunk on a rainy day, too. Decant this for the next 4-5 years. 2017-19 Nov 2008

1990 ()

1) (3 year 228-litre oak cask, 90% Gren, 10% Syr, 14°, cap punched, a recent development) very dark, almost impenetrable robe. The nose is sustained, deep, also shows some lively fruit below the mass, is rounded. The palate starts firmly, is robust, produces some late tannin. This comes in a pretty modern style – the Châteauneuf-du-Papeness of it is a bi hidden. There is a flavour of dark cherry. Its tannins aren’t strident, is a very solid wine. 2) (vat, 85% Gren, 15% various, 13.8°) dark red robe, black tints and streaks. This nose is more open, peppery, typical of Grenache, shows some heat. The palate is a shade more approachable than the cask wine, is also solid but carries more generosity, is warm and thorough to the end. This will go well with the cask wine. “The oak closes our wines a bit, and brings them a certain spine,” Patrick Brunel. This should live for 15+ years. July 1991

1989 ()

(vat, the final blend, has had 5-10% new oak exposure) dark, ripe colour, a lot of glycerol, looks very ripe, and is also ripe on the nose, rounded and thorough, lots of black fruits there. The palate is supple in its way, is very rich but sweet and notably rounded, has good depth, comes with late licorice chewiness, where the tannins declare themselves. The length is good. I wonder how long this will live – not as long as the 1990, maybe, 12 to 15 years maybe. Its tannins are quite well tucked into it. July 1991

1988

bottled one month ago: has a pretty solid, thorough colour. It has a good, quite peppery bouquet, which is a bit grainy, interesting, inside lies a discreet air of fruit, skins of plum fruit. The attack is solid, the tannin more expressive than in 1989. It’s a more rigid wine than 1989, is an interesting wine. It has the potential for complex development. It could have a great bouquet after five to seven years. For my personal taste, I prefer this to the 1989. 13.5°. Can live towards mid-2000s. July 1991