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The Wines

55-65% Grenache, 20-30% Mourvèdre, 10-15% Syrah, 5% Counoise/Muscardin/Vaccarese, destemmed, 2 light daily 15 minute pumping overs only, first winter in vat, from March aged 35-54 hl barrels 12 months, then 2 months in vat after assembly, unfined, unfiltered, 80-90,000 b

2016

(barrels) the various elements 1) (84% Gren (av age 40 years), 13.5% Mourv, 1.5% Syr, 1% Counoise, 35 hl large barrel) ****(*) bright red. Has a blackberry-loganberry aroma which is ripe, has a sweet heart. The palate is thickly endowed with black fruits that lean towards prune, before a fresh, salted dash towards the finish. This is over 16.5°. It ends on some succulence, has weight, but also a liberty. This is a solid base for the wine, is deep. “This will give the blend gras richness,” Vincent Avril. 25 years 2) (46% Syr, 38% Gren, 13% Mourv, 3% Counoise, 44 hl large barrel) ****(*) bright, dark red. Has a sweet mulberry-fruited nose, prune, spicing, cigar box; it has a liqueur style, detail. The palate is darkly fruited, sets off well, runs with fresh purpose. The tannins are gummy. It rolls well, carries bright fruit, has good length, poise. “This will give freshness,” Vincent Avril. 24 years. 3) (55% Gren, 38% Mourv, 7% Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Counoise, 51.5 hl large barrel) ***** shiny dark red colour. Has a solid, interesting nose, spice with geranium, floral airs, notably neat red fruit within, licorice. The attack is good and fresh, with dash and flair in the content, floral touches. This really rocks, goes truly to the finish, is fresh, very appealing. The aftertaste is good and salted. Very stylish, great balance. “This is my favourite, I love the Mourvèdre,” Vincent Avril. 29 years. 4) (50% Gren, 25% Syr, 25% Mourv, 44 HL large barrel) ***(*) dark red. Has a black berry fruited nose, which is husky from this large barrel, slight leather. There are cooked plums air, and it’s a bit dogged. The palate presents crunchy fruit, with dry tannins, black raisins. It is spiced, chunky wine, has less character than the others, and I am not sure how clean it is. The finish is compressed, and it has a toffee-style exit. “The Syrah dominates the Mourvèdre here,” Vincent Avril. 24 years 5) (the blend as it will be: 55% Gren, 30% Mourv, 10% Syr, 5% various, 50 hl large barrel ***** dark red colour. Has a spiced, ripely fruited nose, blackberry and blueberry together, pockets of mystery, scope, oiliness. The spice is provided by the Mourvèdre. The palate is unctuous, beau, holds very good inside mass, well packed and thorough. There are flecks of flowers, rose hip, sweet touches; it’s rich with spice and sustained length. There is good sève (sap) in this. It’s very long. “What pleases me is the profound nature – it is long and deep,” Vincent Avril. 32 years. From 2024. 2045-48  Oct 2017 GB £360 6 b i/b J&B https://www.justerinis.com/latest-offers/rhone-2016-en-primeur-1879 

2015 ()

red robe. Has a sweet, red berry fruited nose that is open, on the go, open as in open for now, before its close down. There is evident ripeness, airs of strawberry, flowers, spice. The palate moves along with squeezy content, prominent strawberry fruit, and floral, soft tannins and a late burst of clarity. It has a weave of tannin through it – it’s a straight down the line wine at heart, and its tannins leave a menthol effect. It’s interesting – it will evolve with bursts of opening and closing, going up and down. There is very bonny, perfumed juice within. Bottled April 2017. “The tannins are silken. The phenolics were very ripe, and it’s a good Mourvèdre vintage. It helped not to filter, only fine the eggs with egg white one year before bottling,” Vincent Avril. Drink now to mid-2018, then from 2024. 2039-42 Oct 2017 Previously Oct 2016 ***** (barrels) the various elements, then two different barrels of the assembled blend 1) (70% Syrah, 30% Gren, 41.8 hl oak barrel) **** dark red. The nose has a bustling air of black berry juice, prolonged depth, layered levels of fruit, a little touch of baking from the strength of the vintage. The palate is gourmand, juicy, holds stylish fruit with ripeness from the sun’s rays. There is plump richness, smoky tannins. It is persistent. The length fresh. 21 years 2) (70% Gren, 30% Mourvèdre, 54 hl oak barrel) ****(*) red robe. Has an animal, red meat, blood tone on the nose, which is leavened by floral and garrigue influences. The palate is broad and really well sustained, holds a couch of firm juice which ekes out of its casing, has good sinew, with finesse also. Interesting quality here, pure juice. It is salty late on. 24 years 3) (60% Gren from sandy soils, 35% Mourvèdre from clay soils, 5% Syrah, 25 hl oak barrel) ****(*) dark red robe. Cooked plums – a Grenache lead on the nose, with ripe raspberry, soaked red cherries or griottes. It is a bountiful start. The palate bears cosy, supple gras richness. This carries Pinot influences, quiet rose-hip in it. It has lovely, extended length, real secure persistence and intensity of juice on the finish. It is graceful, with mystery, holds very good promise. The dark tannins require five years to settle. This will provide the final wine with good heart notably, plus elegance. 27 years 4) (60% Gren, 35% Mourv, 5% Syrah, clay soils for this blend, 20 hl oak barrel) ****(*) dark red. The nose is tight, blackberry fruit, prune present, its depth is here but tight, and there slight baking. The palate holds firm red fruit, with real steady structure, comes with attractive freedom, sun in its veins. It closes on compressed juice, then in comes a cooler phase, good crunch in the tannins. The Mourvèdre is more accentuated here than in the previous blend. Serious, structured wine. “It is profound, and more wild than the previous blend,” Vincent Avril. 28 years 5A) (the total blend, 40 hl 2008 oak barrel) ***** dark red, black tints. The nose is ripely fruited with airs of dates, black raisin, black fruit jam, some raspberry airs also. The palate starts on dense, close-knit content, weaves a very interesting, complex path after the attack, which is finely nuanced. It ends on firm, well installed tannins. This is very filling, munchable wine, enhanced by late freshness, iodine within, good grip. It is fascinating between its attack and its finish. 14.8°. From 2020-21. 2041-43 5B) also the total blend, so same as 5A, 32 year 50 hl oak barrel) ***** dark, shiny robe. The nose is firm, leads on red fruits, cooked plums, strawberry jam – it expresses mature Grenache well, has a floral charm also. The palate sets off on rocky strewn red fruits with good inner energy. It has Grenache-Pinote associations. The juice is liberal until concentrating towards the finish, has a classy flow. It’s a long and aromatic wine. From 2021. 2043-45 Oct 2016  GB Fine & Rare Wines £559 12 b i/b www.frw.co.uk customerservice@frw.co.uk +44(0)207 089 7400

2014 ()

serene red robe. Has a curvy, red-fruited bouquet which is really pleasing – it offers strawberry, raspberry on roller skates, is very juvenile, has a lovely plumpness. There are fresh, early summer breezes on the nose, giving an image of rustling leaves. There is ace finesse on the palate, with neat tannins, powder grain and elegant they are. There are pockets of white pepper, and it ends on a note of cloves, very much the signature of a cool vintage. This is highly tasty, a real red fruit fest – it’s wonderful wine, what pleasure it gives. It summons symphonic thoughts. Bottled May 2016. “It is very Burgundian,” Vincent Avril. 2033-35 Oct 2016 Previously Oct 2015 ****(*) different parts tasted: 1) (25 hl 2008 large barrel, 65% of the blend) **** red robe; has a broad, abundant berry aroma, an air of plentiful raspberry, fruit lozenges on wheels, some prune along with licorice and cocoa. It is a good mixed bag. The palate runs with spice right off the bat, gives a joli rich and fluid trail of blackberry with spring in its step. It has a spicy and wholesome, fresh, dentelle finish. This combines fat and fluid notes, while its tannins are live. This has attractive length, good dance, with floral late moments. 16-18 years. 2) (50 hl 30 year large barrel, also 65% of the blend) ****(*) quite a dark red, more than the previous wine. Licorice, ground coffee, loganberry, big berry fruits show on the nose. I find Mourvèdre lurking here, some game tones from that. The bouquet has an ample, quite free style. Its aroma goes steadily deep, and it can gain over time. The palate presents a broad front of raspberry/loganberry with sweet spice and crunchy tannin. It holds appealing freshness, and good lift in the fruit, has southern instincts, sultry touches. The tannins still require time, are a shade dry. This is well founded wine – you can get your teeth into this. There are some mean streets next to its sunny boulevards. It gives licorice on the exit, very Mourvèdre marked by that. From 2019.  21-23 years. 3) (50 hl 30 year large barrel, the other 35% of the blend) ****(*) quite a dark red. There is a spice-licorice inner surge on the nose, a sturdy layer of black berry fruit with some grilled-baked instincts. The palate is close-knit, textured with lissom tannins, a jam of blackberry, prune fruit, blueberry with its cool notes. It extends surely. This has meridional depth with some cool of the north, and gives a good base for the wine. Its quality comes from within, isn’t glossy. There are late notes of raspberry. 23 years. OVERALL ****(*) tasty and nicely cool, sustained wine, based on a good mix of southern and northern qualities. “It has kept gaining through its barrel raising,” Vincent Avril. 14.4°. 2036-38 GB £225/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015

2013 ()

red robe, fair depth. The nose leads on raspberry fruit with a note of blackberry, along with spice, licorice – it isn’t right out today, but has scope. There is some rose hip, a coulis style fruiting, and pepper as well. This is spiced, hidden wine, its shape upright, one that weaves a slight zig-zag, delivers moments of rocky tannin. The gras and juice are pleasing for now, and are well camouflaged by its tannins, which are ripe and crunchy. The finish is tight. This has Mourvèdre licorice breadth. The heart is juicy, with intense juice at its epicentre. 14.8°. “It is very Mourvèdre, also on kirsch. It will keep well over time. 2013 is the year that has most gained in my career since 1987 from its 12 months of barrel raising,” Vincent Avril. From 2019. 2031-34  Oct 2015 GB Justerini & Brooks £530 12 b i/b www.justerinis.com   Previously Oct 2014 ****(*) only 13.5 hectolitres/hectare in 2013 and consequently the final blend was made in March 2014: 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 15% Syrah, 5% Counoise/Muscardin/Vaccarèse. The tasting of the separate parts was, therefore, a question of barrel size and age. The final wine will be assembled in March 2015, bottled May 2015. Barrel 1, 25hl (barrel from 2008) **** (*) dark colour. Fine, flattering cherry, Grenache-led nose. There is abundant fruit on the palate, with spice and licorice notes. The tannins are firm and long, building to the front of the palate. Barrel 2, 44hl (barrel 15 years old) **** red fruit aromas but animal notes as well (touch of reduction). It is broad and full on the attack, with spiced notes. The tannins are powerful and tight, but fresh as well. Barrel 3, 50hl (barrel 20 years old) **** dark robe. Cherry airs again. The sweetness of the fruit is more pronounced, but still there is freshness from the tannins. Barrel 4, 47.5hl (barrel 20 years old) ****(*) the emphasis again is on spice and cherry notes. The tannins are again fresh and long on the finish. OVERALL **** (*) lovely balance and harmony. A wine of fairly powerful structure derived from firm, fresh tannins. Freshness is a recurrent theme, the alcohol muted. Cherry, spice and licorice feature as aromas. 14.7°. From 2017. 2030-32 JL Oct 2014

2012

steady, quite full red robe. Has a nicely lifted, airborne raspberry aroma on the first nose, simmered plums, spicing, some baked plains dust, black pepper. It has quiet strength. The palate starts with liberal red berry fruit, has a floral sidecar, and runs with relative ease. It’s straightforward, not complex, as it stands. Its juice rolls quietly. Its tannins are absorbed, have some gummy feel. This is shapely wine that is making its quiet way. It glows from within on the finish, is wide, but not especially expressive. There is low-key game, earthiness on the finish. Decanting advised. “I rate this among the ten best years I have made. It’s 15.5°, but not a burning wine. It will really keep well, is powerful but elegant. I think it will close rapidly,” Vincent Avril. From 2018. 2034-36 Oct 2015 Previously Nov 2013 ***** the final wine will be assembled March 2014, bottled May 2014; here tasting of the separate parts, then an assembled whole from large barrels; barrel 1, 44 hl (80% G, 10% Mourv, 4 Coun, 3% Syr, 3% various,) ****(*) sound red, dark tinted robe. The nose has an interesting degree of reserve on it, nicely cool cherry, licorice to the fore. The palate starts on a tasty roll of crunchy red fruits, widens with attractive elegance and has ingrained pepper; it drinks smoothly, on its texture. The tannins are crisp, line the gums well and are fragrant. This has character. 19 years; barrel 2, 50 hl (70% G, 20% Syr, 10% Mourv) **** dark red; Syrah influence on the nose, just 20% to show that, and its dark berry, touch of Saint-Joseph angle – it clambers over the 70% Grenache, shows licorice, pepper and a supple air. The palate has a liqueur black fruit, tar-spice nature; the wine sits comfortably, and is running with brio at the finish. This has a sunny, more jam style, and lacks the cut, the edge of the previous barrel. The jam influence is pure, a little sweet to taste. Garrigue herbs and cinnamon appear on the aftertaste, the length scented. 18 years; barrel 3, 48 hl (55% G, 40% M, 5% Counoise) ***** bright, dark red; the thorough nose shows reduction thanks to the Mourvèdre, with beyond that, pepper, spice, slight floral nudges. The bouquet has a good foundation, real depth, layers of dark fruit, prune. The debut of the palate is square, holds its ground well, the flavour goes whirling around. Star Wars here, a stimulating, Action-packed wine. The fruit resembles blueberry, and there is a grainy energy in the tannins; this has concentration and carry, lots to offer. 15.7°. 24 years; barrel 4, 50 hl (the assembled final wine of 55% Gren, 25% Mourv, 15% Syr, 5% the rest, av 15.5°) dark red; Appealing, compact, crushed cherry air, with blueberry and licorice – it is very precise, and bears a floral tune as well. The bouquet is a safe launch pad of finesse for the palate. The palate is enclosed, well wrapped, has a cherry heart, with fine tannins in close attendance. It lengthens well, retaining its freshness and developing tannin crunch towards the finish. It carries matter at the end, no stopping there, and leaves a comfortable trail of black cherry fruit and light flowers, licorice, brioche bread, black raisin. This will gain in volume over time, from within. 55% Grenache because of coulure, down from 65%. OVERALL ***** very successful; really good style and flair here, snugged up into its warm, frame and helped by the relative coolness of the vintage. Has more swish, swoop than some of the recent, more jam, up-heated wines. 2036-38 Nov 2013

2011 ()

plum red colour, fair depth. There is a fragrant top note to an open, plum-fruited aroma that proffers a curve of ripeness, a sprinkle of herbs such as rosemary, fennel. The attack feels some of its inherent power – there is that line of near spirit-led glow through it. This has a misleading youth – there are kirsch and similar Mirabelle plum flavours, not young ones. It needs leaving until its middle age, such as 2018. Bosky and sous-bois, damp forest floor notes and tobacco beckon. This isn’t particularly ensemble as it stands; its matter doesn’t show a full façade – I find it facile. With its Pinot Noir implications, here the Southern Rhône is taking the Burgundian route - this works better in the Northern Rhône, where the alcohol levels are much lower. 15°5. Bottled May 2013. “It will show well at 15 years of age; it is superior to 2008. It was the first year when the alcohol was taken on board first, the acidity behind that,” Vincent Avril. 2028-30  Nov 2013 GB Justerini & Brooks £550 12 b i/b www.justerinis.com   Previously Dec 2012 **** (the separate parts, then an assembled whole from large barrels) barrel 1, 40 hl (75% G, 15% Syr, 10% M) ***(*) red, attractive robe. Redcurrant fruit jelly air – the nose is round and open, rather fine, and helpfully offset by mineral and flint. The palate offers bright debut red fruits, is spicy and tasty, has a clutch of grain tannin at the end. The fruit is precise, shows some glow at the end. Free drinking, flattering wine, although its alcohol is on the limit. 17 years; barrel 2, 44 hl (65% G, 35% Syr) ***(*) quite a full red. Raspberry, openly fruited nose that shows quiet fat, is open and curved, and not mysterious. The palate is marked by baby fat, gras, is a shade simple, and tannins come in at the end to wrap around it. Short on guile. The fruit is clear, fat. Less silken than the Grenache before in barrel 1. 15 years. barrel 3, 74.5 hl (65% G, 30% M, 5% Syr) ****(*) attractive, quite full red. The nose has character, interesting red fruit, small red berries with a touch of jam in it, a really good display. The palate is a good combination of acidity and tasty red fruit, spice, with loose, sympa tannins that are enjoyable, mobile. It is long and fresh – this is the Conductor of the Orchestra, a super drop that is tasty ball through, some late heat on it. 20 years. barrel 4, 50 hl (the assembled final wine) bright, dark red. Has a soft raspberry air with a floral, violet trace at the centre, a hint of licorice from the Mourvèdre – a stylish, charming nose here. The palate is red-fruited, with closely attached, grainy, noticeable tannins. A wine of good drinkability which has a discreet late structure, frame. There is fine acidity in the red fruit, which darkens towards the finish. Good, rather cool features, a shade Burgundian. “This wine would have been considered a Grand Vintage in the 1980s, and I compare it to 2001,” Vincent Avril. Can live and develop and become interestingly varied. 2030-32  Dec 2012

2010

bright red. Has a husky, “in between” nose that is overtly spiced, shows some red meat, black pepper, a graininess, has a good, lucid style. The palate is tightly wrapped, has a real, good, thorough heart, is fleshy and unctuous, closely packed, with a spiced, prune finale and good late darkness. It has been open 18 hours, with the Mourvèdre gaining over the Grenache. The finish is fresh, on menthol. This has lovely depth and style, very good balance. “The pH level in 2016 is actually better than 2010’s,” Vincent Avril. 2040-43 Oct 2017 Previously Oct 2015 ****** swirling dark red robe. The bouquet is substantial – is a brooding, broad set of possibilities – raspberry, cloves, latent rose-hip, all very sustained. It has a prune ripeness, violets, spice and cinnamon all involved. It’s a veritable Pandora’s box of tricks. There is a cool menthol surround to its deep, elegant gras richness; it’s wholesome, has very good pedigree, covers the ground with a deft touch. There’s absolutely no trace of its power and alcohol. It’s lovely, but you have to respect this. There’s licorice on the finish – Mourvèdre. This is handsome, compelling, and will be a Rocker, a real provider of bounty around 15 to 18 years of age. Its tannins are firm, sustained, and there’s lovely juice on the exit. Serve it at 14°-15°C, not 18°C. 15.9° - “it’s 15.9°, but holds so much matter,” Vincent Avril. 2043-45 Oct 2015 Previously Nov 2013 ****** full, sustained red robe. The bouquet is thick, with mystery in its ranks as it closes down. There are airs of tobacco, cedar, kirsch and cherry – it is wide, very wide, and very deep, with all to come in the future. The palate gives a ripple of full fruit with a coating of red liqueur fruit, close tannins sweeping in. This needs leaving for a long time. All its forces are in good harmony, so the alcohol of 16° (“my most degree ever”) is neither here nor there. It has really good length, and its grain and the dust of warm lands presents an eternal evocation. There is zero trace of heat in the wine, and I find it more fine than the 1990, with which it deserves comparison. There are lovely cool aspects in the fruit. You can sit down and eat this!. “Don’t touch it until 2019 or 2020, just to taste it,” Vincent Avril. This is fabulous wine. 2044-48  Nov 2013 Previously Dec 2012 ****** bottled May 2012: brilliant robe that is full of life, is exceptional, is a very healthy red. Stylish, poised red liqueur fruit, also carries an intense, chubby black berry, really good fat and drifts of summer flowers such as rose. The palate holds Rolls Royce fruit – you can’t hear the engine, with serene tannins snugly accompanying it. It has very fine acidity with clear and present tannins the end. It lasts, lingers, is broad, leading to a stretch of cherry, redcurrant fruit that has immediate, close-knit matter around it. “It will explode in 15 years’ time, like the 1990. It has to be put away and forgotten. At 15.9°, it has the highest degree I’ve ever made, but you don’t notice that – it has the matter for that,” Vincent Avril. From 2018. 2035-37  Dec 2012  Previously Dec 2011 ****** just about a 6 star wine: the 3 separate blends, then the 3 blended together, all in separate foudres (large 25-50 hl barrels): 80% G, 10% S, 10% M, 50 hl barrel: ***** full robe, plenty in it. Rippling aroma across the nose, waves of black fruit, touches of spice. Tasty, rather ebullient palate debut, with very well inset tannins, good freedom of movement at the end. This is tasting well. Juicy, fine grip on the finish, a deep-seated licorice-floral note and some heat. Persistent. “I love these tannins which will help it to age well, better than its acidity,” Vincent Avril. 2024-26 Dec 2011. 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre, 25 hl barrel: **** the red is quite thorough. Softer, more supple, air-filled nose than the previous barrel, has a curvy shape, some sucrosity. The palate has an upright start, oak present (a 4 year barrel) – this is more spinal, less obviously filled, broader than the previous barrel and blend. This is a rugby scrum style wine, provides heart th the final wine. It ends on some oak, tightly. Too much Syrah for me. 2033-35 Dec 2011. 60% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre, 44 hl barrel: ***** sustained red colour; has a sensaround bouquet, ample, lateral, has raspberry fruit paste, spice from the Mourvèdre, real genuine depth. Notes of flint stone, silex. “I adore this nose – it makes me want to plant Mourvèdre,” V.Avril. Tasty, full palate – absolutely filled with nuance, length and elegance. Powdery tannins at the end. It glows on the finish. It runs fully to the line, is fresh, its spine is fresh. Has engaging breadth, good promise. Pushing on to ******. “2010 averages 15.8°. This is the highest degree wine I have ever made – it is 16.1°, but shows you can have degree, but no burn at all. Remember a Grenache under 14.5° is never good, proper,” V.Avril. 2037-39. The final assemblage, 50 hl barrel: ****** deep, dark red; there is a layer of reduction across the nose, which bears notably fine red fruit, a little flower influence within, I highlight its fineness, and strong appeal. It will be very broad, ample, expressive in time. The palate sets off with typical Clos des Papes red fruits, extends very well. It shows a trademark 2010 freshness, and even with a lot of wine and volume, keeps moving, and takes on fine grain, fresh tannins. It has a lot chewy matter, and a better length than the previous 3 barrels separately. All the barrels will be assembled at the end of March, and bottled in early May. 2038-40 Dec 2011

2009

steady red robe; has a spiced, flinty, fast impact nose, with a strong Mourvèdre influence, shows red fruit in behind – the bouquet is wide and crouched down, complex and varied. The red fruit air is en finesse. The palate is shutting down, is now tight and enclosed. Really pretty fruit inside it. There is bustle in its tannins, which drive it along well. Very persistent, long, displays heat on the finish. Very good. “Good total acidity this year, better than 2010 - it is balanced. It was difficult to finish off the fermentations. It is now closing down very fast,” Vincent Avril. From 2013 for a while, then from 2018. 2034-36 Dec 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ***** 4 blends, a fifth of them all, then the 95% of the wine - read on! G-S-M blend 1****(*) (44 hl barrel) plum robe; sweet note is a compact, refined bouquet – the aroma travels sideways, and there is animal and cocoa present. The Grenache on the palate is notably stylish – it has a good Grenache heart, with juice and squeeze in it, then tightens a little from the Mourvèdre at the end. Good, nay lovely, length. 19-21 years. G-S-M blend 2 (41.8 hl barrel) **** quite full red; cautious nose pf baked fruits, plum, some brooding power – the baked garrigue outcrops. The palate is knit together and deep – more obviously that way than blend 1. It builds into a solid set of tannins, is also fresh at the end, smoky ash effect there. A good middle of the team player, its length is sound. 18-20 years. G-S-M blend 3 (44 hl barrel) ****(*) bright, quite dark red, plum colour; solid, closed bouquet of purposeful depth – baked plum fruits that suggest the Grenache has been reined in by its two companions, comes along with chocolate and raisin as well. Plenty of content on the palate – this spreads out well with more downhome tendencies than the finely presented blends 1 and 2. It is solid – a wine to give the final blend a solid base. It is clear but wrapped up on the finish, and I notice some carbonic gas in this. “It has always been closed,” V.Avril. 22-24 years. G-S-M blend 4 (44.5 hl barrel) ***** bright red; reductive nose with wide red Grenache fruit across it, also the raisin, chocolate. There is a good gush of fruit on the palate – it is live and its depth is sympa. This is the key to the eventual wine with its bright fruit and drive, its plenty of matter. It is more high octane than the first 3 blends, a provider of bulk, the ground floor of the wine. 22+ years. G-S-M blend 5 – the first 4 together (54 hl barrel) ****** full red; smoky, elegant nose, which shows Pinot airs – Burgundy lovers will go for this, slight reduction also. The palate has a striking finesse, a real harmony, tight late tannins. I really like its freshness, also its balance. Really good. 2032-35 OVERALL ***** the last tasting which represents 95% of the 2009 (50 hl barrel) dark red; the nose is closed, has a solid foundation, is reductive, has a couch of firm, leaning towards baked black fruit that is very young, is sprinkled with licorice, menthol and some herbs. The palate ties in with the nose – it is very good from mid to late on, offers freshness, persistence, good crisp tannins. There is good juice in this. The finish is complete and fine, with variety to come, has a lot of length as they say. Fine qualities. Drink briefly from 2013, then from 2017 or so. 2032-35 Oct 2010

2008 ()

a little top ruby in the robe, has a red heart. Cinnamon-spice crossing on the nose, nutmeg also; this is a real Oriental do, has a background of plum fruit. The palate emphasizes a fresh, peppery being, has a little, swift gras richness with the pepper influences constant. It ends on mint, grain notably, licorice. It drinks well for red meats with a simple preparation; the gras shows some supple features on the finish. Has cedar and tobacco on the exit. “It will age, the tannins are beau, it has elegance. I would love this with a shoulder of lamb,” Vincent Avril. This gained after 90 minutes open. 14.7°. 2020-21 Nov 2013 GB Justerini & Brooks £450 12 b i/b www.justerinis.com   Previously Dec 2012 ***(*) three-quarter depth red, with a pale top rim. Has a spiced, woodsy nose, bears a cooked fruit undertone that mixes blackberry and prune, with treacle, licorice and over all a baked note. The palate is spicy, quite fluid – the main flavour is prune, with a clove spicing at the finish, pepper and tea. There is a small pocket of gras here, with crisp tannins along the sides, ending on menthol. It has a windy coolness and some gras, but they are not together. I would leave this 2+ years so it can extend its gras richness on the end. 14.7°. 2025-26  Dec 2012  Previously Oct 2010 *** bottled end May 2010: sound, dark red; dark fruits, smoky aroma that is lucid, wide, and holds up soundly. The palate has an overt spice-pepper nature, spreads out well, and has pretty, scented juice in it. Towards the finish there is the taste of some black cherry. The nose is solid and more grounded than the palate, which is elegant, tender, has a nice oiliness about it. The aftertaste is firm late on, with pockets of fine grain juice on the second half of the palate. 2022-24. “Given all the mildew it is not at all a small vintage. For me this is similar to 2001 or 1993, both elegant years. It is 14.7°, a lot less than 2007 and 2009. It is a finesse, fruit year that can keep. If people like great Burgundies from the Nuits, they will like this,” Vincent Avril. Oct 2010 Previously Dec 2009 ***(*) after tasting the 7 separate elements, here is the on the hoof assemblage in the cellars: quite a full red, black traces. Smoky, rather oily, ground coffee aroma – the bouquet is compact, comes with pockets of leather and licorice, and air reveals light violet scents. The palate starts cautiously, presents woven black fruits, prune at the centre of the taste, with a fine texture and late mineral clarity. A mobile wine that is not really lasting in width and depth, its tannins are evident on the outside. Agreeable weight and length, the length is good, encouraging. From mid-2012. 2023-26 “It is fresh, has attractive matter, is long. It is clear that this is not an exceptional vintage, but 1996 and 2002 were small vintages – and 2008 is above them,” Vincent Avril. Dec 2009

2007

magnum: bright red robe. Has a smoky red berry aroma with appealing dance in it, a little feral-game note from the Mourvèdre. This bouquet carries good potential and will become  very broad. The palate gives a rolling, tasty run of peppery red fruit, the texture smooth, the feel gourmand. There is a good, smoky intervention of fresh tannins on the close. This is proper Châteauneuf, full of life and stylish fruit – excellent fruit lies at its heart, bang on the drum. The Mourvèdre influence is very good here. 15°. 2034-37  Nov 2015  Previously Dec 2011 ***** touch of evolution on the rim of the dark red robe. Has a hunky, animal air, bacon mixed with coffee, redcurrant, has real weight. This is a grouped, full wine – the wagons around the campfire; it is muscular, dumb, seamless, has a density of content, a semblance of red fruit, all very concentrated. It has the acidity to keep it fresh and on track as it ages. It finishes on clear, rather big notes, almost gives a gasp there. It is all on the chunky, hunky, closed route now. It ends on Mourvèdre spice. From 2016, for instance. 26 hl/ha this year. 2033-36  Dec 2011 Previously Nov 2008 ***** (7 barrels together) full, dark red – the robe mixes some black with a slight purple rim. On the nose, there are blackberry (Grenache) with licorice (Mourvèdre) influences – and a silken raspberry aroma that has a lot of poise and is very suave. The palate has a rich, full, veering towards dense start, and comes with traces of chocolate in the flavour, alongside a cherry note. It is wide and well-juiced, ending on a final quarter of steady tannic growth. This is more structured than many 2007s at present – I like its fresh end and good length. The power shows up through some kirsch in the late taste. All very orderly, good prospects. From 2013. 2030-33 Nov 2008 Also a 44 hl barrel, 80-85% Grenache sample ****(*) bright, dark red; there is very good, typical Grenache juice in the aroma – with a well-defined floral top air – this bouquet has good focus. There is a really good run of fruit, with plenty of carry, on the palate. It is juicy, blackberry in flavour, and has good tannic lining, plenty of heart and great length. also tasted Nov 2008

2006

sober red robe. This has a blackberry, baked tart, black raisin aroma that breathes strength from within, almost has a liqueur style. There is a touch of tea leaves present. The palate gives prune, date, black raisin, fig jam flavours with spicing. This is a big 2006, the low yields playing a main role. It is more stationary than mobile, and lacks lift and gaiety. Return in 2018 for more freedom of expression: it is rather heavy going just now. 15.2°. 2031-33  Nov 2015 Previously Dec 2012 ****(*) full red, just a little taper at the top. Spice, very smoky, saucisson, lardon and tar airs combine in a pretty big, bouncy bouquet that gives a full, varied display, the prime fruit aroma being smoky red berries and plum.. The palate sets off with a very interesting show of smooth, oily, smoky fruit that is spicy, shows a taste of cinnamon. This is Beau Vin. It is profound and satisfying, covers the ground. It has the smoky cut of the vintage on the attack, which glistens and activates it. Joli, interesting, fresh, a wine that provokes mind and palate. 15.5°. 2028-30  Nov 2013 Previously Dec 2011 ****(*) full red, just a little taper at the top. Spice, very smoky, saucisson, lardon and tar airs combine in a pretty big, bouncy bouquet that gives a full, varied display, the prime fruit aroma being smoky red berries and plum.. The palate sets off with a very interesting show of smooth, oily, smoky fruit that is spicy, shows a taste of cinnamon. This is Beau Vin. It is profound and satisfying, covers the ground. It has the smoky cut of the vintage on the attack, which glistens and activates it. Joli, interesting, fresh, a wine that provokes mind and palate. 15.5°. 2028-30  Nov 2013 Previously Dec 2011 ****(*) still a good, bright red. Smoky, baked, prune aroma that is on the march, comes with a resin-pine tang, cocoa and leather – it gives the associations of a less truly hot summer. The nose has a welcoming clarity before the palate, which is also clear-cut, and opening well, offers menthol and slight game notions, and a tasty spot of blackberry just before the finish. Moving into shape now. The Mourvèdre length gives it kick and tang. It is a tiny bit soon to drink due to its tannins which crunch together in baked fashion at the end. There is an attractive floral point on the palate. Double decant, or drink from 2014. 2026-28  Dec 2012  Previously Dec 2011 ****(*) level, quite full red colour. Has a fine air, a subdued but good floating aroma in the bouquet, one that is based on spice rather than obvious fruit. The palate is tight-knit, but it has a libertine, expressive tendencies. The tannins are live and tarry, bring licorice. It persists well and freshly, the shape straight as a dye for now. Drink from 2015; I reckon its evolution has been slowed down by the Mourvèdre. Light notes of flint and herbs come through, the length good. 2029-31  Dec 2011 Previously Nov 2008 **** bright, blackberry colour; there is a gentle drift of aroma across the glass – with a few peppery, crackly airs and black cherries. This is going to be a pretty bouquet, one that is full of potential. The palate is enclosed, but starts quite briskly, has good lining and is fresh and not overdone at the end. The fresh finale mixes juicy fruit and tannin with mocha and leather notes of caution. This has character. There is measured richness and variety in the offing. For now, it is quite direct, and pockets of late resin show it`s some way off being on the mark. From late 2010 or 2011. Can certainly live well – to 2027-29. Bottled May 2008. Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****(*) a mix of two large barrel samples, the assemblage in part: dark, black cherry robe; the bouquet`s plum fruits hold up firmly, some game and a persistent, quite rich bouquet. Palate has good depth and heart, and a late flourish of plum, soaked cherries (griottes), plus pepper. Has a raisin, mature mulberry flavour, with a late tannic couch. Ample and beau. Then a very old Grenache 80%, 10% each Syrah and Mourvèdre large barrel: quite intense black stone fruits, with gaminess from some reduction on the nose; good, brisk start to palate, is nice and clear, and shows excellent grain as it goes, really gets moving. Only about 7% of the wine, but a fab, ****** wine, this, an important contributor to the whole assembly, from a special 2 hectare plot on La Crau that they bought in 2004, with Grenache from the 1920s-1930s. “The tannins and acidities are similar in 2006 to 2005 and 2004, though there may be a little more colour in the 2006. It will be bottled in June 2008, and will close down: I see it as a keeping wine,” V.Avril. 2028-30 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 a Grenache vat, with its malo and sugars finished - rounded, ripe bouquet. Nicely generous fruit with a rich foundation and good tannins, fleshy wine. Good wine – not massive, but sustained, and a very full degree of well over 15.6°. “The 2006s have enormous colours,” Vincent Avril Dec 2006

2005 ()

mostly a dark red colour, legs. Has a hunky, bosky nose, animal with the Mourvèdre in the driving seat, roast meat, dates, black pepper. The palate is chunky – this is a real 2005 – with tenacious tannins. This holds good matter, firm gras, and close-knit tannins. I find a resemblance to 2015. The tannins leave a good uplift as it ends, on the up, and the aftertaste is lip smacking. Its length is sustained. It will be back to ***** by 2019-20, I bet. “It’s powerful, but has joli length, a crescendo,” Vincent Avril. From 2021-22. 2036-38 Oct 2017 Previously Nov 2013 ***** ruby-tinted robe. Fungal, earth and soil-bound aroma, leather notably, as the Mourvèdre has its say, also dark black coffee. The nose is evolving, and isn’t on the fruit especially now, perhaps a note of cherry liqueur in it. This is closely packed, a rectangular, very 2005 shape of wine; it has good intensity and an encouraging small group of gras richness at the end which is briefly savoury. It si still closed, meaning it isn’t as broad as it could be just now. From 2016 on this showing, but there is no hurry – you could even wait until 2018. It can become very expressive and elegant, with the finale showing potential for elegance. There is a dentelle, lifted, toothsome clarity on the finish, menthol and cool blueberry fruit on the aftertaste. 15.2°. 2035-38  Nov 2013 Previously Nov 2007 ****** full, dark red robe with some black in it at its heart. Black fruits aromas, with a ripe air about them, plus raisin or raisin tart, kirsch style red plums, black stone fruits, too: plenty going on. The palate has an imposing debut, with prune and licorice inside and spiced black berries. Tremendously broad and oily late on, has a real late surge of richness. Good acidity, is biscuity late on. Lots of vibrant life in this, its tannins are live and coat the end palate. Can drink 2008 for maybe 12-15 months, then put it away for another 6+ years. Great width late on, Beau Vin. 2030-34 “I advise leaving this for 10 years; by all means try a bottle every 2-3 years, and when you like it, drink it,” V.Avril Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 ***** several mixes, several barrels: very complete wine with good stuffing, drink in 2009, but always the risk it will close for 4-5 years. I find it similar to 1995, but with more generosity. Vincent Avril finds 2005 like 1990, but with more acidity. A blend of the barrels produced this as a mainly Grenache-Syrah-Mouvèdre example: black jam, round and sustained aroma. The palate has round, bonny shape, with some mineral lacing, extends well. The palate fruits are black berries, with some sous-bois (damp woods) and a licorice tone. The mid-palate is generous – a very good sign, and the tannins are enjoyable. There is clear fruit at the end – the fruit is very persistent. Close to the good old six stars, this. Dec 2006

2004 ()

slight ruby top to a red robe. Mocha and cinnamon show on the nose, airs of date, brandy cake with a criss-cross of spice across it. The palate gives interest, is complex in its way, closing for the first time now. It has character, shows spice, raspberry jam and liqueur, with squeezy richness in the mid-palate until just before the finish. It ends freshly, clear, the aftertaste smoky. It’s going well overall, is a great wine for the CHR, restaurant trade. “It’s more closed than 1-2 years ago,” Vincent Avril. 2031-33 Oct 2017 Previously Dec 2011 **** some advance in the robe which has a ruby top. The bouquet is mineral-tinted, is right at the crossroads in its evolution – there are wee animal notes, pork scratchings, a spiced top air, with a mix of redcurrant, smoke and leather. This is becoming bendy, curved like a hammock, soft and possessed of a flexible texture followed by grippy, grainy tannins. It is in a mineral phase, shows the straight cut features of the vintage, the length sound. It isn’t quite back to a ripe, sage and steady moment, 24 hl/ha this year. 2025-27 Dec 2011 Previously Nov 2007 **** bit less dark than the 2005, has a pretty full robe, with a decent red core. The nose is rather gourmand, with soaked black berries and prune aromas: has plenty of sweet, violet appeal, and is trimmed by some black tea and smoke as well. The palate moves with restraint, has a peppery theme after a split second of live attack. There is sinew in this, it is closing down now. The tannins are prominent late on. Not at its best to appreciate now. Drink from mid-2010/2011 for more roundness. The bouquet is more offering than the palate now. Ends with richness, but is less flamboyant than the 2005 and 2006. 2024-27 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 **** quite a dark red robe; full, cherry, floral aroma that floats nicely. The wine comes in an upright shape, has good grip, and licorice which the French call Zan, continues well along the palate. Starting to be difficult to taste – I think this will close up soon. Has a mineral, plum sensation, and is wiry now, but the length is good. 15.2°. From 2010-11. 2025-28 Dec 2006 “It reminds me of the 1995 – it shouldn`t be touched for 8 to 10 years. I find cherry, kirsch on the nose”, Vincent Avril

2003 ()

slight ruby, full red inside the robe. Has a baked, very broad spread to the nose. An air of redcurrant, their small berries, peek out, come with a light floral note. It is young and has potential for a fine showing – this is unusual for 2003. The palate has a gummy, red fruit jam debut, with an inset of spice and tasty, enjoyable tannins on the finish. It moves on to toffee and date-pepper flavours. Interesting wine of unusual characteristics and make-up with a salty note even on the end. It is solid, but is starting to give, and also is mentally stimulating. The exit is peppery. It will tick over thanks to its tannin. “It is still tannic; it becomes beau after 2 hours in a decanter, is “masculine”. I rate it as the year when we best harvested, starting, stopping, waiting and finishing on 4 October. The tannins are good, and better than they would have been had we harvested at the end of August like many domaines,” Vincent Avril. 2028-30  Dec 2012  Previously Dec 2011 ***** evolving plum red robe. It has the sunny, sweet, baked air of its year – the aroma is very young, its sweetness ingrained and inviting, shows light notes of dried raisin, brioche baked bread and plum. The palate is coming together, bound with tight tannins, has a good foundation. It is very young, and interesting, for eight years’ old, even showing a subtle, fine and authentic quality – the vintage and the place. The fruit resembles red cherry and redcurrant, and is accompanied by grainy, licorice notes. The finish is aromatic, with grain, licorice – the French Zan, good cut. Decant this. From 2014-15. 2033-35 “It is very suited to game, such as a civet of hare; it is evolving well, having been rustic at base early on. A lot of 2003s have hard tannins because people picked too soon,” Vincent Avril. Dec 2011 Previously Dec 2006 ***** quite a dark robe; black fruit pastilles, black olives, cherries show in a bouquet with a floral, violet topping and a hint f game. The palate is round, warm, runs seamlessly, is a spherical wine with a fleshy, fine appeal, all delivered in harmony at 15.2°. The sweetness on the finish is appealing, while the aftertaste is clear and scented, with notes of brewed tea. It is especially drinkable now if you want a straight fruit ride, but it will be more varied from 2012. It holds squeezy fruit with the house restraint. “By 15 August the crop was already at 14° ro 14.5°; we started our harvest on 1 September, two weeks early. We stopped after picking the white crop and the vin de pays, and harvested the main crop between 10 and 20 September. The gain from that wait was in colour, phenolic ripeness, tannins and acidity. We were one of the lasy by then. It is quite like 1978,” Vicnet Avril. 2025-28  Dec 2006  Previously March 2005 **** final assemblage pre-bottle: black cherries, jam, open and declaring aroma, but is weighted and big potentially. Air brings more scented raspberry. Bounteous palate, a lot of richness and volume, has great breadth, is sumptuous and oily, though restrained at same time. Good length and potential. Kirsch, alcohol evidence at end - an olive, southern flourish as it finishes. Tannins are ripe, thank goodness. Very like 1990. 2026-28  March 2005, with bottling April 2005  “There was a lot of blockage in the ripening of the Mourvèdre at Châteauneuf this year –  most of ours is in our well-exposed clay zones on a slope at La Nerte and Cannsaud, so we were OK,” Vincent Avril.

 

2002

fair colour. Aroma is compact, some olive present. Scented, Pinoté black jam aroma, with a little farmyard, attractive and open. Same theme on palate - black fruits with a licorice finale. Length is sound. Good, versatile restaurant wine, has integrity. Round and agreeable, has some stuffing. 2014-15. No Syrah in this - 60% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre, 5% Muscardin/Vaccarèse Previously April 2005, New York ** this is a sympa wine, especially for a restaurant. The young red fruits are elegant and quite woven together, and there is some extra bite from its gentle layering of tannins. Length is good all things considered, ie it doesn`t drop down too early. 2013-15

2001

gentle advance on the robe, but the red is still full. Has a reductive, animal, Mourvèdre influence on the nose, plus coffee, meat soaked cherries or griottes. With air, there is a very good tinkle of fruit - soaked red cherries here. The palate is at a calm moment, the flavouring is cherry. A wine of quiet muscle, has good sinew and closes up at the end. It is persistent. It combines pockets of refined gras or richness with an upright lean. It closes up at the end, and the finish is herbal and fresh. More of an intellectual challenge than the 1998, but a fresher wine that can live on. Maybe from late 2009 now. 2025-28 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ***** one bottle corked, the second: dark plum robe; nose shows its first stage of evolution – ground coffee, toasted, a bit of animal, is plenty wide. The palate black fruits are softening, they flow very well, are very consecutive and expressive, all the way through. The black fruits are peppery, the tannins still young and tasty. Comes in the orderly house fashion. I like this flow, it is very complete. Has a clear, lip-smack finish. The tannins are still sealed up, and very expressive. Ideal with a leg or shoulder of lamb. “The Mourvèdre is showing on the nose; I still find it closed, and very young on the palate. This is a vintage that reminds me of 1995,” V.Avril. 2024-26 Nov 2007 Previously March 2005 very full, complete bouquet, kirsch leaning, there is true content here, some pepper. Very tight, filled wine, big and bold. Lengthens discreetly, and is broad - the signs are good. Black fruits, fresh finish, with Mourvèdre licorice. Plenty here, this is good. Going to close soon. 14°7 Esp 2009/10 on. 2023-27 "I adore its tannins" V Avril March 2005

2000

the robe has a red centre, a ruby rim. Spice, cloves, white pepper, polished leather show on the nose, which has an inlay of date, cooked figs. It has a Pinote angle – Nuits St Georges earthiness. The palate is well together, holds good gras richness and serene content; a late menthol run is good. It’s tasty and beau, comes with spicing and tobacco. “It has been going well lately, has regained freshness,” Vincent Avril. 2030-32 Oct 2017 Previously Nov 2002 **** light traces of game, also Pinot Noir, sprinkling of pepper on bouquet. Compact texture on palate, rolled up black fruit, chunky, has shoulders. Dark flavours present, broadens towards finish, nice black berries finale. Closing up now, a square style year. Masculine, strong wine. Esp 2009 on. 2022-25 14°1 March 2005

1999 ()

attractive red robe. There is a Pinote message on the nose that gives an open and wide display of red fruit with clove, mocha touches, licorice. It’s on the cusp between smily fruit and secondary spices. The palate holds entertaining red stone fruit with fine grain late moments, red berries; it has very joli airborne qualities. There are fresh, winning rays of sunshine in the glass, a wine that enhances the day. There is latent game and graininess in it, and a savoury, strawberry jam presence on the finish. It very digestible, super enhancing wine. “Very good with a shoulder of lamb. Like 1997 and 2001, it was a year of Mourvèdre for us,” Vincent Avril. 2026-28 Oct 2015 Previously Oct 2005 **** maturing, soft red. Smoky, still reserved bouquet, is stiff, shows a Mourvèdre licorice presence, latent herbs. Red fruits, tight-knit palate. Very closed. Good final acidity, and stylish in the making, lots of potential. Solid at heart, has gone dumb, but this has a lot of latent quality. Esp 2008-09 on. Can rate more highly than today. 2020-24 October 2005, Copenhagen Previously March 2005 ****(*) upright, Bordeaux inclined bouquet - black fruits, touch of well ingrained pepper, gamey from the Mourvèdre - attractive overall. Very harmonious start, tasty, the fruit is savoury, some jam content, a little suppleness and a lot of perfume and elegance. Very classy refinement. Fruit is juicy, tasty. Good now in its full early splendour. Also good from 2009 on with second phase extras developed. 2022-24. 14°5 March 2005

1998

ruby red. The nose is typical – dates with some animal, brandy cake, is evolving. Decanting advised. The palate is relatively fresher than the nose – there’s a good, clear run of expressive, spiced red fruits, is very lucid, really travels. The Grenache gives it its texture and appeal. It’s a real winner on the palate, the mid to late palate tasty, with good late sap (sève). 2031-33 Oct 2017 Previously Nov 2008 ***** red at the centre of the robe, with a ruby top layer. Has a mocha, ground coffee aroma in the front rank, a little smoky prune running across the bouquet, some baked stones and the suggestion of the sun here. The palate is getting to a supple stage, yielding some of its reserve and softening. It is a little closed – has a refined nature, lengthens well and steadily. The texture is smoothing nicely, and the aftertaste brings in menthol, prune and licorice. This is starting to sing now. From 2010. 2026-28 Nov 2008 Previously April 2008 ***** ruby notes in the robe, but there is a pretty red within. The nose delivers coffee, with some sweetness, and hung game, as if it is emerging from a funky stage and heading for fruit clarity. This is an unusual, varied bouquet; after 2 hours, raisin and cake come through, after 6 hours the aroma is richer still. This is a textured, “en finesse wine, the richness presented with a discreet touch. There are mocha and coffee tones shimmering on the finish, with baked raisin tart adding a grounded note. While the nose is wide and full, the wine is refined and it has retained its little Grenache oiliness on the finish. It is about to strut more, and parade some defined wares. Strong marks for character. Not many wines made like this any more – where they keep unfurling treasures and nuances as they air over an extended time. 2024-26 April 2008 Previously March 2005 ****(*) black fruit, prune, coffee bouquet, has the vertical shape of the vintage, that up and down, not broad form, and a mineral presence that is also found in other wines after 7 years. Holds well-integrated black fruit on palate, shows a near funky side. Is beefy vis-à-vis the 1999, and has good width and juice in it. Is evolving towards a peppery, mineral phase with cut on the finish, also licorice. Carries a rich texture, and there is a sense of moelleux present on the aftertaste. Good now, but will come and go, play hide and seek as it evolves. 14°5 2020-22 “A very Grenache year for us,” V.Avril March 2005 Previously April 1999 (barrel, assembled to give an idea) ***** some red fruits that are elegant, like Paul and Vincent here, on the palate. The nose is sweet, quite dark and round, but full and well integrated between the varieties – kirsch, cherries present. Has a richly flavoured start, and this is a wine in a circle rather than a linear one. There is hidden fullness on the palate, and the Grenache fat comes through near the finish, with its oily texture. Good length, very rounded tannins. A pH of 3.60 indicates a keeping wine, the degree is 14.5°. Maybe it is nearer 1995 than 1990. April 1999

1997

this is one of the best 1997s made at Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and is in great shape still. Tender red colour, legs down the glass, not a big robe; elegant, strawberry jam aroma that travels across the glass – it is still young, hardly developed, and age will only serve to vary it and benefit it, especially in the next 5 years. For now, there is some high tone in with a beef, herb, licorice mix. Has a soft, but really agreeable red fruits flavour: on the palate, this offers bang on the mark drinking now. It is not a big wine, but has a lovely run of fruit, is very expressive. Attractive, it extends in a well-fashioned way, gives a smooth ride. It is helped by its non-Grenache vines that lend it extra security and frame in this often tricky vintage. 2019-21 Sept 2009 Previously April 1999 **(*) spice, cherry aroma in a quite stylish bouquet that is fairly full. The palate carries some blackcurrant fruit, with a little tannic support towards the finish – this is a three-quarter weight year. A nice arm of sweetness reaches out at the end, helping its length. There is the possibility of some aromatic complexity as it ages. 14°. Bottled 2 weeks ago. 2015-18 April 1999. “A very Mourvèdre year for us,” V.Avril. Small yield of 29 hl/ha, with some coulure or failure of fruit formation on the Grenache. Harvested 20 Sept.

1996

pepper top note on a heated, powerful bouquet. The palate is firm, and starting to close up. Markedly more upright than 1997. Its tannins accentuate as it closes – this can be put aside for around six years, until about 2004-05. Bottled March 1998. 2015-18 April 1999 Only 27 hl/ha this year.

1995

some advance in the red robe; Has a firm, gamey nose that comes in a meaty style. This is an upright, intense and varied wine; black fruits lead the way, but it is still throwing off its tannins. I hope it will come round – this is a stern vintage. Leave until 2005-06. 2019-22 Nov 2002 Previously April 1999 ***** (half bottle, chez les Avril) slight evolution in its pretty red robe; Discreet bouquet, more closed than open – shows a touch of pepper mingling with nice black fruit aromas. Tight balck fruit commences the palate – there is plenty packed tightly together here, a lot of elements. Licorice on the finish – this is shutting up shop. Leave until 2004. The finish is very varied and mixed, with herbs uppermost. It is Mourvèdre-like now, with this closed imprint. 2020-25 April 1999

1994

some advance on the robe – ruby tints. Plenty going on in the bouquet – it is funky and robust, with olives, cooked fruits, prune, a little tea and grilled notes, too. The palate is hearty and quite robust, with a full nature. Plenty of matter at first, then a drier phase and some heat on the chewy, still a bit tannic finish. Has a blackberry, brambly fruit flavour. A feisty wine for the men of elegance. 2012-15 April 1999 Only 24 hl/ha this year - with coulure or failure of fruit formation on the Grenache.

1990

bright and full robe, has a bustling depth. The bouquet shows the most insistent, Mourvèdre-inspired dark fruit strength, comes with a plum fruit depth and mystery in its spice- floral tones. It shows ripeness, prune depth, has a sweet inner heart. The palate offers great southern gras, a lovely fat, with the impact of tannins that are ripe, firm, crisp. It bears the great fullness or plenitude of the vintage, faithfully delivered  and in sparkling form still. It is sweet and succulent, thick in texture, and loosens up as it opens. It still has a long, aromatic stretch, a very good mid-palate that is full and prolonged, with a fine grain, perfumed ending. It is very clear, has good grip, is tight as a drum as it closes on the Mourvèdre, which is a big influence in the wine – no change from previous tastings, thus. The balance is primo here. 2029-31  chez Steven Spurrier, London  Dec 2014, Previously March 2005 ***** ruby robe. Broad, full bouquet - red stone fruits, compact aromas with a slight fungal edge, white pepper in background, smoky - plenty here. Rich core to palate, its outer edge is ripely tannic. Has the jam texture of its vintage, its black fruits are tightly packed. Very good length. More reserved than in the recent past. Stately wine, on this showing is more southern and sweeter than a recent vintage like 2004. Combines the elegance of Bordeaux with the warmth of the south - the Mourvèdre role here. 2019-21 March 2005, Cheltenham, England  Previously April 2004 ****(*) matt red with a garnet top to the robe; The nose is tight, cedary and spiced. The first impression is one of elegance, with smoky aspects. There is a hint of damp leaf and stalk, cherry and kirsch touches. The palate presents a good weave of rather upright fruit, far removed from the glossy lips Grenache Châteauneufs of 1990 by and large. The fruit is plum-like, pebbly, has tar notes. It is still restrained, and if anything has shut down since earlier tastings. It is a spiced, cigar box drink just now, tarry and tangy. It doesn’t hug you – it is more respectful than that. I would leave until 2006 on this showing. 2019-22  April 2004, East Sussex