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The Wines

equal shares of Grenache blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Picpoul, Picardin (since 2000), steel vat fermented at 12°-16°C (down from 18-21°C in late 2000s), raised on lees 6 months, fined before Christmas, malo blocked, 8-10,000 b

2016 ()

yellow robe, good lustre. Has a firm Pear William aroma, aniseed notes, light honey, apricot juice in the mix. There is enveloping gras richness on the palate, squeezy and generous, a white fruits compote, stewed fruits. It ends with suave content, is open and flattering as it stands now, meaning that I would leave it until 2022-23. The flavour delivers plums, greengage, Reine Claude, and slight late tannin. It has a good structure for a long life. It ends on aniseed, is a proper table wine. “I send a thank-you to the Bourboulenc and Picpoul this year for their freshness,” Vincent Avril. Bottled Feb 2017. 2035-37 Oct 2017 GB £265 6 b i/b J&B https://www.justerinis.com/latest-offers/rhone-2016-en-primeur-1879

2015

yellow robe. Peach-white plum lead the bouquet which is attractively round and engaging, curvy. There are outlierts of oiliness, infused tea, aniseed de Marseille. The palate commences on pear with peach, then gives a good gain in grip, tightness. There is grounding, crunch towards the finish, where it grips via its glycerol. It’s true sudiste/southern wine, STGT in the glass. I wouldn’t go for this young, and would wait until around 2021-22: any earlier, and you are merely scratching the surface. Bottled first week of March 2016. “It is 30% Bourboulenc and Picpoul – they play a large role in hot years like 2015 and 2016,” Vincent Avril. 14.5°. 2034-37 Oct 2016 GB Fine & Rare Wines £549 12 b or £275 6 mags i/b www.frw.co.uk customerservice@frw.co.uk +44(0)207 089 7400

2014 ()

fine yellow robe. Peach and pear along with a light air of melon show on the nose, which also brings out acacia flowers, dried fruits, toasted nuts, aniseed: plenty going on here, much youthful exuberance. The palate is a deft mix of elegant gras richness and freshness, with cut and close, precise detail of its fruit. Quince and white plum flavours lie at its centre. The finish is firm, comes with glow, brings in some tannin, along with aniseed-fennel cut. Very unformed, juvenile wine – it’s all to come here. I would wait until 2023-24, and get involved as it becomes more complex. 13.7°. “The alcohol is lower than usual, and the acidity is higher. The loss of Grenache blanc meant that the Bourboulenc/Picpoul combination rose from 30% to 40% this year,” Vincent Avril. 2037-40 GB £160/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015

2013 ()

fine yellow; there are savoury, camomile tea notes, light white plum airs, greengage, brioche on the nose. It’s attractive, has a steady depth, a peach note. This is fleshing out well on the palate; it holds a licorice, fruit pastry tart flavour, with sound, quite firm gras richness at the end. It can expand its length over time. There are light honeyed notes, is rounding now. Decant this. There are nice, savoury laps of flavour on the finale. 2032-36 Oct 2015 Previously Oct 2014 **** bright, yellow hue. The nose is rich and expressive with pear and peach notes. Stays long on the fruit. The palate is identical, but with a minerally freshness. It shows plenty of zip and length, produces an aniseed note on the finish. Drinking well now until it closes (2016), then again from 2021 when a honeyed/jam or confit fruit complexity should appear. Less Grenache blanc in the blend due to coulure. 13.6°. 2023-25. JL Oct 2014

2012

bright yellow. The nose is lovely – fresh as a daisy, with low-key complexity, smoke and mineral, a discreet air of apricot. It’s a winsome, mysterious, graceful bouquet, reminds me of early summer flowers. This is good, tight, stylish, has a flavour of roasted nuts, white fruits leaning towards peach, aniseed and fennel at half way. It has good balance, good grip. This is a great, a very bonny wine – class in the glass. 2030-32 Oct 2017 Previously Nov 2013 ***** shiny, fine yellow; white peach, appealing summer scents and flowers on the nose: an interesting bouquet, has genuine Rhône depth, gras and bounty that are well channelled. There is a very good transfer from the nose to the palate: the white fruits are fine, accompanied by licorice and aniseed. Tender wine which is a good whole, while its acidity and degree work together. Hazelnut is marked, while there is a nectarine skin taste also. There is round, appealing late content, a delightful final point of aniseed. The texture and aroma are lovely here. “The Picpoul and the Bourboulenc are hyper important in a year like this; the Grenache blanc risks too high a degree; maturity was very good this year,” Vincent Avril. “Drink it with turbot, salmon, lobster à la plancha.” Drink until 2015, then it will shut down, so revert from 2021. Less Grenache blanc this year (10%) after coulure and and 1% more of each of the other varieties. 8,000 b this year. 14.5°. 2031-32  Nov 2013

2011

healthy, rich aspect to the robe, which is a medium depth yellow with fine legs down the glass. Peanut-hazelnut and white fruit skins aroma, with a light undernote of pineapple, guava and vanilla. This is varying as it evolves. The palate has a toffee, brioche bread aspect in its bearing, sponge cake. There are flavours of cooked citrus, orange here, along with almond. It grips well on the finish, though is a touch quiet just before then. It has enough body to do well, but I prefer 2012 for its flair, freshness and true ensemble. 2011 is a very table wine suited to sauced dishes, even Vieille France cuisine. 14°. 2029-31  Nov 2013 Previously Dec 2012 **** pale yellow. Lovely, big, open and wide nose, very expressive: it is led by peach and pear fruit, cooked apple, along with honey and vanilla, the fat of white raisins. The palate delivers early gras, an immediate round flavour with a cooked fruits ripeness. There is an agreeable late pear, pear skin content. It ends clearly. Drink now until 2014, or drink from 2018-19. Bonny wine. “The Bourboulenc and the Picpoul help its minerality,” Vincent Avril. 2028-29  Dec 2012

2010

fruity, pale yellow. The bouquet is starting to close, evolve: hazelnut, nougat, lemon marmalade combine, plus pear and straw – it is a full start, no surprise given the vintage. The palate is smoky, greengage and peach-flavoured – there is a lot of wine in the glass, and is both mineral and gras. There is a wide spread across the palate, and a good rump of gras. A take your time wine, which ends on quiet glow, will run a long distance. Has the potential to be impressive. Decant this. 2028-30  Dec 2012  Previously Dec 2011 **** 2 bottles tried: Bottle 1 not quite on the mark, with pronounced carbonic gas - fine yellow robe. Open, engaging nose – banana, dried fruits, pear, aniseed, cooked apple, light honey – it flies nicely, and is varied. The palate has a fresh outer, a ripe inner, shows carbonic gas as well. It ends on honey, white raisin. Bottle 2: hoping for less carbonic gas, thus: similar nose, cooked apple and pear and other airs, white raisin, is nicely ripe. Pear, hazelnut, Northern Rhône style aroma, white raisin, aniseed and citrus influences. It ends clearly – shows a good combination of nerve and gras richness. It sustains well, travels in a straight line, not in excess. There is content here, is a wine that will gain in matter and its expression over time. I would wait for this. From 2017 for having more to it, more matter, more variety. Bottled 1st week of March, 2011. 2027-29 Dec 2011

2009 ()

glinting pale yellow. The nose is starting to round out – honey-apricot, has a backstop of white truffle, vanilla pod, with pear and dried fruits. The nose is striking. “Its aromas were the same as 2010 when young,” V.Avril. Honeyed, mineral palate that has grip and a light, assured touch. A fine wine with hidden power, that is gradually starting to shut down. Its length is very sure, delivered with light touch and grip. The aftertaste is smoky. 2028-30 Dec 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ****(*) quite a full yellow; hazelnut lead aroma with aniseed, also butter behind – a tight but potentially generous nose. Has a good dried fruits flavour, along with aniseed which means there is freshness. It is richly textured in the 2009 vein, and the fruit is accompanied by vanilla moments. A thorough run of sturdy flavour here, a wine that must be drunk with food, classic dishes. Its power will see it going until 2028 or so. “I would love a grilled lobster, lobster à la plancha with this,” Vincent Avril. Oct 2010

2008 ()

glinting yellow colour; sprightly, clear and well varied nose that assembles apricot, aniseed, mineral, fennel, spice, hazelnut, a lot going on, and a classic cooler year mixed bag. The flavour is fine, honeyed – this is suited to la table, with its clarity prominent. Its slightly loose fabric will close up, and it will gain weight as it ages. Be in no hurry – this is a prime example of an age-worthy white Châteauneuf. A long-term wine. 2027-30 Oct 2010

2007

steady yellow robe. Has an open, waxen, honey with fennel or aniseed, peach and flowers aroma – I think that qualifies for “abundant variety” - and Poire William floats in the air, too. It has dried fruits, vanilla flavours, with honey and hazelnut or almond. A good, rocking wine with energy and ripeness. The aftertaste is spiced. 2024-26. “It will be OK for another year, then it will close down,” V.Avril. Nov 2008

2006 ()

yellow robe, gold tints. Roasted nuts, almonds lead the nose with a wee honey note, a hint of petrol. I can sense its inner depth. The palate is stylishly rich, holds real good content, has stuff waiting to get out. It’s not yet out and about as it could be. This is very deep, both on noise and palate, without being obvious. There is good, fresh, pure juice on the close, with nicely thick content. It’s suited to Vieille France, sauced cuisine. 2028-31 Oct 2017 Previously Nov 2007 *** yellow tones in the robe; has a buttery, lime tart nose – hazelnut, greengage, vanilla and some marked apricot. The palate is soft and buttery on the attack – it is starting to shut down now, lulls, then gets going after half way, and expands into a honeycomb aftertaste. The texture is rich. There is a we bit of end power and gasp, a definite late sinew. 14°. 2022-24 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 **(*) very aniseed, also pear and a little grapefruit and peach in an elegant bouquet. Peach flavour, and plenty of late grip, shows hints of power late on. Is a rich, heated wine, and out comes a late lime marmalade, orange peel taste. Is a bit top heavy. Too rich for aperitif – eat bass, turbot, lobster with this, but not shellfish. 2018-20 “We have had the grapefruit and peach combination for a year, now,” V.Avril Nov 2007

2005

full yellow robe with some advance. Has an alert, complex bouquet, salted nuts, greengage plum, dried apricot, light petrol, with aniseed. It’s a striking, light on its feet bouquet. The palate is more reserved, attacks on a well-knit content with white stone fruit, hazelnut, freshness and tang, vanilla towards the finish. It grips well, with a butty knot, as it closes. It’s still on the vintage effect via its closed fist. Decanting advised. 2030-33 Oct 2015 Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) tangy, salty, delightful peach aroma with some pineapple and grapefruit that will fade within a year or so. Buttery, flan flavour on palate, with spice present, then fennel-aniseed on the finish. There are also grilled almonds and honey touches in the flavour. Solid wine, plenty here. 2022-25 Dec 2006 “There should be fruit for two years, then a mineral period for 5-8 years, when there is almost Riesling, with a petrol tang,” Vincent Avril.

2004 ()

has a citronelle, refined, mineral-toned bouquet, that carries white pepper and a wee note of banana flambé. The palate is at a closedown stage, is restrained and on its sinew with white fruits such as peach and almond – is fresh, with grippy mineral late in the day. Food is needed for this, and if you have to drink it now, decant it. I would put it aside until 2010, for instance. There is a light flan note on the clear finish, with some heat. 2020-22 Nov 2007 “2006 has similar acidity to this,” V.Avril. Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) gentle bouquet of white fruits, a little honey and varnish – on the point of closing down. Peach-flavoured start, with a mineral tang and some grapefruit. Fresh and elegant at thend. Beau Vin – lots of elegance in it shape and texture. Delightful white fruit on the finish. Will become round and tasty. 14°. 2022-25 Dec 2006 Previously March 2005 ***(*) peat smoke, peach/pear aroma, has an individual style. Good, rounded, attractive palate, is rich, length good also. Classy wine, a mix of warmth and refinement. Mid-palate is rich, too. Clean finish. 2015-20 March 2005

2003

quite a solid bouquet – dried fruits with a mineral content, licorice and fennel touches, also honey. The palate is closing up, starting its shut down. The dried apricot taste is fringed by mineral and spice, the wine is long. Forceful and wide at the end, this possesses a red wine shape and sequence – finishes with a chewy, robust texture. Clear, mineral aftertaste. Esp from 2012 now. 2023-26 Dec 2006 Previously March 2005 *** melted butter, lime aroma, is beefy, holds quiet power. Reserved, broad palate, a near-tannic finale ("there was a lot of dry extract" V Avril). Chunky, but more to come, since holds its richness well. Some alcohol on a dried fruits finish, is sold and clean there. More square than the 2004. Esp 2007-08 onwards. I would expect it to fall dumb in the meantime. 2017-19 March 2005

2002

full yellow. Dried fruits, beeswax, quince paste, almonds, pear in syrup swirl on the nose. There are mixed prompts- it’s interesting, very good. The palate is just on the cusp – it is still fat, but fringed with more dry notions, dried fruits, peach and honey. It tapers slightly towards the finish, but is still going. It’s fresh overall. 2025-26 Oct 2017

2001

a grand yellow robe. Has a Riesling, petrol aroma that is sparky and fresh, holds quince fruit and some honey and nougat. The palate is flavoured by brioche, peach and pear fruit, traces of honey and flinty, aniseed touches. A great bundle of flavours and dried fruits. A wine of good grip, a complex wine that has lots of character. 2022-24  Dec 2012  Previously Nov 2008 ****(*) the nose is becoming interesting – citron, mineral, salty airs with peach as the leading fruit. This has a bonny flavour, really unusual – it mixes almond paste with a salty tang. It is classy, has a good, smooth texture. There is late acidity, and it is very live, finishing well, clear as a bell. Fennel and aniseed mingle on the aftertaste. 2018-21 Nov 2008 Previously Nov 2007 **** the robe is a light yellow with a bit of evolution apparent. The aromas mix a little honey, damp wool and a fungal air, with even some Beaufort cheese – very typical white Rhône as it ages. Is expressive and changing in a good, open way – doing that well. There is a clean-winded start to the palate, with a good mid to late palate bearing elegant richness and a pleasing touch of late pepper. Finishes with a slight tannic couch, and shows a lot variety after half way: it is hard to be precise, but there are hints of petrol on the finish. Has a bonny bit of rigour now, is an interesting wine. You wouldn't know it was from the Rhône. “At 10 years, this can be mistaken for a Meursault if served blind. It also wouldn`t have this freshness if we used oak on it,” Vincent Avril. Esp 2009 on. 2022-24 Nov 2007

2000

almond, tangerine, mineral-laced bouquet, shows evolution, its second phase is coming along (signs of rotted fruit aromas, not unpleasant though). Solid wine, has its feet on the ground, holds a direct appeal, is frank. Buttered, firm end, and marked minerality on the aftertaste. Decant to obtain its best expression. Turbot, grilled lobster, red mullet, omble de chevalier all a delight with this. 2017-19 March 2005

1999 ()

yellow robe, one or two lime glints. The nose starts out a bit oxidatively, but gains serenity and roundness. It is varied, complex: it shows dried fruits, nuts, raisin, has a candy and lime element, resembles rich Marsanne wine. The palate grips well on the attack, has a lining of firm flavour and bite: there is a touch of tannin present, no doubt. There is a quiet late glow. It has a smooth texture all the same, a mature roundness, the fruit resembling ripe pear and apple. Good length. A stylish, beau vin but also truly southern thanks to its ripe, rich heart, its warmth. Day 2: oxidative style, with gras, persistence. A wine you can drink well and enjoy its twists and turns over several days. Excellent with plaice, pork loin. 14°. 2020-23  Oct 2010, East Sussex Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) citron, peach, quince paste aromas mingle with spiced apricot on the nose. Toasted, cautious start to the palate, but then it really blossoms. Good and very ample gras on the end, and a silky texture later on. Not yet at its maximum white fruit display. Long, spiced, puckish finale. Interesting, a wine opf character. The aftertaste is also perfumed with flowers and violets. Absolutely proves the case for the Clos des Papes white wines that are wonderful with age. No wonder most 3 star restaurants serve them. 2019-23 “Now it’s in a full mineral stage,” Vincent Avril. Dec 2006 Previously Dec 2004 **** white fruit, candy, bonbon style – it is reserved, a bit dumb just now, which is no surprise on all known form. There is a mix of nut and apricot in the flavour, some flan. The texture here is appealing. It is pretty, has southern gras richness at  its heart, is at a sweet stage before its later complexity. The length is sound and nutty. There is a note of vanilla pod on the aftertaste. Dec 2004, East Sussex

1998

deep yellow robe. Has a caramel-peach aroma, is very grapey, has airs of brioche, grilled almonds. The palate is on aniseed de Marseille, quince, with a texture of gras richness, good late grip, a smoked aftertaste. It holds joli, neat gras richness. The length is good, with cut, detail. This is a connoisseur’s wine. 2024-25 Oct 2017 Previously March 2005 ****(*) even yellow robe; damp wool, with vanilla-honey trying to winkle through its evolved first air, has a Fino sherry note as well, and a clear, nutty tang. I see that the damp wool was also apparent in March 2005. After 30 minutes, it loses that damp wool, and evolves into vanilla, and a peanut richness. The palate mixes up dried fruits, a biscuity, white raisin flavour with fair late gras richness. I am not quite sure if it is “old” or “mature” – it is in transition between the two, but air will clarify it. Heat glows on the aftertaste. The texture is ripe, and the wine has late grip and mineral. Fresh lobster brings out aniseed strongly on the finish. Complex, well worth the extended keeping. 14°. 2020-22 Aug 2011 Previously March 2005 **** damp wool/petrol style bouquet, mineral and elegant. Interesting palate, mixes well some freshness and then an understated richness. Clean length, some aniseed late on. At a prime stage now, its variety of great appeal, and its harmony assured. Very long and fresh finish. Delicious apricot aftertaste. STGT wine. 2016-18 March 2005