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The Wines

82-85% Grenache (av 50 yrs), 5-8% Syrah (1995), 5% Mourvèdre (early 1960s), 5% Vaccarèse (early-mid 1960s) from Les Cabrières (N-W), 1 ha L'Arnesque (N-W), Le Devès (N-W), some sand, clay-limestone, galet stones soils, light crush, whole bunch 20-25 day fermentation, 1-2 daily pumping overs, press wine added, concrete vat raised 18-21 months, fined, unfiltered, 1 bottling only, organic wine, up to 30-35,000 b

2018 ()

(vat, a good example) full red robe; has a prune, suave blackberry aroma, an expansive bouquet, comes with a sensuous, luscious side, some damp mineral tones within – that’s a good achievement for the year. The palate links nicely, glides well, delivers wholesome matter, live tannins with iron freshness, very well extended length. This engages very well, is genuine and nourishing, well made indeed, carries a lot of local colour, is STGT wine, a stand out 2018, I reckon. “It’s very gluggable, with ripe fruit. There’s not a lot acidity, but there is a lot of freshness,” Laurent Charvin. 14.7°. 2046-48 May 2019

2017 ()

(vat, final blend, bottling early July 2019) full red; this has a comely, rounded nose, blackberry fruit, coulis version, crème de menthe, sweetness, some meat gravy, musk of dried flowers, Indian ink. The palate pushes out on suave filling, has thorough heart, live tannins, inner punch, some velvet outside. There is good iron present, despite the vintage, and it comes along with some stealth. The tannins contribute energy from half way. It has the potential for ****(*), leave until 2023. “It isn’t powerful, but is very rich. I didn’t expect this – I thought it would fall into the “too much” category,” Laurent Charvin. 2045-47 May 2019

2016

dark plum red colour; there are notes of caramel, sweetness on the nose, with mint-menthol, prune fruit, raspberry, cigarette ash, lamb stock, a real box of tricks. The palate sets a good tempo right away, black stone fruit well present centrally, has live sides, freshness, with a classic gain as it goes, intricate strength, with grip and clear assertion, has even Nordic flashes in it. It’s not easy to appreciate – isn’t a vin de trottoir (passing trade), this. It will emerge very well, isn’t evident now. There’s real dance in it. Bottled July 2018. From 2024. 2045-47 May 2019 Previously Oct 2017 ***** (vat, bottling July 2018) deep, dark red colour. The bouquet packs in a variety of upbeat influences – massed herbs including sage, laurel, with cooked Damson plums from the Grenache, spice and oiliness. The palate is extremely coherent, a really good whole, full of heart and genuine, from the vineyard density. The flavour rests on spiced plum fruits for now, with tea, black olives notes towards the wide and long finish. The tannins have spark, a rockiness that gives the wine a leg of momentum as it ends. This is very good. It can become a major Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with definite individuality and complexity. 15°. 35,000 b. 82% Gren, 5% Syr, 5% Mourv, 4% Coun, 4% Vaccarèse. €30. From 2020-21. 2041-43 Oct 2017

2015 ()

ruby notes in a red robe; elder berry and blackberry airs show on the nose, cooked berries, plum – Grenache prominent in the aroma, notions of musky flowers. It’s developing variety now, can be a classic Châteauneuf bouquet in time. The palate has a fibrous, inset nature, with kick in the second half and tannins, very 2015 in style – those assertive tannins. There’s plenty of iron filings, red fruit inside, so it carries lustre and go. The nose is savoury, and the palate is revving up on its release of juice. This is a strong contender in the 2015 vintage here. “There is some resemblance to 2005, which took 10 years to come round,” Laurent Charvin. This is interesting, not obvious, so drink from 2023 at least. 2043-45 May 2019

2014 ()

plum red robe. The nose gives an air of raspberry, cooked plums with clear spicing and a soft floral presence. The palate bears cosy, rounded content, has pliant tannins that bolster the late stages sympathetically. The gras is neat, and it will please, especially from mid-2018 or so. It has the accuracy and clean lines of the vintage, is quietly gourmand wine, with raspberry coulis fruit at its centre. 14.5°. 2025-26 Sept 2016 Previously Oct 2015 **(*) (vat, bottling July 2016) mild red robe. Strawberry jam, Grenache-led first aroma, has a vegetal, peppery implant. It isn’t wholly convincing as a start, is edgy. The palate is crunched together, with rocky tendencies that prevail over a secure gras. This is a touch on the Spartan side. Needs to settle, round out, gain flesh: it has work to do. 14°. From 2018. 2025-26  Oct 2015

2013

red robe, a typical Grenache hue. The nose has a sultry, earth-bound quality about it. There is a hover of spice and perfume, mixed herbes de Provence. The palate has a suggestive roll of smoky berry fruit, takes on rocky tannins with just a hint of bend in them for now. The fruit comes in a precise nugget of juice towards the finish. This is charming, but also has an understated fullness that is most evident on the knuckled, gritty finish; there is southern glow on the aftertaste. 14°. From 2018. 2027-29 Oct 2015

2012 ()

sober dark red robe. The bouquet is broad, carries a salted, black raisin, ripe dark fruit aroma, exotic spices present and adding notes of mystery. The palate has a spiced, date and prune fruit debut, and really builds as it goes, the finish a big critter. The tannin, spice and content all jostle for position in the late stages. This evokes immediate images of the sunswept lands of Châteauneuf, and the pine trees bordering the vineyards. Lip smacking exit. Its content is lusty, and it is genuine, STGT wine that handles its degree as a good part of the package. A real game dish, autumn/winter wine. 15°. From 2018. 2030-33  Oct 2015

2011

shiny dark red; has a knit-together red berry aroma that shows a coffee intensity inside, a hint of spirit, and herb and heather airs. The palate starts on a supple note, has an oily, rather rich middle that is followed by cooler, grain moments. Solid wine without being full weight. At a raw good stage; it extends its fruit with licorice, herb and tea infusions present – they give a tang. Good typical Grenache heart in this juicy, round wine. There is plenty of rolling matter on the end. “It has balance, and its freshness is delicate; it is rich, with a tiny bit less tannin than 2010. There is a very sympa side to the 2011s,” Laurent Charvin. From 2015. 15°. Bottling in June 2013.  2026-28  Dec 2012

2010

dark, shiny, inviting red robe. Has a grilled, toasted first air – this is an exciting bouquet. Blackberry fruit resides, with garrigue herbs dotted around it. Licorice and loganberry, those dark berries, also feature. There is lots to play with here over time. The palate has a great start, a smooth-sided block of dark, black fruits, all as one. It is hardly out of short trousers, though it moves along more freely late on. The acidity is good. For now, it is sealed, and all about the future. It is definitely a pity to touch this – “unless you have blood red beef or game that hasn’t been cooked much,” (L Charvin). Classy, full, long. Decant it. Complex, a great Châteauneuf-du-Pape, just makes it into six star rating. Licorice thanks to the Mourvèdre comes through on the finish – it extends, is very long. Good hidden pockets in it, too. “It was a no worry vintage, like 2012. There weren’t a lot of grapes, but they were very healthy and needed no discarding,” Laurent Charvin. 15°. Bottled June 2012. 2033-35  Dec 2012 Previously Dec 2011 ***** (vat) dark robe; raspberry-blackberry aroma that gives plenty of fruit, nicely sweet fruit, on display with some darker, licorice-style notes in the backdrop. There is a “murmur” of herbs, lovely floral drifts. The palate commences well – an engaging mix of plump fruit and clear, fresh movement. It is all very consecutive – there is enjoyable drinking in prospect. An STGT style of Châteauneuf, one that has plenty of juice and length. It has harmony and balance in abundance. It is a softly-softly wine, very good. It is long, and finishes on a pocket of late pepper. From mid-2013. 2026-28 Dec 2011

2009 ()

quite a dark red, legs down the glass. The nose offers prune, Mirabelle plum in a rather sweet context – there is a thick density to the bouquet, also produces mint and rosemary. The palate’s flavour is a herb seasoned red berry – there is a sweet heart to this, before a near-crunchy group of late tannin. Bold, dark, licorice finale here. Robust wine that will gradually ease over time – has a thick texture for the domaine, shows the sunbeat of the vintage. Best left until 2016 to allow the finish to open up and spread a wider variety. Decant it. 14.5°. 2028-30  Dec 2012

2008 ()

mottling red colour; has a sweet-noted nose that bears plum fruit, a true Grenache air with a peppery backdrop, some chicken stock, dust from the trail. Good variety, without the depth of the hot years. The palate has a raisin, red plum flavour, is serenely textured. It takes on a fresh, menthol-licorice, clear-cut finish. An elegant, not overdone Châteauneuf that is true and pure. Has sound length, keeps going. It is a tiny bit burnt on the finish, but there are floral notes there as well. More Grenache-led than terroir-led. 14.5°. 2019-21 July 2011 Previously Nov 2009 * (vat) modest red robe; red Grenache fruit leads the nose, rather sticky jam in nature, edgy cassis: not showing bounty. The palate red fruit is transient, narrows down and tightens, bites towards the finish. Ends on some heat, has parched zones there. Never in a comfortable zone. Would certainly like to try another sample (tasted blind). Nov 2009

2007

red robe. Tea, smoke, sweet raspberry aroma here with a good, rocky cut of freedom and lift. It is good and upright, will be stylish. The palate links well to the nose. This possesses naked qualities via its pure fruit and clarity of definition. It is STGT wine, very close to its source lands. Has a smoky, garrigue exit. It is a real winner, a wine for lovers of stylish, clear wine, no make-up worn. 15°. 2031-33  Nov 2015 Previously Nov 2009 *** quite a full robe. Toffee, raisin, date aroma, charcoal traces in the air. The palate starts stiffly, has pebbly tannins intervening in front of an interior richness, before the finish comes along firmly. Has gras, but is not tasting decisively or cohesively today. From 2012. 15°. Needs time to fuse and settle some full-on elements. 2019-20 Nov 2009

2006

red robe that hasn’t evolved much, legs down glass. There is a great explosion on the nose – thyme and lavender, a garrigue drumbeat, while airs of soaked plums and raspberry come marching out. There is a lot of rosemary here, too. The palate is rich, juicy, bears live and seasoned herb red fruits – there is a lot of Grenache on display here. There are pepper-spice inserts at the end. It is good and vigorous, and is just now on its first evolution past the puppy fat of its youth. A great example of Châteauneuf-du-Pape – it is crawling over with STGT features. There is a cluster of dusty, local tannins on the finish, which is greatly fresh. In great form now. A Big Character wine, an open book. “Good with lamb in rosemary, garlic, dishes with aromatic plants. For 7 to 8 years it won’t budge, then its freshness will increase,” Laurent Charvin. 14.5°. 2027-29  Dec 2012  Previously Feb 2009 ***(*) full, thorough, handsome red colour; the nose is angular – red cherry, a dash of high tone, a nutted and stalky side to it, late raisin, and an earthy undertone. Herbal, and animal airs circulate as well = not yet organised, coherent, so wait. The palate is good and complete – very compact for now. Its couch is a red fruit Grenache that contains intrinsic heat. Reduction blurs it on the palate. From 2011. Can improve past today`s rating. 2021-23 Feb 2009 Previously Dec 2006 ***(*) (vat of 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah, sugars and malo finished) dark colour; brooding nose, plenty here. Lots of fruit, tasty tannins, nicely fresh wine. Is around 15°, but is an ensemble. Continues well through the palate, promising, life of say 18 years or so. “2006 was a very good year if you didn’t wait too long. The wines were quite easy to vinify, and I find them very pure, direct and well balanced,” L Charvin

2005 ()

there are a few ruby tints in its Grenache red colour. This is very typical 2005 in its crunchy, tight darkness: it has an aroma of exotic cigar box, with cedar prominent. There is an air of prune, cooked fig, leather. The smooth texture is an asset here – it brings in strawberry, with a not of quince at the end. Spiced wine, big time. It ends on a gummy note, which helps its roundness. Still direct with its firm vintage imprint, ends on tobacco. A young game dish would be good with this. Decant this. 14.5°. 2026-28  Dec 2012 Previously June 2008 **(*) mid-depth red; the nose has a modest dimension, red fruit with a little dampness, evolution, even mineral. The palate has quite a rich start, does most early on rather than amplifying later. It straightens, ties up, with pebbly tannins late on. Drink from 2010 and expect or hope for a boat on a more even keel then; for now it is travelling at different speeds – the gras and the tannins are not ensemble now. Raisin and chocolate aftertaste. 2018-20. June 2008 Previously Nov 2006 *** (pre-bottle) quite dark robe, with a matt hue. Brewed, berry aroma that is charming, suggests soaked raspberries. Red fruit touches on palate – soft n’easy, sweet Grenache, goes along good and simply. Will show early from 2008 on this showing, is quite rich but a little facile. Tannins need 18 months, length is OK. A wine of style, and perhaps underrated in an across-the-board tasting, where there are many Giants. This year it is 85% Grenache, 5% each Syrah, Mourvèdre, Vaccarèse. 2018-21 “I compare 2005 to 2001 – there is the same purity in them, although 2005 is a bit more concentrated.” Nov 2006

2004

mild red colour; harmonious aroma – baked plums, red fruits, lurking spice. Quite forward and open on the palate – shows a typical red fruits, Grenache start. Nice style and local character, in the STGT camp. The second half of the palate is quietly solid and holds up well. Good length. Flourishing wine – stylish and true. “I adore 2004 – there is lots of acidity and freshness, more than usual, as well as balance. They are wines that are easy to get at. I find 1999 similar to 2004, through its fruit,” Laurent Charvin. 82% Gren, 8% Syr, 5% Mourv, 5% Vaccarèse. 2015-18 Oct 2006

2003

good, mid-plus depth of red in the robe. On the nose, this is completely out of step with most 2003 Châteauneufs – it offers mild red jam, baked red fruits, flowers, coffee, and is a bit hidden. The palate delivers earthy, gummy fruit that flows continuously. It ends on a note of chocolate and a solid feel that suggests there is more to come, especially around 2011 onwards. Gains marked attitude, more thrust with air. The finish is brewed. 2022-24 March 2007

2001

good, stable, mature red – a robe with alluring depth. Spice and dust float over serious depth of cooked fruit and matter, with licorice-fennel notions: a local and varied bouquet. The palate has a tight frame, holds really crisp and free run tannins, spice and a dash of flint and aniseed lining it. This is very true to the vintage – the freshness and the reserved fullness. Cooked plum and Asiatic spices march along the palate to a tight drumbeat, tat a tat tat. The aftertaste has cut – licorice and aniseed, fennel. It simmers with power, is all very true, STGT, reflects its place and vintage. Has much character, promises a long life ahead, since it hasn’t moved much. The finish is excellent, garnering rose, pebble, red plum. 14.5°. Drunk at Sips Restaurant, South-West Harbor, Maine, USA. 2029-31  June 2012 Previously March 2003 **** (vat, bottling in three months) attractive, supple and stylish nose showing herbs, garrigue influences, violet. The palate is interesting, refined, has slow development ahead of it. It finishes broadly, is young and hiding for now. Plenty to come. 2021-23 March 2003

2000 ()

very well held plum red robe, legs down the glass. The bouquet is nicely reserved, its red fruit pure in air, floats well; light chocolate airs as well - promising and more to come. There is really good finesse on the palate, that holds red cherry fruit with bonny length and uncluttered flow. STGT wine – it shows true Grenache nature, mild late pepper, and is attractive, elegant, rounded, long. Good now. 14.5°. 82% Gren, 8% Syr, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Vaccarèse, bottled June 2002. 2018-20 Dec 2009 Previously Jan 2008 **(*) the robe is softening towards ruby. The nose has a spiced, easy red jam aroma, with a little acceptable farmyard, downhome air. The palate bears enclosed red fruit, has a stolid nature, its feet on the ground. It is transitional now. There is some richness, but the ending draws in, and the wine struggles in tasting alongside its 2000 peers. Heart food – stew, game suited to this. I would expect it to tick on more and move along with time. 2015-17 Jan 2008

1999 ()

nice full robe, has a healthy look, a ruby top, legs down the glass. Wow! Oiliness, rosemary, prune, cigar box aroma that is highly inviting, has an air of brioche, mandarin zest, cocoa, and a drift of flowers such as iris. The palate has the rich envelope of mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape, seasoned with herbs, licorice. This is true mature Grenache, marked by a plum sweet fruit line all through it. It can be drunk with thyme flavours in the dishes – its surrounding terrain. Almost OK to drink solo – it is a contemplation wine. It has a sweet date, spiced goodbye. “This is delicate Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and would actually be good with Christmas turkey, and certain cheeses – goat cheese with rosemary. I like it a lot because it is so very delicate. 1999 was considered hard, not very balanced at the end. It is still fresh, has very sweet herbs and delicacy, with just a little animal starting. The nose is very complex, not weighty. It was a no worry vintage,” Laurent Charvin. 14.5°. 2025-26  Dec 2012 Previously Dec 2006 ****(*) three-quarter robe; has an oily, chunky nose led by plum with game hints: is getting an animal side, is nutty also. There are ways to go on the bouquet`s evolution. The palate has a raspberry flavour, with a meaty side to it. There is plenty of heart in this wine, stable richness through it, delivered in a traditional style. Has a prune-coffee finish that is nice and clean. Good clarity throughout, a persistent wine that is STGT. 2019-21 Dec 2006

1998

there is a bit more red in the robe than the 1999. The bouquet spreads widely – there are airs of bacon, grilling, a strong spice cache – cinnamon, cardoman, pepper, tobacco, backed by a Grenache cooked plum tart aroma. The palate shows a nicely mature Cheauneuf texture, one that holds its gras throughout, and ends on a burst of Show Biz, flair. It is a free running wine that still bears a mineral vigour. Freshness dominates it, drives it, marks it. The second half is vibrant, live. It resides in its confirmed mineral stage now, with good pedigree. The heart of the flavour is the plum fruit richness of the Grenache, which is en finesse from its 14 years of age. “It is at the same time young, but is starting to become old. It is beau vintage, with more to it than 1999, and is a demonstrative Châteauneuf. It was an easier year to work than 1999, but 1999 was a No Worry year, unlike 1996 and 1997,” Laurent Charvin. 14.5°. 2025-27  Dec 2012

1997

(vat, 90% Gren, 5% Mourvèdre, 5% Vaccarèse this year, bottling July 1999) rather dark robe. The nose is agreeably brewed, shows discreet warmth, red fruits present. The attack and the mid-palate are nicely ample, the flavours true. There is a squeeze of sap on the finish, dark fruit and chewy aspects there. Quite thorough. Not big on tannin. 2012-14  Oct 1998

1996

decent deep robe, a little black in it. The nose is rather warm, but closed now, shows the notes of a less fully ripe year such as leather, pepper, pine, oil-resin. There is good mass on the start of the palate, sound gras. It shows a good essence of fruit and surround, is decently weighted. This is good – it has the substance to get over its rather military form now and can deliver nice complexity. The flavour is aromatic. “There is a bit more acidity, and less tannin than usual – it is almost Burgundian,” Laurent Charvin. 2011-14  Oct 1998

1995

still a full red robe; the bouquet is nice and clear – faithful to the house style; shows some heat, garrigue and has now got to a coffee stage in its evolution. The palate holds darting fruit – plenty of it, red cherry in nature. The texture is stylish – this is a wine with energy, a bit like its maker, and good clarity. 2013-15 Nov 2006 Previously Oct 1998 **** nicely dark colour. Has a big aroma of stewed black fruits, warmth in it, a hint of advance and a near dark chocolate angle. The palate is round, full, has a good, almost inky flavour, but is nicely suave, is attractive. This is long and cleanly struck, fills the palate broadly as well. Thorough, traditional, with enjoyable late tannins. “The thinking growers have woken up to paying more attention to raising their wines, with greater detail and cleaner vessels, and doing less wild extractions now, I feel,” Laurent Charvin. 2016-19  Oct 1998 Previously Oct 1996 **** (vat) quite dark, legs down glass. There is plenty in the nose – cherry, marzipan – it is already upfront, is deep. The attack is nicely full – there is good grain of fruit here , and good general make-up, running directly. Shapely, it is broad but not too pushed along. Harmonious, with some quite warmth on the finish. It is surprising how open the nose is for the time being. Plenty of life ahead. 2011-14 Oct 1996

1994

quite dark, indeed. Oily, resin-pine, rather minted bouquet with an overhang of animal, farmyard. The palate is solid, square shaped – Kermit Lynch wouldn’t like this! It has a chocolate flavouring, solid flavours, genuine matter. Good wine in its rather strict way. Leave until 2002-03 or so, and decant. 2011-14  Oct 1998  Previously Oct 1996 *** dark, black cherry colour; full, somewhat foxy nose, has a dark, wooded air. The palate has a full texture, an upright feel, needs time. Its tannins are pretty well integrated. It shows the essence of cooked fruit and some stiffness from its tannins. Expect this to develop leather notes, from the soil more than the air. Powerful wine, sound length. Needs time – from 2001. 14°. 2012-15 Oct 1996