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The Wines

70-85% Grenache, 10-15% Syrah, 5-15% Mourvèdre from sandy soils on Cristia (N-E), destemmed, 3 week vinification at 25-28°C, natural yeasts only, pumping overs, raised 90% concrete vat, 10% - the Syrah – oak casks 18 months, organic wine, 30-40,000 b

2018 ()

(concrete vat/large barrel, bottling March 2020) dark robe; the bouquet is oily, mysterious, full of Southern bounty, a really ripe fiesta, with soaked dark fruits and a note of buffed leather. The palate is ample, spills over with its generous portions of black stone fruit, a floral-aromatic sideline adding dimension and appeal. It’s an impressive Châteauneuf, right off the bat it goes, and surges into its finish, not overdone. 30,000 b. 14.5°. 85% Gren, 15% Syr. €30. From 2023. 2043-45 Oct 2019

2017 ()

(large barrel/concrete vat, bottling Feb 2019) full, deep red robe. The nose shows brambly black berry fruits with a good curve of appealing sweetness, touches of tar and black olives. The palate is concentrated, with a damson plum jam, blackberry filling flavour, spices attached. This moves with a steady hand, is a full and satisfying southern wine, a genuine reflection of the vintage and the lands. There’s a touch of rigour in the tannins still, so wait - from mid-2021 at the earliest. The length is good, the sign-off on encouraging spearmint clarity. 14.5°. 30,000 b. 85% Gren, 15% Syr. €30. 2042-44 Oct 2018

2015 ()

(vat/casks) dark red. There is good assurance in the nose – a clear definition of raspberry and mulberry with a sunny curve in the ripeness, has a sure depth. The palate kicks off well, picks up the baton and travels with suave, red-fruited gras. The lightly powdery tannins add an extra circle around the wine. The finish is savoury, floral, charming. The length is good, and there is toffee/oak on the close. Genuine, attractive, easy to like Châteauneuf. It has a pedigree finish, pure juice there. From 2019. 2031-33 Oct 2016

2014

bright red, appealing robe. The nose is dark, with an air of crushed blackberry, tar, a strong ripe mulberry, pepper and flashes of dry garrigue lands. The palate is full of squeezy, suave content, unfurls its full gras with open arms. The red fruit is ripe, savoury, has notes of meat stock late on. This is easy to get into, with a plump centre. The tannins give some powder on the aftertaste. From 2018, expecting good roundness all through then. 14.5°. Oct 2016

2013

(vat) medium to full purple colour. Has an expressive, red berry and spice nose – there is a big Morello cherry and raspberry jelly nuance. There is an accent on fruit on the palate, which holds plenty of juicy matter. It is sweet and perfumed, but also comes with firm, fresh tannins behind that. The palate is long and dry on the finish. A harmonious wine that will be rewarding in the glass. From 2016.  14°. 2026-28 JL Oct 2014

2012 ()

(vat, bottling March 2014) well down on Grenache this year, just 15% , with 15% each Syrah, Mourvèdre: quite a dark red; the bouquet mixes menthol clarity, cool airs with a sweet, smoked tobacco, chicken stock angle: the interior is darkly fruited, and it is building with promise. The palate has a broad, near robust start, hints of alcohol in its frame. It spreads a pretty thick layer of black fruit, a scented, prune style appearing towards the finish. The sequence is good along the palate; this is a sweetly themed wine that continues broadly, will fill the glass well. There is a garrigue note on the aftertaste. I hope its power behaves itself. Decant it. From mid-2015. 14°, 38,000 b, US$39. 2024-26  Nov 2013

2011

(vat/cask) shiny, quite dark red. Raspberry-blackberry, mulled or liqueur fruit air that comes with a loose mineral note as well. The palate gets off to a thick start, is darkly flavoured, then singed, a bit burnt, towards the finish. A wine with a hearty centre. The burn-tang, accentuated smoke-tar effect needs to integrate. Not that balanced. Needs time, can move along. From 2015. 15°. 2024-26  Dec 2012

2010 ()

attractive, full robe. Has a nicely soaked fruits air that brings in raisin and date, but is free, not overbearing. It shows a lees effect for now. There is plenty variety to come in this bouquet. It has a tasty black fruit, prune start, with a stylish build-up of flavour as it goes. Has a silken texture, and genuine Châteauneuf-du-Pape unforced, sweet roundness. It will please people a lot, and drink well young, ie 2014-18. 2024-26 Dec 2011

2009

(bottling tomorrow) full robe; smoky, supple, rather darkly fruited aroma that comes with coffee, cocoa, is deep. The palate is direct for now, offers smoky black fruit with some bite – is promising. Holds good, clear tannins that have juice in them. Genuine, local wine, in an STGT vein. From 2013. 2021-23 March 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ***(*) (vat/cask) complete, dark red robe; plum liqueur aroma, a ball of Grenache at its centre, wafts of spirit, black Indian tea. This is a big wine on the palate – offers waves of black stone, dark red fruits, with inserts of the spirit of the vintage, the high degree – so go carefully here. It builds into a surging finish, and is not a temperate wine. The palate is juicy, but a possible worry is its balance because of the degree and its possible failure of integration, especially on the finish. Local style to this is a plus. From spring 2012. 2021-23 Oct 2010 Previously Dec 2009 ***(*) (vat, an example) purple lies in a full robe. Nutty, ample bouquet – cocoa, raisin touches. It already shows a) ripe crop and b) mature, dried fruit airs. The palate has shoulders, is broad, and holds good, complete fruit, plus observable tannins late on. A butty, full wine that needs to calm its power instincts. Well textured, likely to drink from 2013 or so. 2024-26 Dec 2009

2008 ()

(vat) quite a full red robe – purple, magenta inside. Harmonious, curved aroma of red cherry or raspberry jam – there is good life in its Grenache, a touch of baked stones. There is a spice-pepper infusion in its smooth, clean texture, shows eau de vie spirit inside, precise fruit. There is a nutty moment of late tannin. It is not scaled up in any way – a realistic wine for the 2008 circumstances. The fruit is attractive, but could be deeper. From 2011. 2019-20 Dec 2009

2007 ()

rather full red robe; smoky, snappy, brooding style bouquet – baked red cherry, a criss-cross of licorice, herbs. The palate gives clean fruit, like the 2006, with stuffing around it, juicy fruit appeal. Gives the feeling that it could have more sustained depth, and that other cuvées have taken that fire away from it. Nevertheless, it drinks smoothly, elegantly, shows quiet persistence, ends on pepper and spice. A refined Châteauneuf-du-Pape, can be drunk now. 15°. 2019-20 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 *** (vat) bright, full dark plum colour; the bouquet is steeped in ripe black fruits, with some herbs running down its flanks and a little nutty grilling. The palate bears a blackberry flavour with licorice and “dark” tannins inside it; it offers a little bounty, and needs 18 months to come together. The aftertaste is fresh, clear. When seeing its identity, I wonder if its fruit, which is rather plain, is beholden to the presence of the two other Prestige wines, and suffers as a consequence. 2019-20 Nov 2008

2006 ()

still bright cherry red, ruby tints, clear robe. The nose is settling into a measured red fruit, aromatic harmony; it is set to vary, and summon herbs, local touches. The palate mixes red fruits with spice, is clear and runs freely. It is at a good moment with its youth still present, but softer notes are entering. The length is supple and there is a touch of late tannin, heat, dust. Its fruit is fine and juicy. An attractive wine moving into the zone now – STGT qualities coming through. 15°. 2018-20 Dec 2009 Previously Nov 2008 ***(*) red heart, mauve touches on robe; the bouquet is “broad-shouldered” – doesn`t really obviously show its power – and has red fruits, herbs, baked stones with sun bouncing off them. As the nose implies, this is a charged, full wine, its texture smooth – partly from its alcohol. It ends roundly, is a brooding do there. The flavour mixes red cherry and blackberry. Interesting wine with hidden corners. Leave until mid-2010 for its tannins to ease. 2019-22 Previously Nov 2007 ***(*) pretty full red with some darkness in it; black stone fruits aroma that has a wide and appealing sweetness; there is violet as well, a little raisin and chocolate. It ends quite solidly, suggesting future promise of variation and a more local air. The palate commences with black berries that hold some richness and are well-directed – this moves along well. Has a lot of sweet appeal, with Christmas cake, sweet dates and raisins on the finish that stops a little drily right at the end. Is just a bit demanding now, and best to leave until late 2009 or 2010. 2022-24 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2006 100% Grenache, an example: robe is quite dark; good grain in the nose, runs with good lines. Simply cut fruit with charm and roundness on the palate. Fresher than the 2005, and accessible – less colour and intensity than 2005. Three-quarter weight. Has charm to come. 15-18 years or so.

2005

quite a dark, bright robe; tight red fruits on nose, has a peppery topping, is a little dry but nice and pure. Harmonious, fragrant red fruits start the palate. Holds an easy charm but also has grip and is good and decisive on the finish. Good clarity, with an expressive, light touch. Balance good. From 2009 for more integration. 2018-21 Nov 2006

2004

quite a full robe; plump, aromatic nose, with baked red fruits. “I decanted this three hours ago, otherwise it would have been dumb on the nose,” Baptiste Grangeon. Nicely juiced palate, with a bonny generosity early on, is round with tannins extending it to a quite vibrant finish. Spice and jam notes at the end. Has a nice, genuine feel, local touches. From 2009. 2016-18 Previously Oct 2006 **(*) full, red/black colour; close-knit bouquet – black fruits dominate, with more to come, also a nutty air: hasn’t yet found its harmony. Wrapped up wine on the palate – dumb. Shows some black fruit with a tar/tannic edging. Non-Grenache style with its upright shape, maybe the vintage is on top. Some core, but not very deep. Esp 2008-09 on. 2014-17 Oct 2006

2003 ()

mild, interesting red colour; has a floating, touch sweet aroma with a red jam tart air to it. Sweet attack with a richness that is open and a bit low on fruit support. This is a transient wine, where the matter is not that sustained, and it drifts towards the finish. There are some scented red stone fruits and some hovering alcohol late on. Try from late 2008 for a more ensemble wine. It is difficult to judge when to drink this, since it carries so many 2003 variables and unpredictable facets. 15°. 2016-17 Nov 2007, London Previously Dec 2006 *** a little advance in quite a full red colour; smoky, peppery nose with some red meat tones underneath and hints of mineral. Pretty harmony on palate, with a fruit pastille flavour. Succulent and warm wine, is very round until some late tannins serve to dry it a little. Drink from 2008, in the expectation that the tannins will absorb and the finish will be softer. 2016-18 Dec 2006

2002

gentle bouquet, soft black fruits, prune. Is aromatic, though leans towards the upright. Sinew feel on palate, direct middle. Has gained weight since last tasted. Decent length, quietly done. Has improved. 2011-12 March 2005, London only 30% Grenache, 6,000 b. "We added Syrah and Mourvèdre to help its weight" Dominique Grangeon

2001

still dark tints in the red robe; the nose is close-knit, shows black fruits with charcoal from the oak and a lateral air of tea along with ripe red plum from its Grenache. The Grenache-inspired red fruits are squeezy and supple at the start, then from half way a more herbal, tannic grip encloses it. This is a cleanly fruited wine that is evolving well, past its oak and cellar influence of early life. Time can benefit it, allowing it to become more local, especially on the finish. Contains good southern juice. 14.7°. To 2019-20 Nov 2008