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The Wines

40-60% Grenache blanc (1940s-1960s, 1997), 20-30% Clairette blanche (1950s-1960s, 1997), both vat fermented, raised 7-8 months, lees stirred, 20-30% Roussanne (1982-83) 80% new, 20% 1-year 228-litre oak cask fermented, raised 7-8 months, lees stirred, malo completed, 3-5,000 b

2018 ()

yellow robe, a little transparent at the top. The bouquet suggests sponge cake, some rum seasoning, has discreet intensity. The palate holds a steady richness, with pockets of white raisin in the flavour, a note that is a little burnt towards the finish. It’s under wraps, but has a steady length, and will suit sauced dishes, poultry, for example. The finish is clear. 14°. 4,000 b. 60% Gren bl, 20% Rouss, 20% Clair. Bottled May 2019. €33. From spring 2020, decanting helpful. 2029-31 Oct 2019

2017

attractive yellow colour; the bouquet has a discreet line of lime fruit, toasting and white raisin included. The palate gives enjoyable, well sustained rolling content, the fleshy style of 2017 with an increase in drive, assertion, like a red wine, before the close, which is a little tannic, bears thick juice. This is vigorous, carries garrigue notions, gorse, aniseed. It demands bold flavoured dishes. Decanting helpful. 15°. 4,000 b. 40% Gren bl, 40% Clair bl, 20% Rouss. Bottled May 2018. €31. 2032-34 Oct 2018

2016

shiny, lustrous, fine yellow robe. Has a pear essence, pear drops sweets aroma with a breezy note of grapefruit, Cavaillon melon. It’s rather exotic, has hints of gunflint, mandarin. This is most enjoyable immediately, holds squeezy gras with a plump and juicy tenor. It has a white fruits, dried fruits, pear skin flavour. The finish shows a little tannic lining. This is very good, satisfying Châteauneuf blanc for la table, freshness a key attribute, with southern gras at its heart. It’s not quite fully out yet on the finish. Decanting advised. 14°. 2027-29 April 2018

2015

shiny fine yellow robe. Elder, pear, candy, sherbet lemon mix on the nose. The palate is fresh, a little stretched from low temperature fermentation; it has a light candy and white fruit jam revival towards the finish. It’s slightly arm’s length. 14.5°. 3,000 b. Bottled May 2016. 2021-22  Sept 2016

2014 ()

shiny, bright yellow colour. Decant this since the nose is reduced: there is a white stone fruit hover, along with a crisp air of aniseed. The palate starts with an alert offer of white fruit that builds gras richness as it goes. This is linear wine for now, but can gain depth and flesh. The finish is live, brings in a pear fruiting and infused herbal tea. Clean and well defined. From spring 2016. 14°. 4,000 b. €31. Bottled Aug 2015. 40% Gren bl, 30% Clair, 30% Rouss. 2025-26  Oct 2015 

2013

yellow robe, plenty of legs. There is a prominent air of toast on the nose, which prevails over other influences, so there is a buttery second level air. There is some pear fruit present, but it is subdued now. The aromas include pineapple chunks, and on Day 2, honey and apricot, and strong toasting. The palate is compact, also oaked – very obviously. It works on gras and glycerol, and is destined for food rather than the aperitif. This is much more oaked than usual. There is a flavour of dried fruits and also aniseed on a tight finish. I would leave it until spring 2016 – it is very on its oak now. Day 2: clamped down by its oak, tight. The fruit is suffering in the face of the oak. 14°. 2025-27 Jan 2015 Previously Oct 2014 ***(*) pale yellow/gold hue. The bouquet has a slightly toasted entry that leads on to stone fruit aromas. The palate is round and creamy, holds lots of gras richness and glycerol. Definitely a food wine. Full and broad on the finish. Bottle age should offer further interest. From spring 2015. 2024-26   JL Oct 2014

2011 ()

shiny, pale yellow, legs. Petrol, “High” white fruits on the turn feature on the nose, airs of bread crust, nut come with a Bergamot-mandarin strip of cut, white raisin and vanilla also. There is a light oak presence. A banana flavour is prominent on the palate for now, and that gummy style prevails too much, rendering it cumbersome, needing sauced foods. As a weighty wine, it is best drunk with veal aux morilles (wild mushrooms), for instance. Some reduction hovers. The oak on the end makes it a bit singed. Decant this, but also wait to drink it. I would rate it higher at ***(*) from 2016, when the influence of its vinification is lower, and it has eased into a more local stride. 14.5°. 50% GB, 25% Cl, 25% R, bottled May 2012 this year. €30. 2023-25  Dec 2012

2010 ()

medium yellow robe; dried fruits, apricot-honey aroma that is indeed inviting. The palate is classy – shows lime, nut, flan touches, is full and flowing. Very pretty – bravo. Serene, balanced wine. 2021-22 Feb 2012

2009 ()

pale yellow; fresh outer air that reflects lime, but there is substance behind, light toast, smoke – for now the bouquet is upright. Easy, breezy wine on the palate, with tints of oak in it. Not yet really defined, with the oaking blocking access for now. Has a fair amount of matter within. From late 2012. 14.5°. 2019-21 Oct 2010

2008

pale robe, green tints. The first aroma is buttery, creamy, baked fruit tart in the air – it is forward, open. As it breathes, it shows more salty, mineral notes, gets going. This is a stocky wine, a compact do: oak emerges from the flan flavour at the end, and its acidity is decent. Balance is OK, but it ends a little droopily, a shade lactic. Suited to Vacherin cheese, for instance. Can run along over time. 2016-17 Dec 2009

2007 ()

steady yellow robe, with legs down the glass. The bouquet comes from the banana-pineapple, brown sugar school – it is a rich by design affair, also carrying cooked pear, hazelnut, spice and an alcoholic power theme. On the palate, it is a buttery, fat style of Châteauneuf – it comes all very much on that roundness and squeeze in the texture. The butter lead stems from the Grenache blanc, and no doubt the late lime or snap is contributed by the Roussanne. Oak is apparent on the finish. From late 2009. 2018-20 Nov 2008

2006

buttery, with a hazelnut middle aroma, and a little toasting from the oak. The palate shows a good mix of richness and grip. Some pineapple, exotic fruit tangs from the Roussanne and its oaking at the end. Persists, with a clear finish. This is a good year for the white. Broad, but fresh also. Will be great around 2013. 2018-20 Nov 2007

2005 ()

toasted, honeyed nose with a light sense of breakfast marmalade. Broad, ripe fruit on a fleshy palate. There are oak outcrops at the end. Nice rich heart, but best to drink this when the oak is less obvious, eg around 2009 onwards. To 2014-16 June 2006

2004

pretty white fruits bouquet, good clean depth, honeysuckle, pear also. Rounded attack, peach, pear flavour, elegant. Length is good, clean, mineral ending. Round and rich white wine, in the house style. Some spice to jazz up the finish. July 2005

2003 ()

yellow robe, light gold. The nose is just turning to its second stage – presents a flan, banana ensemble, dried apricots, a touch of barley sugar. The palate is savoury, rich and well-founded, and runs on well – this is a clean-winded wine, even though it is 2003. Has a butterscotch flavour (2003) and a honeyed end with a good, clear mineral strike. “There was less Roussanne because of the extreme heat - 20% - and more Clairette – 40% - this year. I got on with picking the whites early – the end of August – this year, except for the Clairette that I left until 15-20 September,” Christophe Sabon. The length is good. It is right on the button now. 2014-15 Nov 2007