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The Wines

70-80% Grenache (1970s, mid-1950s), 15-30% Syrah, 0-3% Muscardin, 0-2% Cinsault from galet stone covered siliceous-clay soils on Les Coulets (S-E), Pied-Redon (S-E), Relagnes (E), destemmed, 3-5 week vinification at 30°C in 90% steel vat, 10% tronconic oak vat, pumping overs, part vat emptying/refilling, aged 50-70% steel vat 18 months, 20-30% 1-6 year 550-litre oak casks, 10% new 228-litre oak casks, 10% 1-6 year 228-litre oak casks 12 months, then cask wine raised further 6 months in steel vat (until 2007 was 75% large 30hl barrel (new 2004), new 550-litre casks, 25% vat 12 months), unfined, lightly filtered, organic wine, 12-15,000 b

2017

(casks/steel vat) medium depth, Grenache-centric robe. The nose is spiced, on red berry fruits that are rather stewed in nature. It’s not varied yet. The palate is compact, bears a flavour of spice and strawberry jam with fair quality, slightly furry tannins in tow. It’s a wee bit stringy. The finish is a mixed bag, not fully coherent, red stone fruits and pressing tannins there. This is a traditional style Châteauneuf, not top rank in that field. 14.5°. 12,000 b. 70% Gren, 30% Syr. From 2021. 2036-38 Oct 2018

2016 ()

(vat/casks) deep red colour. The bouquet leans towards a heady cocktail of grilling, cooked plums, liqueur raspberry, dates, ripe stone fruits, crushed nutshells. It’s an imposing, very broad start. The palate is concentrated, wholesome, has a deeply set abundance of red fruits with great persistence, a real charge. Its degree fits in well, making it genuine and true, a very good 2016, no doubt value for money. 14.5°. 70% Gren, 30% Syrah. From late 2019-2020. 2039-41 Oct 2017

2015

(large barrel/casks) medium red robe. The nose has a brewed aspect, cooked strawberry fruit, some damp vegetation and reduction. It’s not an ensemble. The palate is stoked by assertive red fruits with a leaning towards liqueur. This is a Wild Child that needs leaving until 2019. It lacks the finesse of the leaders, but has honest depth of content. 14.8°. 2033-35 Sept 2016

2012 ()

(vat) dark red; brewed, capacious bouquet with a coffee and treacle intensity, a build-up of dark berry, loganberry. The nose is potentially elegant, attractively full and just now is quite weighty. This runs well to and fro, across the palate, bearing sleek black cherry fruit, its texture oily and engaging, allowing a lip smack. High quality fruit that continues very well here. It moves into a good, cool late zone accompanied by ripe tannins, its sign-off inviting further drinking. Good balance. This has a modern take, shows oaking. From mid-2016. 15°. 75% Gren, 20% Syr, 5% Cins, 15,000 b. 2030-32  Nov 2013

2011 ()

good shiny red. There is a cool clarity in its red liqueur fruit aroma, with a plump- centre to it. The fruit combines raspberry and cassis. The nose isn’t especially deep. This is built around Grenache, with a glistening tannin and good, authentic thrust towards the finish. There is some tang, scorching in the flavour, a little rawness. This is all about the next stage. It has sound elements, and decent, smoky length. From 2015. 15°. 2025-26  Dec 2012

2010 ()

medium depth red, legs down the glass. The nose is settling down, still has the fresh vintage top air, but there is pure red fruit within, and the ash note of the vintage. The palate is accessible now – it bears tasty red fruit that has some poise and style, running freely. It picks up pebbly, uplift tannins through the palate, ending clearly with matter and garrigue touches on the finish. Good wine, in the STGT zone. From late 2012. €18 is an OK price at the cellars. 2030-33 Dec 2011

2009 ()

mild red colour; cherry jelly centre to the nose, which shows fungal, earthy notes, is a bit “high”. Juicy debut to the palate, a sweet swill of Grenache fruit, red jam; it loosens towards the end, is workmanlike, lacks inspiration. 15°. Now to 2020. Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 *** (steel vat, casks) full red; compact, consistent nose – bright fruit but power hovers, is a wide and a bit throbbing affair. The palate is a big boy, its depth of fruit evident, has gras and drive, ends rather on the dry, also chalky moments for now. From late 2012. 2028-30 Oct 2010

2007 ()

(cask/barrel sample) handsome dark red; there is a raspberry aroma behind a smoky bacon outer air – this nose is compact, a shade cautious today – it shows oak, and suggests finesse. There is even-handed black fruit with a well-set grain in it on the palate. It takes on tannin and oak as it goes, ends securely, and is balanced. The aftertaste has a bonny raspberry flavour. Modern, approachable wine that is a touch “spotless”. Charming drinking – one would easily call for more. 2019-20 Nov 2008

2006 ()

the robe is still dark. Cocoa-mocha lead aroma with sweet tea, prunes soaked in syrup – the nose is rich. The palate is also rich, has a soaked, rather weighty mid-palate. It extends on grain, the residue of oak, has been a Power by Design wine. It is pretty broad at the end, and is still living on vigour and the oak raising. The longer the wait, the less the cellar and its charry darkness will play a role. 15°. 2023-25  Dec 2012  Previously Nov 2007 ***(*) (example from oak) red plum, quite an intense robe; richly lined bouquet, contains black berries with prolonged depth, and is also smoky with some animal and funkiness present. Has a bright black cherry, black berry start to the palate, which is wholesome and full. The tannins are a little peppery and add some late energy. The length is good, and this is very orderly in its sequence is very orderly. The non-Grenache elements here add pepper and tar. It persists well, and has some final late raisin and sweetness. Promising before its bottling. From 2010. 2022-24  Nov 2007

2005 ()

quite dark and bright robe; brewed red stone/raspberry fruit, with a gummy quality, the bouquet is wide and shows plenty of oak. The flavour sways between plum and kirsch, gains welcome grip from half way. Suavely textured, and structured to evolve. The fruit darts about with persistence and is live on the finish. A bit taut and cellar shaped now. 14.5° on label. From 2009. 2023-25 Nov 2006

2004

burnt, tarry, stalky nose, is extreme and carries oak, too. Rigid wine – burnt and upright, lacks fruit. The oak dominates it, and it’s hard to detect whether there’s any body within. A little sweet on the finish. Try in 2008, cross all fingers and toes – and hope. Oct 2006 Previously Feb 2006 *** open, supple bouquet of red fruits and marzipan. Soft, red fruits in the gourmand style on the palate. An agreeable tickle of late tannin as it tightens. Calm, steady, no frills wine. 14.5°. 2014-16 Feb 2006

2001 ()

mature, matt, opaque red with garnet at the top. Has a smoky, but refined aroma with an alert air; at this age, game is moving ahead of red berries, red cherry, and there is also high tone in it. The palate also shows a fresh knuckle, its red fruits carry a toasted siding, the length fresh. Ripe, stewed cherry along with cocoa and chocolate biscuit feature on the aftertaste. This shows the sinew of the vintage. 2016-17 Nov 2008

1998

plum colour, slight orange, ruby top glints; armpit, yes, farmyard, foxy nose – decant this or head smartly out of town. There is ripe, “high” fruit of a noted maturity, but it is still a rich foundation, even if it is drooping today (clear, cold day, 2°C, should be good for tasting). The palate is evolving, the texture full – it straightens towards the finish. Like many 1998s now, it isn't very clear-cut – it has a “gummy” but ample fruit which is Grenache-led, with the sweetness of tea in the flavour, and prune late on. It is reductive now, and needs be shaken or decanted. 14°. 2016-17 Nov 2008