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The Wines

60-95% Grenache (100+ years), 5-40% a secret! – a mix of Syrah, Mourvèdre and divers old vines, from 2 sandy plots towards Courthézon, Cristia and behind Nalys, destemmed, 25-35 day steel vat vinification at up to 32-33°C, daily pumping overs, part vat emptying/refillings, aged tronconic oak vat 16-18 months (before mid-2010s aged large 40 hl barrels 16-18 months), filtered, first wine 1998, if not made - the crop goes into Prestige, 2-3,000 b

2016 ()

(oak vat) good deep red robe. The bouquet is thorough, has a broad panorama, is based on a firm aroma of red fruits, red cherry and mulberry, has the depth of the vintage. The palate is well-filled, bears compact, crunched together matter with assertive tannins running across and along it. Red fruits bear intense juice, so it is a solid affair from start to finish. This breathes with inner power, but isn’t in excess. It just needs time. 15°. 95% Gren, 5% various. From 2022-23. 2039-42 Oct 2017

2015 ()

(large barrel) shiny full red. Mint and blackberry are to the fore in the clear bouquet, some prune behind, an extra ripeness and a hint of baking. The palate is liberally juiced, with a near liqueur dark red fruits presence. This goes nicely long, and has genuine content, a good mixture of juice and fresh, dark tannin. The finish is a touch baked by the rays of the year. 15°. From mid-2018. 2028-29 Sept 2016

2013 ()

(casks, bottling next month, March 2015) dark red; has a solid, nicely layered nose that offers enjoyable waves of black berry fruit and a wee note of prune – they have a smoky, airborne intensity. The palate is tasty, with a lean towards being savoury on the attack; the fruit and  texture go well together, with a pastille style after half way, but the wine remains mobile throughout. Beau, has good depth; it persists with fine tannin, a note of dates on the exit. This is a good vintage for the Secret, a cooler year to aid its balance. Only 2,000 b this year, from a more usual 3,000 b. From 2018. 2032-34  Feb 2015 Previously Oct 2014 *** (casks) dark colour. Dark fruit and a touch of sulphur show on the nose, which obscures the bouquet. There is sweet, confit fruit on the palate. It is rich and firm, but seems a little extracted. Has a hard, drying finish. Rather tough at present. Worth another visit down the line. Score reflects today’s tasting. From 2017. 15°. 2025-28 JL GB £582/6 bots Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com  Oct 2014

2012

(casks, bottling March 2014) dark robe, shine in it. Power and elegance sit side by side on the nose – there is a floral stream across the nose, a proper depth of well-filled black fruit inside, a no chinks fabric bouquet, but one that isn’t exaggerated – it is always calm, always full. There is a stately run of black fruit on the palate, with a winning, smooth texture. Real Châteauneuf-du-Pape upholstery here, the true stamp of the appellation. Tasty, supple tannins fit it like a glove. Great stuff; it lengthens with a sure, steady hand, is graceful, southern wine – here we go. It deserves fine cuisine such as magret de canard, duck, and undercooked meats. From 2017. 15°. €85, 3,000 b. 2030-32 Nov 2013

2009

dark red; bosky, near mineral air with streaky wild fruits – the bouquet is not calm. Round debut to the palate, but it dips, and the length is not convincing, not sure about its future. There are the baked signs of 2009 in it. Raisin flavour in the slightly dry aftertaste. I would prefer to have more crystalline fruit and cut in this. Can integrate a bit more with time, so leave until late 2013. 15°. 2024-26 Sept 2011 Previously Oct 2010 ****(*) (casks) dark robe; reserved nose – tight, compact – possible black fruits here, prune and a mix-up of liquid honey, oak and oily airs. The palate starts broadly – this has a gutsy interior, a punchy style; its flavour of a blackberry coulis is laced with tannin, licorice, leading to a crisp aftertaste. There is good length of richness. For now there is a wee burnt note at the end, but that can be resolved. The fruit is ripe and round, and this can become stylish. From mid-2012. 2022-25 Oct 2010

2007

2 bottles tasted: Bottle 1: mostly dark robe. Nutty, Bretty front nose, parched stones, is yeasty. Possible TCA. Dry palate. Bottle 2: fair depth of robe. Mild black fruits, blackberry and agreeable aroma. The palate fruit is still rather flat, like Bottle 1 – slothful but steady wine of fair length. Has a modest, quite rounded end. Lacks depth and true character. Try from late 2010 or 2011. 2019-20 Nov 2009

2006 ()

a full plum red robe. Raw tobacco, pine forest air here – the aroma centres on mulled fruits, a fat and fluid, spiced red berry. The bouquet will vary well over time. This is still very much on its early reserve; it is tucked in with its liqueur fruit closely attended by tannin, which is ripe. It shows good style, with prune and fig moments and a Barolo take on the second half. Interesting, not obvious, wine. Decant this. Going well. 15°. 2030-32  Nov 2013

2005

(1 year 600-litre oak cask) quite a full red; bonny, accomplished, very fine bouquet – a really good aroma. It gives a very good mix of oak and assured, ripe fruit. This is full, notably elegant, and balanced. The balance is its ace card. It is broad and silken late on. In 8 to 10 years it will be a singing Châteauneuf of finesse. “It has started to marry with its oak in the last two months. There is both volume and freshness this year,” Jean-Jacques Sabon. 2030-33  Dec 2006

2004

deep red robe. The bouquet is big fronted, comes with no hiding place. It is brewed, charry, upfront, on coal dust. There is an obvious sense of depth, but its raising is still right on top. Cooked plum and damp woods are entering the equation. The palate is similar: it has a charry outer casing, a more fruited mid-palate with a plump, spicy appeal, then more pick-up of the oak brigade tar at the end. There is a tender moment of precise red rose hip before the close. This is more cellar than vineyard. I find the oak annoying since the rest of the wine is becoming beguiling. 2025-26  Oct 2013 Previously Dec 2006 **** mid-depth red robe; the nose shows baked fruit, prune airs with a bit of spice, its width restrained. Oak is threaded through the palate, is a wine on the sinew of the vintage, a less ripe one. There are pockets of redcurrant ripeness, and it flows well, persists guite firmly. This will become elegant. Leave until 2010. Aged 600-litre oak casks 12-14 months. 2023-25  Dec 2006

2003

sound red colour, like a British Post Box. The bouquet involves light spice, a touch of raisin, ripe fig, dates – good variety. It is interesting now, with some age on it. The palate is full, with some reserve, has a tannic siding, delivers a little late oak. Rich, not overdone – even with its 2003 features, shows a meaty angle. It runs nice and straight, has life and is clear at the end. It needs to shrug off the oak on the end stages – 40% new oak used. “It was a bit strict to start with,” Jean-Jacques Sabon. 2024-26  Dec 2006

2001

attractive red robe with life in it; there is a tiny bit of advance on the nose, which shows leather-pepper, a touch of blackcurrant, tiny cocoa airs. This is at an interesting stage now. The palate is lightly peppered, starts richly, and gradually expands from half way, leading to a plum fruit, spiced finish. It is ticking along, with no hurry to evolve. Especially from 2008, when it will be open and rounded with a still good thread of tannin and the vintage freshness. A minor late heat shows through. Stylish wine. Raised 3-6 year old casks. 2029-31  Dec 2006

1996 ()

matting Grenache robe. Piercing aroma, an arrow of bouquet - shouts out the vintage. Has a Burgundian cut, acidity in it, but with air understandably offers more hidden nuances, its impact growing - red fruits mainly. Sinewed, fresh plum/red fruits on palate, tarry end. Clear-cut from the vintage, a little burnt on the finale. Lacks obvious generosity, but holds some core plum fruit. Elements not yet integrated, and finishes a little short. Lacks flesh, but contains some subtleties. Time can soften it, but is there enough content for it to continue as a whole?? 2014-16 October 2005, Copenhagen