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The Wines

100% Syrah from Les Greffieux sediment soils, lower reaches of Le Méal, some Les Bessards, destemmed, fermented in 120 hl open wood vats (contain 80 hl of wine), destemmed, 3-4 week vinification at up to 30-33°C, wild yeasts, 1-2 daily cap punchings, aged 12-18 months (until late 2000s was 18-20 months) 85-100% oak (33% each new, 1 and 2-year 228-litre oak casks), 0-15% concrete vat, organic, biodynamic wine, 29,000 b

2016

(casks) dark robe. The nose is smoky, comes with pine, meat stock and Indian tea leaves airs, grilling, is starting to evolve already. There is a little sweet prune within. The palate is chunky, close-knit, releases only a little rather thick, enjoyable juice towards the finish. It’s a grounded Hermitage, a manly wine in the eye of the George Saintsbury quote. It is broad and sturdy across the palate. From 2021. 2042-44 Nov 2017

2015

(casks) full, dark robe. The nose is a weighty affair, comes charged with ample mounds of blackberry and cassis fruits that have a sweet curve about them; there are licorice, pine touches. The palate carries thick juice, a sunny intensity, as it wheels along in an imposing manner. It finishes on that near liqueur note. Take your time: it will be better once its thickness has loosened a little. It has notable breadth, and the finish is sustained, doesn’t skip a beat, has excellent persistence. More than confirmed 5 star wine. 85% cask, 15% concrete vat raised. From 2020. 2043-46 Oct 2016

2014

(casks) dark, black-tinted  robe. The bouquet is a classic Hermitage air of elegant, joyous style, allied to inner depth. It parades a floral aroma with red berry fruits, has precise detail. Burgundy meets northern Rhône. The palate runs with lively fruit, chiselled tannins whose rocky nature add interest and profile. The content slips a little before the finish, but this is true Hermitage, with STGT qualities. From 2018. 2034-36 GB £230/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com Oct 2015

2013 ()

(casks) dark, shiny robe. Gives a grilled, oaked first aroma, a fleshy style of fruit within, a fluid liqueur. The palate is also grilled on the attack, the fruit and depth medium-weight plus a little. A safe player, one that doesn’t reach for the stars. From spring 2017 - decant it to coax out more display. It is a touch on the mainstream side of town. 2035-38  GB £230/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com Jan 2015

2012 ()

(casks) quite dark; has an oak-grilled air, an aromatic red berry fruit under that, as it I has come from sanded granite, sites such as Diognières and Greffieux (tasted blind). The palate has plump features – this is cosy rather than brooding Hermitage: it is spherical, the red fruits suggesting a measured rather than a powerful vintage. It delivers spots of quiet late gras richness. Has an amiable, not demanding style. From late 2015. 2035-37  Nov 2013

2011

(casks) dark robe. Has a roasted, broad aroma, backed by jam fruit, a coulis of black berries, with some meat droplets in the air. A manly style, has sturdy oak and a neat note of violet. The palate is threaded with a violet-mineral, tempting clarity, so the fruit has lift, and a good, assured light touch. An elegant Hermitage with appealing accompanying aromas. The fruit is stylish. From mid-2015. 2033-35  Nov 2012

2010 ()

(casks) full, dark. Tight, black cherry aroma, with grilled snap in the air, along with violet-licorice touches, Indian tea – this will be lucid over time. Rolling black fruit, with tight tannins on the sides and a secure, rather layered depth on the palate. Interesting to see where this goes as it ages and evolves, a process which will increase its complexity. Raisin and dark juice mingle on the aftertaste, which is quite full and clear, clarity being the main impression. From 2015. 2036-39 July 2011

2009

bottled wine: dark robe; bulky nose – tight, full, broad across the glass, is very grounded, terrestrial, its oak adding to the density for now. The palate is similar, has sustained depth like the nose. Holds a thorough, persistent black fruit coating that leaves a tar sign-off – one cam taste and feel the tannic layer here. There is an honest authenticity about this, is a rumbustious Hermitage possessed of good heart. A proper wine with juicy, clear-cut fruit. Post oak, as that influences drops, it will be STGT. Has made great strides after raising, a theme of 2009. From mid-2015. 14°. 2036-39 July 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ***(*) (casks) full red; open but compact nose – the red fruits are ripe, if a little baked, and there is a lurking black raisin aspect, as in a very sunny vintage. Three-quarter weight wine which does not pull out all the stops – it could have greater depth and more moments of reflection en route – it passes through. The fruit is black, with a cocoa, tar dryness towards the finish, which is an issue. From mid-2013. Best to wait until around 2016. 2033-36 Nov 2010

2008

(casks) mild red robe, not full. Wispy, red plum fruit aroma – which is basic, has a little sweetness. Scorched early moments on the palate – the red fruit carries that imprimatur along the palate, has a dusty, tarry acidity, a green stretch at the end. This is bumpy now, needs arranging. Air helps it, but the greenness on the finish is still present. Heat on the aftertaste in what I call a composite wine. From late 2011. 2024-26 Dec 2009

2007

(casks) largely full red robe; there is a good surround to the bouquet,a touch reductive, just out of its different casks – there is a fundamental air, and it is wide without being too powerful. The palate has a muscle and clear fruit tone, shows a healthy vigour and ends on a graphite, clear tang. Good length, and there is well shaped roundabout set of influences in this. Game aspects on the finish – interesting potential at this stage. From 2012. 2030-33 Dec 2008

2006

pretty, bright red; the nose combines perky red fruit, with a liqueur raspberry effect and a couch of fundamental – earthiness: there is a secure layer of matter such as date and toffee in below. There is a pretty red fruit strike at first, the flavour being raspberry, with a live nature. It ends on a good, firm note with a declaration of its granite in the pebbly late moments, and assured grip as well. This is nice, faithful Hermitage. Has quiet muscle, the length is good, and it is very 2006 vintage in style. From late 2010 or beyond. It is gaining all the time, as per the vintage profile. Bottled May 2008. 14°. 2029-33 Dec 2008 Previously Jan 2008 **** (casks) bright, pretty dark robe; reserved aroma with good potential – the fruit is well struck and has a roundness and good carry – is a little floral, biscuity and yeasty for now. The palate proceeds with good sequence from the bouquet – its core fruit is largely accessible, and although not that profound, is sympa. Has a late tannin wrap, the tannins pretty ripe. Ends on licorice-tar tones – leave until 2010 for it to come together. Has a fleshy, accessible interior, that fits the vintage style. To be bottled May 2008. 2028-31 Jan 2008 Previously June 2007 *** (casks) three-quarter red with some black in the robe; round, berried nose, reflecting spice and brambly fruit – has a mix of leathery, floral edges. The palate is crisp, and persists with direct thrust. Its black berry fruits set up a fresh finish. Not a fat year, more an upright one of quiet elegance on this showing. Rather underplayed, does not have too much core. 2026-28 June 2007

2005 ()

full robe – purple and a full red that runs to the top of the glass. There is plenty in the bouquet – orange peel zest, game, blackberries, spice and licorice. The palate is tight-knit, led by spice and berries such as mulberry, blackberry. The finale is more exotic – licorice with cloves, Christmas spices. From 2012 to settle its tannins and to round out and let the fruit gain ground. In a slight pause for now, so leave alone. The length is good, while this has local character and shows the 2005 vintage truly as well. 2030-34 April 2009 Previously Jan 2008 ****(*) the dark robe is full all the way up, and is darker than the 2006. There is a black fruit nose with a complete, crunchy air, is mostly hidden today. The palate is surprisingly delicate, and starts with restraint. The fruit is full, dark, secure, and the tannins and oak combine to bring a late note of graininess. The length is sound. There are plenty of tannin in this, crunchy ones, as per the vintage. From 2011. 2029-32 Jan 2008 Previously June 2007 ***** bright, live red robe; black berry fruit nose – nicely supple interior, almost southern with some herbs present. Appealing start to palate – rich, with good clarity and a classic structure, the flow is good and the tannins provide fine boned support. The fruit continues with a really clear and bonny character – and there is “fresh” prune on the aftertaste. So good is its balance that it drinks well now – great with a côte de boeuf, that would be heightened by the persistent, charming, frank fruit of this. Esp 2010 on for more secondary notes and variety. 2026-30 June 2007 Previously Dec 2005 **** full, purple robe. Solid, also wide aroma - filled up with black fruits, soil. Stylish fruit on palate, cherry style. Texture is suave and soft. Very accomplished fruit. Plenty of tannin well within, this is promising, its harmony good, too. Esp 2009 on, for example. 2029-31 Dec 2005

2004

(casks) broad bouquet, baked black stone fruit, appealing jam trimming, fruit is a mulberry-blackberry mix, also chunky, leathery, game instincts. Agreeable, ripe crop just within limits at the start, proceeds well through the palate. Holds a sweet underlay and charm. Generous Hermitage with some mystery for the future, but needs bottling. Correct length, tannins ripe. Good, local feel to this. 2023-27 April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 **** solid red colour. Red fruits on nose, pebbly and bosky, with a local air. Palate carries the vintage definition - the fruit is clean, with discreet weight within, not showy. Good richness, understated. Charming, bonny wine. The fruits last, the tannins are quietly done. Length OK. 2009 on. 2024-26

2003 ()

(cask) some pretty black fruit aromas, peppery edging. Prune, black fruits attack, with reserve. Savoury texture, oaked aftertaste, oak needs to integrate. Some end heat. 2008 on. 2025-28

2002

(cask) some stone fruit/spice, reserved aroma; tasty, bit sweet, blackberry fruit. Not very long, oak at finish. 18 years.

2001

warm, ripe fruit/leather, has lost its burnt/reduction side; good sap, soaked black fruit, leather/licorice end. Honest; sound length, a wine that is open early in its life. 2025-28

2000

chunky, oily, solid, spiced nose; firm, clear flavour, mid-weight, tannins OK. Fair, not especially striking. 2021-24 Previously pre-bottle assemblage *** delicate violet, touch dry bouquet, ripe grape, oak, has depth. Quite tight, rounded black fruit early on. Pebbly, dry-toned finish, almost burnt. Tannins are definitely present. From 2007. 2020-23

1999 ()

red robe, a little advance on it. Leathery, upright shape to the bouquet, which has a well-filled underlay, covers the ground with its depth. The palate fruit leads on black berries, the texture snakily elegant, has nice width and dimension. The black fruit is piercing, arrows in, then gives way to a chocolate style finish. Good tension in this wine from the West End of the hill. 2028-31 Nov 2005, California Previously **** quite dark red; bits of pine, red fruit, raspberry aroma, quite direct. Three-quarter weight wine, not showing a lot on the attack, decent grip of red fruits and licorice on the end. Stylish, can come along, has charm. 2027-29

1998

fungal side to the bouquet, bit reduced; airing brings black fruit, pine, mint, quite potent though still reduced. Typical Hermitage aromas. Savoury wine, big flavours, warm fruit, spiced attachments. Decent fullness, good end matter, raspberries. Can age well. From 2004 or later. 2028-32

1996

farmyard, almost Pinot Noir aromas, with licorice, dry tones. Live attack, sinewy wine. Red fruits, mushroom effects on finish. Interesting enough, needs autumn dishes. Dry-toned end. Drink to 2024-26

1995

damp woods, truffle tones, open bouquet; interesting dry-toned red fruits. Chewy, fullish. Upright, genuine, tannins obvious. 2024-27

1994 ()

cherry, coffee, some foxy aromas; good Hermitage structure, firm frame around it, lot of matter. Powerful, rather "flash" in a way. Fair length. 2022-25

1993

some red fruits, quite firm bouquet; fair extract, quiet wine on palate. 2018-21

1991

good dark colour; spiced, peppery, almost chocolate on nose, has opened; stylish palate, round, quite powerful flavours, cassis jam on end. Tannins are integrated, length is good. Elegant, enjoyable. 2023-26

1990

cooked, some ripe fruit, full bouquet, nice dark fruits there. Promising. Very big wine, has a lot of elements. Cooked up, dark wine, with a long life ahead. Tannins and some heat appear on finish. From 2002. 2026-30

1985 ()

mature red centre to the robe, ruby fringes. Interesting, slightly fungal, damp matter bouquet, shows red berry fruit and perists well. There is a leathery, dry tinge to the red fruit on the palate; it fleshes out a little, sports a spot of richness as it finishes, where there are notes of pepper. This has reached a stage of sinew, rather wiry. Its storage may have been so-so, I suspect. 2012-14  March 2006

1953

called “La Sizeranne” on the label, I bought this bottle from a tiny caviste on the Vieux-Port of Marseille, from his top shelf, forgotten up there. Meanwhile he plied his trade selling people mass produced wine with his petrol pump to fill their glass bonbons. The colour is browning out a little, but the depth is still there. The bouquet is super, notable, really well developed, soft and velvety, but with a blackcurrant fruit edge to it, one that prevails over the secondary airs of evident age. The palate presents a Bordeaux-like smoothness, along with alcohol; the finish is very long. This is very soft all round, and still retains some of the strong Syrah-blackcurrant flavour of its youth. The content and the alcohol are perhaps separating a bit. Quartier Patheron, Aix-en-Provence, 6 Feb 1975