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The Wines

100% Marsanne from Le Méal (ex-glacier alluvial, small stone soils), Les Murets (decomposed granite), Chante-Alouette (red clay, clay-limestone soils), 2 day cool decantation after pressing, from 2006 33-55% fermented, raised with regular lees stirring over 2-3 months in 600-litre oak casks (10-20% new, rest 1-2-3 years) 8 months, 45-67% steel vat fermented at 18-20°C, raised 8-10 months, then all wine steel vat raised 2-3 months “to gain in minerality”, (before was 50-65% vat, 35-50% oak some new 10 months), organic, biodynamic wine, 20,000 b

2016

(casks) burnished gold robe. The bouquet is a rumbustious affair, parades mango, tropical fruits, a real sense of fat, with a grapey, fulsome nature. The palate is fat on the attack, its content thickly coated, a deep richness sitting along the second half. It billows out like a full sail on the palate, and chases you down as you drink it. There’s a welcome touch of tobacco, smoky cut on the aftertaste. It has the sun-filled intensity of a Le Méal, I have to say [tasted blind], and would actually really sort out the odd Hermitage rouge that needed an uplift, 3-5% would do! It’s very intense, and will live an extremely long time. There is a delicious ball of grapiness on the finish. From 2019. 2038-41 Nov 2017

2015

full yellow. The bouquet shows carbonic gas, gives an ample air of mango and pineapple, on the exotic trail it goes. There is a ripe apricot aroma more usually associated with hermitage and Marsanne. Vanilla an lime also feature. The attack  carries carbonic gas with its  slight spritz  feel; the flavour centres on cooked lemon, orange peel, has a tangy close. This is elegant, authentic Marsanne-fuelled Hermitage blanc: it requires leaving until 2019. I wish the carbonic gas didn’t distract me so much. As a result, the finish is fine, airborne, not a real Road Runner. This will be easy for the drinkers unaccustomed to white Rhônes. 13.5°. 2028-31 Oct 2016

2014

(casks) firm yellow colour. The bouquet is graceful, calmly full. There are classic Marsanne airs of ginger, roasted almonds, apricot, a little fruit jelly and infused tea adding to a potentially complex picture. The palate is delicate thanks to the assured quality of its fruit and content, is a wine of precise detail. It tiptoes towards the finish, which delivers Marsanne grip with its stately gras. The richness is delicious; this is noble white Hermitage, extremely becoming. From 2017. 2028-32 GB £180/6 b in bond Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com  Oct 2015

2013

quite a deep yellow. Creamy, flan and crème patisserie aroma, with honey, white raisin, aniseed, salty traces. The palate combines freshness with its undoubted strength of content. This is really thorough, even seamless, and fine overall. A grandiose Hermitage blanc, beat that Bordeaux! It has a long persistence that evokes almost a Vin de Paille intensity. Bundles to enjoy and ponder over, in some wonder. Great balance, depth, freshness. Serve in a large balloon glass, and take your time over it, Mozart in the background. A Wonder Child of the Mighty Hill. This really rings my bell, it is Coup de Coeur time to give it 6 stars. 2043-45  GB £170/6 bots in bond The Wine Society +441438 740 222 www.thewinesociety.com  Jan 2015

2012 ()

clear, mild yellow robe, green traces. Snappy, carbonic gas air in a nose that produces orange zest, orange marmalade, lights airs of spice and infused tea, cooked lemon: the cooked citrus theme is strong. The palate also shows gas on the tip of the tongue, so there is freshness from that; it has a medium weight, its flavour centred on brioche, baked bread, and nut. I find the carbonic gas a distraction, lying outside the fairly elegant gras richness. It ends with some latent glow. A wine of various parts, not a whole, and has just been bottled. The finish is tight. Decant this. From mid-2015. 13.5°. 2026-27  Nov 2013

2011 ()

quite a rich-looking yellow. The nose is jaunty, provides a big wave of mango and guava fruit, a jungle cocktail to start proceedings. It comes with a nice, discreet, apricot fruit, a true tang of Marsanne reserve, beyond. The palate provides an agreeable run of white stone fruited flavour from the off, with splashes of pineapple, exotica. It generates power and a close-knit bundle of extra content and depth towards the finish, ending on a bonny, oily, round texture. It is open and willing now, with good fat on parade, but will become subdued. The exit is good and clear, is a stylish Hermitage blanc. It will be great around 2019. 14°. 2027-29  Nov 2013  Previously Nov 2012 ****(*) ripe yellow robe. Its wide bouquet is open and engaging now: it mixes mandarin, exotic fruits, banana, pear. The palate is constrained, but in a stylish and promising way. the fruit is elegant, the flow steady and unshowy. Promising wine with a poised manner, lucid acidity. The aftertaste mixes greengage plum and ginger, is clear. Bonny, delicate length and style. It deserves a fine table, clear flavours – turbot would be great. From 2015. 14°. 33% oak, 67% vat this year. €45.50 at the cellars. 2027-29  Nov 2012

2010 ()

(tank) quite a copious yellow, the robe looks rich. Has a lemon grass air, with the influence of hot, pebbly stones, cooked orange – the aroma persists, comes with light oak: the nose gives a graceful first impression. The palate grips well, and has a fine completeness, the texture rich but free, delivers a semblance of exotic fruits. Oak hints push through at the end. This is shaping up well. The finish is lucid, rather complex, the length fine and good. Not a blockbuster white Hermitage, has a snap in its step. Good potential. From 2013, and may well shut down around 2015. 2027-29 June 2011

2009

full yellow; the bouquet is full, like the robe – it is immediately showy, has a simmer of alcohol and power, along with oily, white raisin influences, fine vanilla: there is a lot to consider. The palate keeps up the rich theme – it persists and reaches out, seeking big dishes and flavours, lobster and company. It ends on a nutty, near tannic note, with Marsanne clarity and grip there, even in a an oily, rich context. The dried fruits flavour has thrust in it thanks to the scale of this wine. It extends into rather burnt zones late on, demanding dishes to work that off. From 2013. 15°, note, high octane this year. 2029-31 June 2011 Previously July 2010 **** (casks) thorough yellow; spicy, rich start to the bouquet, white stone fruit, baked fruits, barley sugar, but there is good space and air in it as well, not oppressive. Tight, tenacious debut to the palate – has a core of good, muscly fruit, and lengthens well, gains a more free side towards the finish. Tastes (tasted blind) as if it comes from a “cooler” part of the hill, so not a really obvious sunny player. Has late and firm grip, and the palate is assertive for now. From 2013. 2029-32 July 2010

2008 ()

yellow robe, legs down the glass. Has an interesting top air – mineral cut, baked fruits, grilled almonds below. Then a run of pretty fat, vanilla, exotic fruits. The palate bears a similar mix, is more restrained than the nose, contains ripe fruit that is lined with a little typical Marsanne bitter and acidity. This has plenty of potential; it doesn't really extend now, but is fine in its final stages. From late 2011, and also obviously best with food. 2024-27 Dec 2009

2007 ()

yellow, with gold glints. The bouquet is solid, without being a powerhouse: there is a mixed bag of aromas to come – vanilla, white pepper, wild strawberry, fruit tart mingle now. The palate kicks off with a flan, apricot flavour – this is beau. A pretty wine with good balance, it ends on floral and honey notes, is an elegant affair. Bonny harmony and length – this could serve as a rather luxurious aperitif. There is a hint of southern heat late on. 14°. Bottled Nov 2008. 2020-22 Dec 2008

2006

some light gold in the robe; has a white fruit, peach aroma, that is fleshy and salty, and hints at some opulence. Soft and gracious palate, with a plump, young appeal. Ends roundly and is long. Has late grip and assurance. Fleshy, ripe but controlled wine. Is more silken than the 2005, is a little airy – a floating charmer. 14.5°. 2022-25 Nov 2007

2005

some yellow in the robe; soft, honeyed nose that is primary and soft, an innocent do, with a little white raisin, butterscotch and vanilla. The palate is a round and easy ball of content, but with a serious interior that needs time – typical of the vintage. Well-packed wine, with some late trademark Marsanne bitterness and also toasting. Needs leaving until 2012, or so, but can be drunk OK now, until 2009. 14.5°. 2023-25 Previously June 2007 ***(*) very typical nose – butter, hazelnut in harmony together, with a little banana and spice, too. Good grip on palate, this is quite a wiry wine at this point – is threaded with mineral-toned white fruits, eased by some light honey on the finish. Not very broad, holds an upright shape. Not a straightforward wine – will open and close as it goes. Try in 2010 for a more sure declaration of what it is all about. 2024-26 June 2007 Previously Dec 2005 (cask) ***(*) yellow at this stage. Wide bouquet - exotic fruits, almond. Good grip, direct wine, length correct, shows potential, its richness is pretty stylish. 2022-24 Dec 2005

2004

good yellow, ripe looking robe; very open, broad and opulent nose, like a New World Chardonnay, is buttery and sunny, but also fresh and persistent. Rich, sustained wine on the palate, without being show business. Is fenced by some seeming tannins, and is not yet out and about. Holds up very well, and has a genuine, slightly oily texture. Good length, with typical spot of bitter at the end. Persistent and beau. 14.5°. 2024-26 Nov 2007 Previously Dec 2005 **** oaked bouquet with quite rich interior. Elegant texture on attack, rounded flavour of apricot and vanilla, some oak on end. Good grip, as expected from the 2004 N Rhône whites. Oak is a lot more absorbed on palate than nose. Clean, fresh end, three-quarter weight wine, drinks well solo now. I like its definition. 2021-24 Dec 2005

2003 ()

marked yellow colour. Bouquet reveals slight marmalade air, peach and nit. Nutty, persistent flavour with bitter hint on end, which is quite warm. Is rather burnt on aftertaste, the heat of the year is here and shakes it up. Not sure how long can live. Esp 2008 on. 2018-21 Dec 2005 Previously *(*) full, brewed and compact bouquet. Apricot, dried fruits flavour, the fruit ripe. Full enough, but a bit got up. Acetate, bonbon towards finish, clumsy at this stage. Lacks length. Can only meld and improve from here. Try around 2007. 2018-20

2002 ()

light honey, nut aroma that is refined; is currently dumb, will show more around 2009. Palate weaves a pretty path - white fruits and a floral side here in its youth. Can become expressive and flourish. Flavour now is apricot, flan with a mineral tint to pep it up. Length OK. 2019-22 March 2005 Previously *** pungent bouquet - iodine, butterscotch, white fruits. Pretty peach-white fruit attack, with white pepper also. Length discreet, sound enough. Nice style, has acidity to live. Has blossomed and become more local. 2007 on. 2017-19 Dec 2004

2001

broad, almost banana nose, light oak, floral airs also; tasty, crème brulée flavour, mineral present. Toasted end. Elegant, hides its power, length good. 2007-08 on. To 2018-21

2000

refined, gentle bonbon sweets aroma with a little tangerine. There is a good burst of broad flavour – it bounds out, with control, some oak, good definition and clarity. Its stylish core is intense; has good cut, combines richness with sinew. The length is correct; it will shut down in the next six to 24 months. It becomes quite punchy with air, gives a bit of heat on the aftertaste as it breathes and warms. Especially 2008 on. 2021-25 Nov 2005, New York Previously Nov 2002 ***(*) ripe crop, mature fruit, custard aromas; tightly-bound richness here, plus some mineral around the drier finish. Discreetly chunky wine, packs more than it shows. From 2008. 2016-20 Nov 2002

1999 ()

elegant, direct nose, varnish hints; sweets/butterscotch flavour, elegant, just starting to move. Weight OK. 2006 on. 2017-20

1998

yellow-gold robe; the nose is closed but poised – there is some honeycomb and latent bounty, and a wisp of almond. The palate is marked by a growing hazelnut/almond flavour that develops after a quiet start. Very good clarity in this, a real tinkle. There is some caramel on the attack, and good acidity. This is a wine en finesse. It is still bound together, reserved, but delivers plenty of surface appeal. Very typical Marsanne in this, and the length is very good. Fine wine. 13.5°. 2020-22 March 2008 Previously **** touch of oiliness, faint citrus, raisin, nut on nose, attractive. Restrained weight, light apricot skin flavour, oak adds end toast, and is rich. Nice latent flavour, can develop over 6-8 years. 2013-18

1997 ()

exotic aroma, underlay of ripe fruit, salty, air brings flan pudding smell. Textured richness on palate, broad, gourmand wine. White fruit, pineapple, then typical Marsanne end - a slight bitterness but the richness continues. 2013-16

1996

big, open bouquet, also quite fresh; palate shows style and elegance. Quiet warmth, good length, works well. Good roundness here, quiet heat on the finish. Nice freshness here, so an unusual year. 2014-17

1995 ()

butterscotch, caramelised apples, discreet level bouquet. Cool, fresh start, mineral and elegant. Very clean, dried fruit end, shows a little tannin there with its chewiness. Into its second, mature phase by 2004. 2015-19

1993

delicate aromas, honeysuckle, some potential; quite fat early palate, mid-weight year. Fair gras at end.

1992 ()

full yellow; quite reticent nose, some depth and weight. It is reserved on the palate, the attack is fairly rich. Quite a clean, modern style of Chante Alouette - it is down the line. It may lack local character.

1991 ()

decent depth on nose, straw, some nut, and lurking richness; good grip on attack, very agreeable, a nicely sculpted wine, that combines depth with a comfortable elegance 2007-12