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The Wines

100% Marsanne (1960s) from river-glacier soils with galet stones on Le Méal, 24-48 hour cool decantation after pressing of whole bunches, fermented, raised 50%-100% new 600-litre oak casks (before mid-2010s was 50% 228-litre casks), 0-50% vat 10-12 months, very soft lees stirring, retention of high level of CO2 sought to counter oxidation, and allow low use of sulphites, organic, biodynamic wine, first wine 1997, 5,500 b

2016

(cask) shiny, deep yellow robe, a rich aspect. The nose has a peach scenting, with quince paste, cooked oranges, marmalade. It’s a measured, confident start. The palate is discreet, elegant, lacks some of the wow factor of the leading 2016s. It runs with a grapey, apricot juice flavour, peach near the stone, shows white raisin in its grippy finale. There is an accumulation of fine juice on the finish. It is just starting to close, I feel, so leave until mid-2019 on this showing. 2030-32 Nov 2017 Previously Apr 2017 **** (cask) shiny yellow robe, has a southern look. The nose is reserved, but comes with potential, overt saltiness, honey-oak, licorice, has a clam depth. There are airs of greengage plum, springtime gardens, but also grilling, just a little pumped up. The palate starts on an elegant, continuous display of white fruits, with real pinpoint acidity and a definite grip, en finesse. This is stylish, restrained, not as deep as in the past. It ends on a growing glow, fatness, an obvious sign-off that detracts to some extent. Bar that, the balance is decent. 26 hl/ha, which was OK, given the hail on Bessards and L’Hermite. 2034-36 Apr 2017 GB £564.18 per 6 b in bond, £192.28 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk

2015 ()

(casks) full yellow robe. Cork, oh dear. Cask sample bottle 2: yellow robe, many legs. The bouquet gives a classic Marsanne-inspired aroma led by ginger, apricot, with oak toast grilling. It has subtle nuances that will reward patient study once poured. There is a fine-ness in its lime fruit that lies beyond. The palate starts with restraint, holds shapely gras richness with a sweet wheel of tangy fruit delivered along the path. There is a note or carbonic gas underlying the palate, with an induced freshness from that: it goes slightly against the grain of the mighty, sun-filled slope of origin. The finish is floral, delicate, has fine detail. From 2019. 2031-34 Oct 2016 Previously Apr 2015 **** (casks) pale yellow. Has a tight, even taut nose, very little given. There are nuts, lime, citrus touches. It fattens as it breathes and warms, shows apricot. This is tight fit wine, just a little plump gras richness at its core. Nuts and white peach appear on the close. This holds sleek gras. There has been a change of style here. From 2018. 2030-32 GB £495.10 per 6 b in bond, £168.96 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk Apr 2016

2014 ()

(casks) yellow robe, with shine. The bouquet has a grilled, roast pork-like front aroma, with oak and its toasting right in the mix. There is a subdued fruit aroma, perhaps cooked pear. The palate expresses an early flavour of orange and lime marmalade, has a squeezy richness, with a rolling ball of flavour until near the finish. There is carbonic gas in it, so a line of introduced freshness. The finish is pretty complete, has inner strength, and it persists with stealthy intent. From mid-2017. 2029-33  Oct 2015 

2013 ()

medium depth yellow. Greengage, oak-pineapple aroma, very much on the oak, hence vanilla, banana, exotic fruits are present. The palate is tightly drawn, holds some supple gras richness, with a note of jam, syrup, as it ends, apricot and honey there. It is a bit raw, a bit one-dimensional as it stands. It ends with convincing freshness, and Marsanne tang. This will develop with time, is an en finesse stylish wine, and it has good fat as well. The length is sound. Decant it. From 2020. 2038-41 GB £510/6 bots in bond Berry Brothers 0800 280 2440 +44(0)207 022 8973  www.bbr.com  Jan 2015   

2012 ()

(cask/vat) quite shiny, medium depth yellow; mango, guava, exotic fruits lead to the nose, backed by buttery flan, cooked orange behind. Has a summery warmth (tasted blind), so this represents Le Méal well. It is a nose that covers much ground. The palate debut is broad, has wide shoulders. It manages a deep-seated content with brisk, rather singed sides of greater snap. Set to show well, a slow gainer. It is tightly muscular without obviously showing that, and will be very good around 2022. It persists well on some latent strength. Decant it. From 2018. 2032-34  Nov 2013

2011 ()

(cask/vat) green-tinted yellow robe, legs. Has an aniseed-licorice front air, so it gets off to a snappy, alert start. Richer notes of flan and baked tart lie in the second rank. The palate moves well, has a salty tune, bright acidity. The flavour resembles hazelnut with acacia flowers, peach present, all in a mild and co-operative register. It ends lucidly thanks yo good crispness. This will evolve steadily, gradually, and is more airborne than terrestrial in style. Fine wine. From 2016. 2030-32  Nov 2012

2010

(cask/vat) sub gold colour; fat nose, with a combination of peach and apricot, plus pineapple. The nose has a secure traverse, is solid, and brings in typical honey-nut airs as well. Delightful start to the palate – the fruit is clear and tangy, and promises balance and effortless future expression. Good balance. Has the cut of the 2010 vintage, is very lucid for a Méal white. The length is fine. Will give showy, fun drinking for a couple of years, then shut down. From 2018 for its later, more mature phase. 2033-35 July 2011

2009

shiny yellow; oak front to nose that is creamy, buttery, with golden syrup behind. Lemon curd, suave white fruit, tart fruits, strong air of Melba toast. The palate is classy, silken – displays nutty, apricot, typical Marsanne features, and moves on to a ripe, rounded finish. It lengthens easily – it is all very oiled in the engine room here, and the silken aspect revives on the aftertaste. Its pure length is enjoyable. STGT wine that is balanced, and possessed of solid depth. 2033-36 July 2011 Previously July 2010 ****** (casks) quite a full yellow; orange, bergamot, ripe and generous nose, with finesse beyond the façade, citronelle airs – this bouquet offers big bounty. Fine and classy palate; its gras is secure, it runs freely, ends on clarity. This is most inviting. A wine of high standards, nuance and balance. Has a lovely texture and balance. Top wine. On discovering what it is (tasted blind), I am not surprised it is Méal, such a ripe and sunny southern exposure in this extremely ripe year. 2037-40 July 2010

2008

(cask, London, malo completed) bright, uplifted yellow robe; pear, even a hint of Viognier on a reserved nose, also pineapple. The aroma is deeper than that of de l`Orée – it is broad, rather fat, very much in the Méal vein. The palate has a glycerol, rather fat start – it is all in its own ball of richness for now. The palate is wide and unformed as yet – it works more on texture than flavour, ends tightly and closed, with a glimmer of hazelnut there. Pretty wine – a pleasing combo of the gras and the elegant bitterness of the Marsanne. Plenty of time ahead. To 2030-32 April 2009

2007

yellow, plump-looking robe; this has a more cautious nose than its neighbour de l`Orée: there is a sprinkle of a pebbly, spiced air that evokes mandarin, bergamot. en route to fennel – we could be in Sicily in spring. The bouquet is tremendously fine. There palate is reserved, but greatly textured – this has real class. A wine of great poise that can really run along after another two to three years – there are ripples of muscle in this. It is a wine that makes you want to pause and study it; it ends on a good, restrained grip with classic Marsanne hazelnut and honey. Very long, beautiful lines, all ensemble. 2026-29 Dec 2008

2006 ()

gold, yellow tinted robe; there is a rather oxidative start to the bouquet, but this is a false illusion – it is complex, shows a variety of aromas such as brown sugar, baked tart, wax, hazelnut, fruit bonbons. The palate is rich, with the nature of later cropped fruit, and the depth of flavour is enormous. True, robust Hermitage white – The Real Thing. It is really bang on with rich foods – lobster, white meats ideal – because it has a firm, tannic finale, the closure of the solid “south”. Persistent wine with a big ending. 2028-30 April 2009 Previously Dec 2007 ****(*) marked gold robe, lots of legs down the glass; spiced, quite alert nose with exotic fruits to the fore – papaya, for instance, plus butterscotch, a little crème brulée. Broad, nicely gourmand and tasty palate, has a lot of easy flavour. Is well channelled late on, its length is sound. Has a peach, wee spiced aftertaste. 2023-25 Dec 2007

2005

overt, sub-gold hue; ripe, curvaceous aroma that is generous without being exuberant: shows butterscotch, acacia and light tangerine. The palate has a lot of persistence, with a brown sugar, baked apple nature late on, where there is also a wide, chewy tendency. Is structured to live, a full wine with ripe crop at its heart, but some caution that binds it together. From 2011-12 for a sure fire declaration. Can drink until early 2009 for now. 2026-29 Dec 2007 Previously June 2007 ***** yellow, a wee amount of gold in the robe; damp fruit, a little reduction on the nose; there is some ripe pear with passion fruit and butterscotch. The palate texture is rich, soft and golden, with some late kick from the Marsanne bitterness, life. Has a near red wine structure, with its late chewiness sprinkled with bitter oranges and tarry touches. Will be very typical from 2011 – for those who know white Hermitage already. Would not really act as an introductory white Hermitage – people wouldn't get the point, or the price. Gastronomy, por favor, with this – lobster, scallops, veal. A Vin de Soleil. 2027-30 June 2007

2004

good yellow robe, a wee bit of gold. Fabulous width on the nose – has the dimension and roundness of a Grand Vin Rouge. There are smoky, buttery, very elegant white fruits here. Has a copious but elegant palate, with a very deep-seated flavour. There is tremendous harmony in its spherical shape – a delicious wine, with great flow. Its richness is greatly refined, and there is a correct stamp of final bitterness that gives a smoky aftertaste. Grand Vin – shows the plenitude of white Hermitage with its delightful stroke of suppleness and southern richness. Exemplary balance. 2030-33 June 2007. Previously April 2006 ****(*) firm yellow. Broad, full bouquet of apricot, custard, brown sugar, the fruit aroma is ripe. Powerful wine on palate, which is the intention, is a little full on, a bit of a battering ram but will please the up and at 'em palates. Shows typical Marsanne bitter/dried apricot on finish. Use of very old Marsanne, here, I suspect. This really exudes fat, round textures. Leave till 2011-12. 2023-27 April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 ****(*) yellow colour. Clear, stylish fruit nose - banana, with a light minerality. Gourmand start to this, very typical Méal with its south facing slope and so ripe fruit. Ends with apricot and spice, nut - tightens up well. Very silky texture, and clean end. Its roundness is on the button now. Esp 2009-10 on. 2023-25 Dec 2005

2003 ()

marked yellow. Nose shows evolution, a ripe, golden syrup aroma, the real south facing slope effect, honey and rosemary. Honeyed, with a caramel, vanilla, flan interior. Almost a quince finale, with hazelnut. Good end definition, is a little oaked still. Esp 2008 on. 2021-23 Dec 2005 Previously (cask) ***** buttery, pineapple, dried white fruits aromas. Golden flavour, really ripe fruit. Glycerol, large mass in the wine, alcohol peeks out. Masculine, fully charged, has its young banana, toast flavours, then raisin, dried fruits aftertaste. From 2008-09. 2024-28

2002

the bouquet is a bit forced, taut - shows sticky bonbon, some hazelnut. This is down the line wine, lacks character. Leave it, and hope it gains variety. The end is rather vacant. It's a bit aggressive.Tthis lacked core when last tasted, too. 2007 on. 2014-17 Dec 2004

2001

buttery nose that is full of potential and more diverse aromas. Chewy, full palate, spice well present, earthy and gutsy, chewy towards finish. Has a tannic underlay, also the acidity to live. Esp 2009-10 on. To 2023-26 Jereboam, March 2005 Previously *** elegant, well-founded bouquet, spiced top edge. Almost overcooked fruit with burnt sugar and mineral touches. Persists OK. Lacks a little core and true length. 2019-22

2000 ()

marked yellow; great width and life, lots of depth, some exotic fruits on bouquet. Fresh, apricot/ripe fruit attack, has nice flesh with a tighter, almost peppered finish, also pears there. Some red wine characteristics, solid, great. Big wine. 2010 on. 2019-24

1999

honeysuckle/citrus mix, full nose; toasted elements, quite deep. Tight, closed, wait till 2008. Good length, promising. 2018-22

1998

soaked citrus fruits, fair weight nose. Lush golden sugar, lime tart, a hammock wine, bit heavy; apricot end. Chinese food ideal. 2016-19

1997

lightly cooked fruit, smoky, hint of lemon, oily; quite closed palate, flavour emerges at end, some pineapple. Taut, also is peppery. Fair length. Can develop well. 2015-20