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The Wines

100% Marsanne (1930s) from sandy granite, gore soils on L’Ermite around La Chapelle, oak cask fermented at 18°C-20°C, raised 100% oak casks, most new, 10-12 months, very soft lees stirring over 6 months, retention of high level of CO2 sought to counter oxidation, and allow low use of sulphites, first wine 1999, 1,800 b

2016

(cask) rich yellow robe, good glisten in it. The bouquet is an intricate affair, a fusion of several discreet sources – cool tang, citrus or orange, ginger, sponge cake, white raisin, toasting. It is going to vary brilliantly over time, will be a real stimulator before the palate. The content is rich and graceful, has the most serene flow of seamless gras richness, is a big time STGT Hermitage blanc, shows the full elegance of which the Marsanne is capable, nourished by the dusty soils of the hill. This is wonderful, I must fall to the ground before this beauty. Any savings in the piggy bank – take them out right away! There is a gorgeous, all encompassing presence in the glass here. The finish is tangy, has grip, as it should. It will age slowly and gracefully. 2036-39 Nov 2017 Previously Apr 2017 ***** (cask) shiny yellow robe, green touches. Breezy, precisely detailed bouquet with a soft white fruits interior, has a zesty nerve via lime and mandarin. It has a brilliant transparency of declaration, is most becoming. The palate is carbonic gas fuelled, with saline, grippy content. The aftertaste is softly rounded, textured, as it closes. It shows oak on the finish – hence that texture. The nose and palate will draw together over five years. This is good, and achieves both fine gras from the south along with freshness. For now, it is a wiry, coiled wine for the longer term. 12.5 hl/ha only. From 2021. 2037-39 Apr 2017 GB £1,386.55 per 6 b in bond, £466.40 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk

2015 ()

(cask) pale yellow. There is a lime, citrus debut to the nose, which is well sustained – there are apricot, white peach airs, roasted nuts, a murmur of white flowers, Mirabelle plum. This attacks on stealthy gras, a little assertion from that. It isn’t expressive now. There are pockets of salt and infused tea on the finale. This has inner reserves – it is a wine of quiet complexity. From 2019. 2034-36 GB £1,216.27 per 6 b in bond, £409.35 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk Apr 2016

2013

yellow robe. Has a nice and deep, still mysterious bouquet – a cluster of peach, white fruits, a note of aniseed, camomile as well. The palate enjoys live freshness as it starts – there is lots of life in its white fruit jam flavour. It gathers a good bundle of white fruit and tobacco, aniseed as it finishes. Very stylish, promising, lovely balance. This is very good indeed; it will show grace and poise, is classy and intricate. From 2018-19. 2040-42  Jan 2015

2011

(cask) full yellow, subdued gold traces. The fat depth of the bouquet implies a south-facing, sunswept slope; it has a white raisin, sponge cake density, and is certainly a wine for large flavours – black truffle dishes ideal. There are low-key airs of orange and apricot, and the nose also manages some refined acidity. The palate has a rich, broad start, and thorough heart. It achieves poise even with its abundant ripeness – testament to the quality of the terroir, and to the vintage style - its restraint. Its glycerol will keep it ticking over. Hazelnut and oak vanilla feature on the finish, with peanut and salty touches. In a raw state now, all to play for. From 2017. 2032-34  Nov 2012

2010

(cask) there is a gleam in its sustained yellow; has a drawn-in, smoky nose, with a pure air about it, a delicate touch of cooked lemon or lemon peel. The palate has a fine and shapely – fine is the word – light touch, with oak pushing through at the end. This wonderful, a wine set to be symphonic. It has most agreeable, pure and effortless qualities, and successful length. It is a cracking wine thanks to it clear content and balance. From 2017. 2038-41 July 2011

2009

yellow robe; wide, flan air with the cut of tangerine in it, also oak toast and marked honey. Elegant entrance to the palate: bright dash in the fruit that accentuates dried skin stone fruits such as apricot and peach, then it moves on fennel, tangy areas, has sound enough late acidity. There is a lean towards cashew nut and vanilla on the finish. Very good, expressive – there is a near explosion of elements on the finish, which is very long indeed. 2036-39 July 2011 Previously July 2010 ****(*) (casks) mature yellow-gold robe, so then it is not a surprise that the bouquet reflects sherry, has a real fino air about it. There are Comté cheese and hazelnut aromas here. The palate has this oxidative fatness – I`m thinking Savagnin from the Jura here - I head for the mountains. The inside texture is very rich, with fine acidity that shows on the finish. Meaty and muscular in its final stages. A sit-down wine, yes, sir. Skip any youthful drinking – from 2015 or so. 2031-34 July 2010

2008 ()

(cask, London) strands of gold in the full yellow – a pretty robe here. There is a compote of fruits such as apricot front aroma, with the delicacy of honeysuckle hovering and a light air of banana, flan or vanilla – as if cool breezes have been through the vineyard. There is a tight, mineral start to the palate. This has a very different texture to the more sunswept Le Méal blanc – it gives a live early flourish, then streams away to the finish, with a tight, low-level tannic firmness there. There is a wee apricot/hazelnut influence at the end. A classy wine that needs time. There is good style here, a really elegant sinew, and a very fresh aftertaste. From 2012 for an early look, but this can only gain in middle age. 2031-33 April 2009

2007

steady yellow robe; has a saline, clear-aired bouquet that mixes licorice and fennel, with wafts of white pepper and dried fruits behind – abundant dried fruits, indeed. The palate is all enclosed – this is a wine of intrinsic, latent depth and very much one for the future. There is barely contained power in it – it is a real muscleman, shades and all, in a nice suit. The texture is suave and continuous. There is a late touch of true Marsanne nuttiness, and it is very long. Has a red wine structure. From mid-2012, for instance. 2028-31 Dec 2008

2006

close to 6 stars: yellow robe; wax, high tone, bustling honey on the nose – out it comes, and it ends on a ripe curve, which is a surprise after its forward, direct start. There is almond here, too, along with baked tart and flan. The palate is elegant, much more so than Le Méal 2006, with a fine, very persistent run of sustained “fruit” – some will find this oxidative, but the end freshness and clarity denies that angle. Vive la Marsanne! This is not yet really on the roll, but is a fascinating wine. Very good acidity – this will live well. Tight, not yielding, with salty traces on the nose and the palate. 2032-34 April 2009 Previously Dec 2008 ***** legs down the glass – steady yellow, a pale Melba toast shade. Has a filigree aroma – it is en finesse, with a delicate oaking. There are dried fruits that are cautiously expressed – its upright nature comes with Asian spice. The palate is not easy to get into – this is traversing a dumb phase now, where texture leads flavour. This possesses a knit couch of dried white fruits, and a crème brûlée flavour. Mystery abounds in this – it is not yet at all on the go. Has good, restrained length, and is very much on the Marsanne bitter, hazelnut notes, with cut in it. There is late heat – this is Marsanne in the raw for now. Has tucked up since last tasted, but remains a very, very good wine. From 2013-14. 2029-31 Dec 2008 Previously Nov 2007 ****** mid-yellow colour; reserved but elegant nose, with some air and space in it. It is refined, and wisps around – across and down. There is grip at the start of the palate – a peach/honey mix. Straight away, this shows itself to be complex: sit up straight, you in the back row. There is oak here, and a shifting cast of flavours, has more nuance and mystery than the Méal blanc, as it should given its less full-sun site. Poses questions – how many wines do that these days? On the surface, it is simple and willing, with a friendly harmony, but has aces up its sleeve, is a wine for the real enthusiast. Very beau, very long. This can move well in the future. Especially open around 2012-13 onwards, maybe. 2025-29 Nov 2007

2005 ()

elegant nose, with a quiet buttery, lime, partly floral air, and some orange, Bergamot floating. The palate weaves around in an interesting manner, but lacks a central point of focus now. Fruit such as pineapple on the start, then it becomes tight from its oaking after half way. Clean, very definite mineral content, in a Riesling vein, on the aftertaste. The length is good – there is definitely more to come here and it could well move up a grade. From 2011. 2025-29 June 2007

2004 ()

(cask) complex mix on bouquet - melba toast from the oak, but a dark, pear-nut presence, citronade also. Palate moves out directly, shows a clear thrust of flavour without excess - holds the shape of the vintage. Plenty of life here, and variety to develop. Subtly restrained, not obviously full, but can make progress. It flows nicely, but don't try to drink this young. I like its agile shape and well-sustained interior. Esp 2011-12 on. 2023-26 April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 ***** toasted, lightly nutty, apricot and some agreeable bitterness on nose. Palate has sinew, deep-seated hazelnut and is wide. Has a red wine structure - moves in that direction with its soft fruit followed by a tighter, more tannic display. Picked 4 October, a good wait. A lot of stylish development to come. 2024-27

2003 ()

yellow robe. Broad, but also deep pierce of aroma - quince, lemony, nutty, with cool surrounds. Round, honeyed, fat style of wine. Aftertaste is nicely rich and oily, with the Marsanne bitter tingle. Some oak on end, is clear cut there. More length in time. 2022-25. Dec 2005 Previously (cask) **** buttered, light spice, ripe fruit aromas. Full, nutty flavour with elegance. Gains a chewy fruit side, then oak takes over, adds a burnt effect. Stylish wine, hazelnut is appealing. Leave alone in its youth. Drink from 2008-09 onwards. 2020-24

2002

broad, pretty bouquet: marmalade/honey - can progress, is an ace card here. Stylish, elegant fruit, refined length. Attractive, persists well. Treads lightly but certainly. Understated richness, lime jam on end. Has settled in last year. Classic, harmonious wine. 2024-28 Dec 2004

2001

pretty yellow; tender floral/peach aroma. Elegant palate, stylish and then tightens, with some burnt oak on finish. From 2007 to smooth the finish. 2018-22

2000

great depth on nose, almost Viognier, superripe crop, though fresh also; great richness, lot of interesting flavour - dried white fruit skins, butter, apricot. Very full, very good length, tightens well at end with a mineral touch. 2018-23

1999

full yellow; buttered nose, quite simple at this stage; good, creamy wine - peach flavours and spice, good fat within. Slight aniseed on end. Fabulous elegance, good length and a clean finish. 2016-23