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The Wines

10% northern (Verenay, micaschist), 90% southern sector from the low part of Tupin (mica-quartz, marine influenced soils, not very stony, derived from a branch of the Rhone), 90% Syrah (clones used), 10% Viognier (1986, massale), fermented by maceration carbonique and semi-carbonique at up to 25°C (one pumping over open to air), no cap punching, steel vat raised 11-12 months (before mid-2010s aged 2-6 year 228-litre oak casks 12 months, 12 months raising since 2010, was longer), unfined, unfiltered, no sulphur, “vin naturel” on label, 50% (wine, grapes) sold to merchants, rest bottled, called Les Binardes from 2018, 4-8,000 b


(vat, bottling Sept 2020) full red; has an open, rolling nose, raspberry with iodine, damp moss, cherries, hints of rose. The palate has a saline start, Morello black cherry with fine spine, tension, has a marked straight line run to the finish, some sense of late strength, firmness which is just under the surface. The finish is compact, with quite thick juice there. It needs time to open, is well grounded. The aftertaste is smoky. “it’s very Burgundian,” J-M Stéphan. Harvested 24 Sept, pH 3.43, 12.2°. From 2022. 2038-40 Dec 2019

2018 ()

the robe is dark; there is a swirl of intense black cherry with a sweet undertone, blackberry, mixed berries on the bouquet – it’s a solid opening, needs time. The palate is richly filled, gathers a little drive after half way, finishes on a lush sucrosity, a sweet toother’s delight, is vintage marked. There’s a floral hint in it. The aftertaste is munchy, tannins buried within. “I’ve never made a wine like this in my 30 years. I was obliged to do a macération carbonique on it – without that, it wouldn’t have had a spine; it has a flavour of kirsch cherries. I would drink it within five years – my fear is that it will end up on its alcohol in time,” J-M Stéphan. The pH is 4.14 – extremely high, which explains J-M’s fear – low acidity. 14.8°. 2027-29 Dec 2019

2017 ()

dark red; the nose is on reduction, rather thick, shows black cherry, sunshine depth, a hint of musky flowers, is in a primary state. The palate has a gentle flow, suave black fruits, some noble Volatile Acidity, ending on kirsch, licorice, damp tea leaves. I find is rather disorganised, while the finish is a touch dry, chewy. 13°. From 2021, decant it. 2029-31 Dec 2019 Previously March 2018 ***(*) (steel vat, bottling Sept 2018) violet-mauve tints in a dark red robe. There is light reduction on a nose that has a bonny, perfumed air, tenders notes of black fruits which are ripe but not in excess. The palate has dark intent on the attack, with iron and sealed content; it has body, and can do OK. It gets into crunchy, vegetal zones towards the finish. There’s fluid juice in places, and moves along well given the heat. The finish is raw. “There was a lot of lees in 2017, which is that metallic angle in it,” J-M Stéphan. From late 2020 or 2021. 2029-31 March 2018


dark, shiny robe. Has a curvy, welcoming bouquet, a good flow of black berry fruits, nudges of violet and sweetness; it persists nicely. The palate drinks with soft, squeezy appeal, already, has munchy qualities, a flavour of soaked black cherries or griottes with plump appeal. The tannins are pliant, tasty. This is gourmand wine. It ends with freshness, invites well. There is good iron-violet twinning on the finish, the aftertaste, an inviting perfume, a weavy trail that pleases. 13°. Bottled Sept 2017. 2028-29 Mar 2018


full, dark red robe. There is comfortable depth of black berry fruit on the nose, also flowers, prune: its depth is honest, and it holds up. This has a spiced, good and running start, a saline presence, before ending on an interesting mix of spices and flowers. A thoughtful, not obvious, good wine – stop and pause drinking. I like its gras richness and content. There is a great burst of flavour, and that salinity is delightful. “Its tannins are fine, it is a gourmand wine, good with rib of beef,” Jean-Michel Stéphan. 12.5°. 5,000 b. Bottled Sept 2015. 2025-27  Dec 2015

2013 No Rating


2012 ()

dark robe, a thick aspect. Grape shot, crushed raisin-grape aroma which is very primary, has an air of stewed prunes, is a thickset bouquet. I can “see” the inside of the grapes here – they glisten at me. The palate marches out on a big texture, has a dense debut with floral flashes in it; it eases into freer zones after half way, delivers fine, salty spots late on as it then gradually tightens. This has a naked feel, it is true. This year, as the only wine, it combines the 1896-02, the 1940 and the 1997 Syrah/Serine from Tuoin. 2021-22. Bottled early Sept 2013. 12.5°. 6-7,000 b this year. “In the past I have given it a much longer raising than 12 months, but this year was less complex than I am used to – but I reckon that will arrive in time. If I had given it a longer raising, even the old casks would have liberated the vanilla side into the wine, and the fruit would have suffered. Drink from winter 2014 or winter 2015 – it is a good winter drink,” Jean-Michel Stéphan. Dec 2013


the only wine this vintage, since 55% of the crop was lost through poor flowering, cold and rainy conditions, total of just 2,700 b. It was whole bunch fermented, note. I tasted a bottle that was wonderful, but a Norwegian subscriber who has tasted three bottles found two of the three had significant Brett issues, so be warned. My note: clear, fine red robe; has a notably peppery nose, comes with an air of fine violet, and a soft, delicate fruit – an appealing welcome, with each element knowing its place, is very precise. The palate holds curved, restrained fruit, and there is a joyous perfume of spice – I detect myrrh in with the red berry and grainy licorice. This is a “slow down and pay attention” wine of great finesse, comes with Burgundian precision, is savoury, measured – quel Beau Vin it is. I have to drink this, not just taste it. One for dreamers and romantics – it is utterly lovely. Excellent balance, and lots of saintly character. 12.5°. 2027-29 Feb 2012


(steel tank, malo done, 6 gm of sugar still to ferment!) bright, dark robe; the nose is solid, across and within the glass. Red cherry, liqueur instincts on the palate – there is plenty in the glass, a real tannic movement, and it is both very wide and persistent at the end. Really good length. “The tannins are very well inset, are very, very beau,” J-M Stéphan. 14 years life. Nov 2009


fairly dense robe with some clear touches at the top. The nose is striking – it bounds out, bearing peppery bright fruit, with licorice and violet undertones. You can stand up and drink this. There is schisty cut in the palate texture – zing, it goes – cassis and dark berry fruit. A real traveller without baggage, this. Has very clear lines, is not that long, but is active. The aftertaste is floral, and ticks over. No sulphur – so if exported, it will age faster. w.o.w. wine. To 2015. “2008 is a simple wine,” J-M Stéphan. Nov 2009

2007 ()

no destemming this year: full, cherry coloured robe; bacon fat, brooding nose, has depth, and some floral ease, and there are bright moments, too. Black cherry and blackberry combine in the flavour, with tannins pouncing early. Has a mineral, lead-style run in the last stages. It finishes clearly, has a rounded spot of fruit there. Interesting wine. From 2011. 2019-20 Nov 2009


(casks) peppery nose; fair matter, soft overall. Some weight. Just the one wine in 2002.


(cask) light red fruit/pepper nose; tight-knit, good consistent texture of black fruit with some pepper edges. 2012-13


wild fruit, full, earthy aroma. Very ripe fruit, has a rustic, almost volatile side. Tastes a little flat - maybe high Viognier element stifling the Syrah. 2008-10. May 2003


black fruit jam/floral notes; elegant black fruit, good definition, quiet reserves of gras. Nicely assembled. Syrah blackberry/mulberry comes through, smooth tannins support. 2010-12. March 2003