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The Wines

100% Syrah (1960-70s) from south-facing Le Méal, destemmed, 3-4 week vinification at up to 30-33°C in small concrete vat, 1-2 daily cap punchings, aged 14-18 months in 40-50% new oak, rest 1-2 years’ old, organic wine, first wine 1996, 5,000 b


(cask) deep red robe, black tones. The bouquet carries a Southern ripeness, a soaked fruits persistence, close to being a stand up spoon in all its thickness. It’s broad and multi-layered. The palate continues in the abundant vein, has a mighty filling of rich content with dense tannins that add scale. It’s close to the edge in terms of filling, and certainly would be good in a blend with Bessards, say, the Bessards bringing a drop or two of restraint, calm. As it is, it’s savoury, highly digestible, rather naughty pleasure wine with a 3-D dimension, a true example of Méal. Its length is immense. I tried a home made blend about half this, half L’Ermite 2019, and actually found that L’Ermite prevailed in influence, so there you go, not such a Wild Child after all. From 2026. 2052-54 Dec 2020

2018 ()

(casks) shiny, full robe, very dark red, some black tints. The nose has a top surf of blue fruit, with a packed underlay, a real thick, firm couch of black fruit. One is just tapping into it for now. The palate bears active blue fruits with pleasing glide in their delivery, bringing a gradual build in depth towards the close. It’s a tightly drawn Hermitage that gives a slight note of extraction towards the finish, which should burn off over time, as it melds. From 2023, decant it. 2049-52 Nov 2019


(casks) thorough dark red robe; the bouquet is rich, mysterious, will become provocatively varied. For now, there is a brooding air of cooked plum, roast pork, a few sweet herbs, cigarette ash. The palate also bears an ash-like presence, is intricate, comes with a salted fibre, isn’t an evident affair. The length is sound. This needs time – to 2023 at the earliest – and has the potential to show snake-like hips when it’s maturing. It makes you dwell on it, reflect on its hidden corners – all good. 2046-49 Dec 2018


(cask) dark colour, black at its centre. The bouquet is sturdy, not yet featuring openness and detail; there is thick aroma of black jam fruit for now, a hint of mint sauce. The palate is broad on the attack, bears a resolute gras richness which has some swish in its delivery. The tannins add a squeezy layer to the final moments. It’s a rounded, nicely full Hermitage with some pedigree from the warm middle zones. From late-2019. 2032-34 Nov 2017 Previously Apr 2017 ****(*) (cask) dark red colour. The nose is well together, bears a compact and successful aroma of dark berries, a note of grilling. It’s a relaxed, more curvy Méal nose than usual. The palate glides with red berry/raspberry fruit and a pick-up of tasty, quite deep tannins. There is a cool nature this year, far apart from 2015 – it is more upright. It’s restrained on the finish. There is a classical structure here, a waiting wine, more for purists than the crows. There is notably attractive juice on the aftertaste, very neat. “There is less of the jam that it can have jam than usual, which I like,” Michel Chapoutier. From 2023. 2037-40 Apr 2017 GB £597.08 per 6 b in bond, £203.24 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk


(cask) black-tinted robe. The nose is ripe and deep, airs of blackberry and a suggestion of herbes de Provence, a peeking out of raspberry and mulberry. It has a confident depth, a sunswept outlook. The attack is striking – its delivery is full, but it constantly achieves movement and a charming freshness.  Although it is very full, nearly a Vin de Sud – southern wine – it has at least one foot in the North. It pursues a long path. There are tasty moments already within the palate. Very true Méal. From 2021. 2043-47 April 2016  GB £523.95 per 6 b in bond, £178.58 per magnum in bond Mentzendorff London +44(0)207 840 3600 www.mentzendorff.co.uk


(casks) full, dark robe. The nose is full on, leading with an intense black cherry air, toasting and oak in the second tier. The palate holds coated black fruit with a surge of punchy tannin close behind it. The shape is still square, but it can fuse and bend from mid-2018. There is plenty on the aftertaste. It is just a touch on the extracted side. 2029-32  Oct 2015



(casks) dark robe. Has a curvy, almost sultry aroma – a scented, simmered fruits, beguiling air to greet you. Quality, mystery are suggested by the nose. There is fine precision on the palate, an elegance of great appeal. This is wonderfully silken in texture, testament to the ripeness and life in the tannins. The fruit resembles mulberry, dark red berries. Bordeaux equivalent of a darned good Margaux. The balance is primo. Extremely becoming wine, which will please. Offers a smooth finish. Close to six stars. From spring 2018. 2034-36 Jan 2015

2012 ()

full, dark robe. Has a brooding Hermitage of yesteryear aroma, a homespun depth, with reduction and gummy fruit, deeply macerated berries, a plumpness about the nose. The palate concentrates a lot of effort into the attack, which gives a rolled up ball of berry flavour. It then tones down, takes on sleek tannins, ends freshly. There is an immediacy that suggests a little cellar effort, above the call of laissez-faire duty. It is pretty complete on the close, where there are tar, rubber influences. There is an element of power in this. It needs time to meld and focus. 14°. From 2017. 2030-32  Dec 2014 Previously Nov 2013 ***** (casks) dark colour. This has a measured but well-filled bouquet, several layers to appreciate over time, shows proper, stylish depth: here is the sun and the beauty of good wine. This is a good, proper Hermitage that goes widely and liberally across the palate. Plenty of gras and generous fruit will keep people entertained. A sunny wine of good core richness and length, has flair. The fruit lasts well, fine dust tannins present. Very good movement along the palate, a criss-cross of quality. From 2017, say. 2029-32  Nov 2013


(casks) full, thick robe. The broad, brimming blackberry bouquet is plump and generous now. It may well back off and sober down ina couple of years. There are licorice airs and amounts of sun in the glass, which indicates a steady, not exaggerated ripening. This is a gourmand wine at present, one that has a good load of gras, from which grainy tannins emerge. Sunny and replete, it is also long, a central Hermitage offering, the heart of the matter. The finish is scented, well-coated and shows licorice and tobacco. Good Boy Wine. 2033-35  Nov 2012


(casks) dark red, black tints. Layered black fruits aroma, with a black olive presence denoting the ripeness, approaches tapenade, the black olive paste. Overlay of smoke and oak. The nose has a well-chiselled depth, is very smoky for now. Broad, mobile black fruit rolls and rolls along the palate, provides generous pleasure already, has an engaging fullness. The ripe tannins lend low-key support, and are more solid than those of the Greffieux 2010. Black cherry fruit emerges on the finish. No excess power, and a constructive, clear finish – a good augur for the future. 2035-38 July 2011


(pre-bottle, final assemblage) full robe; engine room, dark Hermitage air, a criss-cross of licorice, black pepper, southern herbs such as thyme, rosemary, linden (tilleul) – there is a sweeping curve to the bouquet. Has a very 2009 “I want to head south” style. Fat, thorough palate – there is coated fat at its centre, very Méal in style and shows a super-ripe abundance that has been poured into the glass. It is “dark” for a Méal, not giving the red fruits this year, and also displays more tannin than usual. Glow of heat on the finish. From 2015. 2040-43 July 2011 Previously Nov 2010 ****** (cask) dark red-black robe. Blackberry with a snap of mineral in the nose, reminds me of Bessards, has chocolate and cocoa airs that are not the main show; it is a little spirity from its ripeness and a quietly wide insistence. The palate black fruit has a taut vigour, is packed with some intense tension, has a real spinal column. A Pauillac of Hermitage, needs plenty of time – leave until 2015. Fully charged wine, a Big Fella; within its firm frame lie several waves of black berry fruit, with a soft, rose-like seasoning in them. 2032-35 Nov 2010

2008 ()

(cask, London) fair red colour; there is the typical curve of Le Méal on the nose – that classic ripe shape, but this year it comes in a pretty float, it is of the air more than being profound and jam-like as is often the case. The palate displays measured red fruits with a lucid texture, a clear red cherry fruit roundness. This floats more than being grounded. The length is correct. From 2013 – this may well close down, and I feel we are only lightly knocking on its door for now. Improvement, more muscle to come. 2025-27 April 2009

2007 ()

a magnum: sound red robe, good life in it. Has a graceful, broad bouquet that gives sunny airs of raspberry, classic Méal red fruits with the joli sweetness of the place – it is curvy and beau, young. The palate is more reserved than the nose, carries smoky red berry fruit with a spot of supple gras richness towards the finish. This is gradually unwinding its tannins, which give the finish firmness. This has good style, offers dainty droplets of flavour. It ends freshly, with detail. 14°. 2032-34  Nov 2015 Previously Dec 2008 ****(*) (casks) full, dark red; red cherry, ripe strawberry, open aroma with a comfortably ripe surround – it certainly has heart, comes with plenty of offer. The oak lends a toffee air. Clean-cut red fruits strike off well on the palate – it gets into a full, quite “dark” stride, but the red fruit notion prevails. This is a vintage of some sinew and muscle in its tannins – these are not facile wines. There isa gummy texture at the end, with reduction hovering. It shows promise, and its interior is quietly and impressively rich. There is a nutted, raisin aftertaste. From 2013. 2026-28 Dec 2008


dark red, less dark black than Les Greffieux. There is a layer of simmering red fruit across the glass – it is compact, tightly packed, smoky, with bacon traces, and floral-iris elements. The red fruit has an interesting coming and going on the palate- it runs on its sinew, and has reserves of fruit and tannin: it is a lot less obvious and more complex than the Greffieux 2006. This is a wine of understated stature. The finish shows pretty red fruit, is lip smacking, en finesse, and a bit like a Côte-Rôtie from the copious 1999 vintage. The end is clean, promising, with a trace of oak – it ends directly, well-fruited. 14.5°. 2028-30 Dec 2008


attractive robe. Measured fruit expression on bouquet - red berries - with mild depth. Can charm, beguile in the future. Simply presented fruit on attack, comes in a soft style, the tannins are refined and there is the Pinoté version of Hermitage from off the more alluvial area. Expect beauty around 2010 on. The oak needs another three years, and the burn at the finish reflects other wines in this vintage. Its good, sweet texture will turn people on, butit  doesn't have the stuffing of the best vintages. 2023-25 April 2006 Previously Dec 2005 (cask) ****(*) quite full robe. Scented, violet, cassis-flecked aroma, is ripe and open. Juicy, wholesome black berry fruit, has a splendid soft centre that is very stylish. Good grip on finish, oak takes over. Elegant and stylish wine - beau vin. Balance good, more tannins than L'Ermite. Esp 2009-10 on. 2023-26

2003 ()

(cask) very dark; big, packed bouquet - shows ripe fruits, prunes. Has dark flavours, and is a powerful, enforcer wine. Notably ripe fruit with pepper extras. Broad finish. An extraction wine. Dry leaning now. 2008 on. 2022-24

2002 ()

closed bouquet, some potential but a bit dusty, subdued red fruits - was taut nine months ago. Mid-weight attack, with some tannic structure around it. Red fruits, some spice. Reserved but elegant, quite pretty wine. Length OK, just lacks real follow-on. Has softened quite fast. 2006 on. To 2013- 15 Dec 2004


(cask) roasted, leather/smoke aroma; corpulent berry taste, red then black fruits come along. Great tannins, has a coffee taste end. An earthy, true wine. 2007-08 on. To 2021-24


full, purple robe. Beeswax, prune, roasted aroma. Violets on the attack, but this is a very full wine. Holds oak-aided tannins. Has a well-controlled density, and a licorice end. Drink from 2008 to shake off the oak. Length OK. 2021-24

1999 ()

smoked, bacon and pine aspects, mix of black and red fruits; suave texture, is a good chewy wine, and its middle is full of black jam. Can offer more. Upright, has a lot of end tannin. From 2008. 2022-24

1998 ()

burnt tones on nose, pine, resin, mulberry; bears pretty red fruits that are quite ample on the palate; its red fruit gets through the oak - just. Quite a square wine, one which pushes its southern origin. 2014-18


broad, smoked pine wood, bacon and hung meat bouquet; there is immediately delicous core fruit - very tasty, with a sweet extract. Red fruit, quince style, squeezed plum fruit is here, with a nice grainy surround. Discreet, and finer than the Pavillon. From 2007. 2016-22